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My mother lives in California- I live in Indiana. Mother was diagnosed with a cancerous mass in her right lung. Mother advised me she would make me info eligible with the hospital before her surgery. Once the surgery was completed and mother was in recovery- I called the hospital, gave them my info and received a password which would identify me to the staff. My sister who lives close to mother- and who has been a proven liar and thief, went to the hospital the day after the surgery (she didn't bother herself to be there the day of) demanded that she be the ONLY one to know mothers medical info. Suddenly- my password held no value and I was referred to speak to the sister. I have advised numerous times of the reason mother made me info eligible, and have now been promised a social worker will contact me concerning this issue in the next couple of days. Meanwhile- sister is telling that mother is eaten up with cancer and has lied to us about the seriousness of her condition. What can I do to plead my case and get the truth from the doctor directly?

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I think we are all absolutely sick of the spam postings that it seems cannot be stopped!
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I posted in the Discussion section about HIPAA laws. Please read it if you have any concerns about being able to talk to doctors. Unfortunately, the SPAM postings will probably push it off the page by morning.
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I have a similar problem with my sister. She has POA and so I get treated like the next door neighbor's second cousin twice removed. Which means I am not even alive in her book. In my case there is nothing at all that I can do about it, but pray. My AA sponsor says surrender to a Higher Power. I would say in your case just keep trying the various methods that have been mentioned.
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Only ONE question to ask your sister...Is she paying all the bills??

dottie
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You've got two problems here, and they're separate from each other. Your mother is sick, and the sisters aren't communicating well. Which is more important?

As Pam Stegma wrote, the hospitals usually want only one contact person. If your sister was there in person, asked for information, and demonstrated that she was a family member, the hospital would then give it to her, and she would become the contact person (without necessarily "demanding" that you NOT be). Why should the doctors or nurses go over everything twice? They need that time to be providing actual care for your mother and all the patients.

Everything is harder when you and your sister are in conflict, isn't it! And even though you're sure that she is the bad guy here, you are contributing to the conflict.

Sure, you can fight about who is the RIGHT point of contact, but the one who is present is always going to be closer to the source, right? That's why people are recommending you go there if you really can't work with the information your sister has given you.

Control battles are dangerous. Half the time, the thing that people are fighting for control OF, like your mother's care, or Wintersun's mother, gets lost track of.

Wintersun, it sounds very sad and awful and heroic when you say you have no support and have to do everything yourself and feel alone and scared, and have to carry on. But actually... you have contact with (and get info from ) your brother and the doctors and the pharmacy and the nurse, and your niece is doing most of the actual work, so.... it doesn't sound like you're all that far out of the loop after all....
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The law regarding POA is if your mom is still cognically awake and alert and can make her own decisions she is still the boss. The POA is only supposed to be in effect if your mother can no longer make her own decisions. In certain states. There are people who can find a way to make your mother resend your access by leading a conversation with your sister who lives near by and Revoke your contact status all together. People in charge can use this family dynamic anyway they please to gain access to your mother's assets so in essence them turning the family against each other works in their favor my advise is get an advocate you can trust and don't let them obliterate your relationship with your mom and help these people to understand your mom is the official and only boss ever until otherwise noted.
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Can you visit your mother? Would this be possible? Have medical power of attorney papers in hand, and have a notary (local to your mother) ready to visit you both. Being the P.O.A. is better than "info eligible." File the paperwork with your mother's whole healthcare team.
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Than get on a plane and go. If you work, under FMLA your job has to give you the time off. If you're so concerned about your sister who is a "thief and a liar" than take some action.

Personally other posters my gut tells me this is "bash the caregiver". The sister is there the OP isn't, if she is so concerned than fly out.

Sorry I am little suspect of the OP, this could be a case of "bash the caregiver", as the sister is the one who is dealing with everything, if it isn't and the sister really is up to no good....get on a plane.

As others have suggested talk to your mother if she can talk on the phone, and go up the chain of command at the hospital.

But you can't manage situations like this long distance, you just can't.
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There is nothing you can do to "plead your case" over the telephone. If you're really interested in your mother's condition, fly out to California & find out what her condition is in person. You're not going to be able to do ANYTHING over the phone. If you want to talk to the doctor, take your mother to her doctor's appointment(s) and speak with him at the appointment.

I'm sorry, but I find the fact that you accused your sister of not caring because she wasn't at the hospital the day of the surgery to be misplaced since you weren't there either. Plus, it sounds like you haven't been there any days after surgery. If you wanted to know about the surgery, you would have been there on the day of the surgery to speak with the doctor. To accuse her of "lying to everyone" about your mother's condition when you know nothing about your mother's condition is misplaced. For all you know, your sister is right & your mother has stage 4 , metastatic lung cancer.

It sounds like this is more of an issue about you & your sister not getting along, not your mother.
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Sorry if this answer is difficult to hear but its your mom and you need to get on the next plane and go there. Whatever is going on in your life, if there is anyway you can make the time, do it. I strongly urge you to go. Guilt is a terrible thing. This won't get any better and if your sister is really as bad as you say, she likely has full access to your mom's finances so who knows. From your sister's point of view though, since you are not there I would guess she is feeling resentful for having to care for your mother with no help from you. Now she figures you don't deserve to know or be in the loop since you aren't around to help and didn't fly in to be there. I am not saying its right, I am saying that may be how she feels and in some ways its understandable. There is always one sibling that winds up doing most of the care and suffering the day to day heartbreak of seeing the loved one get worse, then the other siblings come in to give their unwanted opinions about what should have been done, divide up the estate and cry at the funeral. Harsh but true. Put your life on hold for a week or two and go down there. Its the only way you will get the answers you want and hopefully if you show her you are there for her and your mom, you can make some peace with your sister. I am sure that is what your mom would want especially if her prognosis is bad. Again, maybe your sister is just mean and evil but sounds more like anger and resentment to me.
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As sorry as this sounds...I think it is time for a visit if at all possible. They can't hang up or not call if you are there. Most Bullies (I think your sister qualifies as a bully) do not really like physical confrontations...yoour presence could straighten things out. Perhaps she is keeping your mom from reaching out too so that mom will be dependent on her.
Best of luck and keep us posted...

Ask to see the HIPPA form signed when mom went in or had surgery, that is what guides who gets the info...not sister. And actually the hospital is violating that if you are listed and now they are not providing you information.
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Annaline is your mother still competent to speak on the phone? Can you talk with her directly? As Pam said if you were on the original HIPPA form only your mother can change that unless sister has obtained POA. Ask Mom is the key.
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I have this similar problem with my niece. She wants to be in control. She uses my brother to get info and support and she will not tell me what is going on. I am my mothers daughter and I demand to know. She puts herself in the middle of everything concerning my mother. So, I get info from my brother and also just talk to her Doctors and pharmacy. They know who I am and will let me know how she is. And the nurse at the home will also tell me. I have no support since my father passed away, so I have to do everything myself. I feel alone, and scared. But I have to carry on.
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Go higher is my advice. When my father was dying from cancer all I wanted to know was whether I needed to make the 500mile round trip that weekend as I had just done 26 such trips every weekend and felt I needed a break... something rang in my ears that this would be a bad idea so I rang the hospital....I got the run around but jings was I steamingly angry. I rang back and asked to speak to a senior member of the care team .... no joy there I just got a ward sister.....rang back and asked for the consultant ....apparently not available ...the on call consultant? no not available. Well steam was coming out my ears now and so I very politely said this.... if I dont get a clal back within 20 minutes I am going to call the press and explain how you are refusing to tell me anything DESPITE me being the named person. It is not MY fault that you lost the records it is YOUR fault so I suggest you rring someone and get that sorted NOW. I had a call within 5 minutes to tell me that Dad was critical and unlikely to make the weekend - which he did not. Hospitals dont like bad press so it may be something that would work for you. Just because one point of contact is easier for the hospitals doesnt necessarily mean they have the right point of contact
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Keep pushing for the social worker or ombudsman to help you. If you can, fly out there yourself. Also realize most hospitals want a single point of contact, same with nursing homes. Usually that is the person who shows up on site.
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Annaline, keep making those phone calls to the hospital. Ask who is in charge of keeping the HIPPA records and speak with them. If makes no sense that you would have a password if you weren't authorized. You don't need written proof-what the hospital needs to do is have her fill one out again (while you're sister is gone!)
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MYmaria- that is my question also! Why would they have given me a password if they didn't have it on file? Now say they don't now have one.
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Your mother would've signed a HIPPA form when she was admitted, stating who can and cannot get updates and medical records. She would've signed it in front of a witness, usually a nurse or an admitting clerk. Where is that form?
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Thank you both for your input! Gladimhere- sister went to the hospital- advised that she was the oldest child and only one who is living in the area, and demanded that no info be given to anyone who calls. She was furious that I had been named info eligible and that all questions concerning her health and condition be referred to her. Now- the hospital is saying I need to submit the written proof that Mother named me IE- I do not have this proof- but why would the hospital give me a identifying password if mother hadn't have signed the forms needed?
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What does physically demanded mean?
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Is your mom competent? Have the social worker talk with her about signing a HIPPA release. Does sis have Mom's powers of attorney? Hasnit been activated? There are wto types, one referred to asmstanding the other springing meaning a diagnosis or event triggers it. Standing there is no specific event that triggers it. It is always in place when need be.
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I'm sorry that you're out of the loop where your mom's health is concerned. That must be very frustrating.

Try to get in touch with that social worker instead of waiting around for the social worker to call you.

Did your sister get your mom to sign something? I can't see how your sister would be able to prohibit the staff from speaking with you about your mom's condition if she didn't get your mom to sign something.
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