Follow
Share

My wife and I are very concerned about the combination of vicodin and valium being prescribed for my mother in law. She is showing alarming side effects, but her physician will not discuss with us since we do not have permission from her and she will not give it due to her dependency for the medication at this point. We desperately need help and do not know where to turn.

Did I miss the answer to, "Does she live in your house or do you live in hers?" This answer may determine your only "easy" course of action. If you live with her then move out immediately and don't tell her you're going, when you're going or where you're going. She may be more compliant after that and then you can negotiate some things with her, like getting DPoA, her going to rehab, signing a HIPAA release for both of you, etc.

If she lives with you, I'm not sure what you can legally do but if you can get her into inpatient rehab for 30+ days then you can get a legal eviction (based on your state's laws) and she can go live in a sober home afterwards or AL but do not let her live with you ever again.

If it's your home maybe you can set up cameras to see what she's doing and maybe even where she is stashing her pills. If she's doing anything illegal (like stealing) you may have grounds to kick her out. Does this person still drive? The minute she gets into her car and you think she's under the influence, call 911 and report her. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Geaton777
Report
Countrymouse Jul 27, 2019
It's the mother's house, as per profile.
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
You are conflating two things which you need to separate.

1. Reporting concerns. You should put your observations in writing to the physician who prescribes your MIL's medication, emphasising that you believe her behaviours may be the result of [give the exact px details] and [second exact px details] in combination. Mark it "for the urgent attention of Dr [Name]." It will be attended to.

2. Discussing your concerns with your MIL's physician. Discussion implies two-way communication. Your MIL's physician absolutely is bound by her professional duty of confidentiality to her patient and cannot say a single word to you about her without her consent. It's basic. It may be a pain, but she can't do it.

Try again. Make it clear that you are understand the HIPAA rules and the requirements of patient confidentiality and are therefore not expecting a response to the information you have provided, but that you would like receipt of it confirmed. Or send it by a signed for delivery service, if you like. Taking information *in* is no breach of doctor-patient confidentiality; but stop expecting feedback because you won't get any.

Then again, if your mother won't see her what are you expecting the doctor to do? When's the next refill, do you know?

By the way, just noted a further comment: as the doctor won't speak to you, how do you know what the doctor believes the truth to be? I'm pretty sure that if this doctor, this mandated reporter, actually believed your mother's misrepresentations you'd already have been arrested. Do credit the physician with knowing her job.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
pamzimmrrt Jul 27, 2019
I missed the part about MIL not seeing her Dr? How is she getting her meds refilled? Sorry. And I think they said the wife has already been in jail over this for a few days?
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
You are dealing with a person who is mentally ill and possibly addicted to drugs. When she has her next fit, call 911, have her removed from the house, most likely she will be placed on physic hold, after that refuse to take her back home due to these issues. This will force the issue. Keep detailed records, recording all her out of control times, date, time, recap. If you live with her, move out and let the system take over.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to DollyMe
Report
Countrymouse Jul 27, 2019
The person may not be mentally ill at all. We have no idea what's going on. We don't know why she was prescribed either drug, or when, or what other factors may be important.
(6)
Report
You can write a letter with the patient's name and date of birth to her doctor.  Give the facts, not the emotions, and let the doctor know about the alarming effects you are seeing, the amount and strength of medications she is taking and very importantly, other medications she is taking from other doctors. Make a copy of this letter before you mail or give it to the doctor's front desk. Medical charts are often incomplete or inaccurate so the physician has no clue how accurate the medical record is.  Your letter will help tremendously. Again, just give the facts. No promises if the doctor will or will not act on it but at least you know the letter was written and you have expressed your concerns to the person who monitors your loved one's medical care.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to SuzanneFLORIDA
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Jul 30, 2019
Yes! Wonderful.
(1)
Report
See 3 more replies
Because of privacy laws, her doctor can not talk to you unless you have a medical power of attorney (and she is not competent) or you have legal guardianship of her (lengthy and expensive legal process).

If she is acting strange - as in overmedicated - take to the ER or call EMS. They can get her for inpatient treatment for overmedication or medication dependency issues (preferable term compared to OD which is near fatal). Unless she is declared incompetent, she has the right to live her life any way she chooses.

If she has signs of substance abuse/dependency that is interfering with her life and relationships, I recommend you both attend Alanon or a similar support group for family and friends of substance dependent people. You need to avoid co-dependency issues while trying to obtain better care for her.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Taarna
Report
rovana Aug 18, 2019
I understand that HIPAA does not prevent you from giving information to doctor - they cannot discuss or give into to you without permission. Since doctor almost certainly is not aware of all that goes on with patient outside office, the information family gives could be very helpful.
(1)
Report
Just wondering why you haven't either moved her out or left yourselves.

Lying and getting your wife thrown in jail is a BIG deal. You are correct that it could have adverse consequences for the rest of your lives. Plus, next time she will be believed again because your wife now has a record.

Her drugs obviously mean more to her then her wellbeing or you guys. Nothing can give you back your own wellbeing and reputation if she is allowed to destroy them.

Please get out before someone ends up in prison.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report
pamzimmrrt Jul 27, 2019
I also feel if the wife was jailed for abuse.. they should not have left MIL move back in, if she lives with them. That would have been a great time to get out from under this cloud.
(3)
Report
See 2 more replies
This is the VERY reason why I now have to stay away from my mom. I have to be very careful not to get into trouble, but because I cannot force her or get her to have an mental evaluation, therefore she is still of 'sound mind' (no she isn't) because of the stupid HIPPA law that keeps us caring adult children from helping our elderly parents from really hurting themselves.

HIPPA is is harming not helping. My mom is 88, and no one seems to be able to help me get her to a doctor for a psych eval so that I can move forward to get her out of a dangerous situation. Yet everyone agrees, she is in a dangerous situation. It's beyond me! Should be a 60 Minutes story, honestly.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to CapnREY
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Jul 29, 2019
Yes, it should be the cover story. Top story on every news channel. So sad. I’m sorry you are dealing with this. Addiction is real. It’s a genuine medical issue.

The doctor can’t legally discuss. They could lose his/her license if they violate the HIPPA law. Sadly the doctor’s hands are tied.
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
"She has even accused my wife of physical abuse and has even called police and in effect my wife had to spend days in jail for domestic abuse."

You are prioritizing your mother over your wife.

Please move out and get away from this toxic situation.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to CTTN55
Report
Robin1234 Jul 30, 2019
It’s his wife’s mother
(3)
Report
Why on Earth would you not call 911 and have her taken to the hospital when she starts acting this way? If someone locks themselves in a bathroom for a week and doesn't eat by day 2 you should have called Adult Protective Services and the police. Frankly, someone is going to turn you in for elder neglect because to knowingly let someone stay in a bathroom and not eat for a week is neglect. Forget the doctor, he is the least of your problems, call APS and 911.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to plum9195
Report

If you do not have the patient's permission and/or POA to access her chart and information, the doctor will *NOT* discuss anything with you. As long as you have permission to access her chart, the doctor should never withhold any information from you. If you are not POA or do not have written authorization to access her information, the doctor is protecting his client in accordance to Federal laws.

If you feel the doctor is abusing the patient due to over-prescribing narcotics, contact your local sheriff's department.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to cetude
Report
rovana Jul 30, 2019
Keep in mind that you can give info to the doctor, even though he/she may not discuss with you. HIPPA does not prevent that.
(3)
Report
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter