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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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can a family sue a hospital and hospice for negligence or mental

Resolved Question:

can a family sue a hospital and hospice for negligence or mental anguish in the death of a family member with cancer when care was unprofessional and caused undue discomfort to the deceased and emotional distress to the family?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 8 years ago.



so that I may best answer your question, would you please give me a bit more information about what is going on?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.



My father had terminal lung cancer. No he didn't smoke. I went to Michigan to help my step mother take care of him once he decided to end treatment and go into hospice care.


The care from the hospice was not the greatest from day one, but of course being family we felt we were just being overly critical. There was many incicdences where we complained about how he and we were being treated, but the worst was one night when he was on a HIGH level of oxygen because he could not get enough that the oxygen machine failed. In addition, the emergency canister did not work either.


We called the on call nurse who instructed us to call the "med corps" who bring the equipement out. She said the nurses were not responsible for the equipment, bareky stifling a yawn because it was about 4 in the morning. I called med corps, although I really didn't feel it was our job to be tracking someone down. In the meantime we are listening to my father panic because he couldn't breathe. Long story short, we didn't know what to do. We were not instructed by the nurse as of ways to make my father breathe easier while we waited for help. He was without oxygen for at least three hours while this went on.


A few days later he ended up in the hospital, a recommendation by the one nurse who seemed to have her head on straight. We were told they would get medication to get him out of pain and minimize his anxiety when we got to the hospital. The "hospice" ward as it was called was filthy. There were dust bunnies on the floor, and there was a loudspeaker right next to my dad's head. It was not immediate that he got pain meds, he didn't get any for FOUR hours because he was not in the system.


The only time anyone came into the room was when we made them come in. There was minimal hygiene care, and I asked one time at least 5 times for his catheter to be emptied.


The ultimate slam was the night before he died. We were told we could stay as death was imminent. They gave us a hospital recliner, I gave it to my stepmother and I took one from the lounge. A nurses aid came in and told us that another patient coming in and that one of us needed to give up our chair and go home. I asked if she was asking me or telling me. She said asking. I said since she was asking the answere was no. sShe chastized me for being "selfish" and I explained that we were told he was within hours of dying. She said she would be sending the charge nurse to deal with me.


When our regular nurse came in and we told her what happened she was horrified because we were on death watch we should have priority.


My father died a few hours later. The nurses refused to dress my dad in the simple clothing THEY told us to bring, and I ended up having to help with this. In addition, they neglected to tell; the mortuary that the family was present and the deceased was on the ward. The mortuary sent one person on what would be a two person job. I had to assist in his transfer.


These are the low points in this but there are more. I have been unable to sleep a full night since this happened and am being treated for severe depression as a result.


Expert:  Brandon M. replied 8 years ago.



The question is whether you might have a case against the care providers.


You might have an ok case. I would definitely report these folks the state agency that regulates these folks (the specific agency will depend on which state you are in).


The biggest challenge in this sort of case is going to be evidence that what you said was true, but I could see a successful verdict coming out of it. I would recommend that you contact a local personal injury attorney that has experience in elder abuse about representation. In the meantime, if there is anything that you can do to preserve evidence of what happened, take those steps now.


Let me know if more information is needed. If this was informative, please remember to click "accept" so I may receive credit for my personal time and knowledge. Thank you.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I wrote complaint letters to both the hospital as well as the hospice. I received a letter of apology as well as phone calls from the hospital and I also spoke with this hospice. I kept a blog as this was going on, so I have exact dates etc. I would have to find an attorney in Michigan correct? As this is where it happened?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 8 years ago.

Hi again:


yes, you would want to locate an attorney that is local to the tort (where the negligence occurred). A great resource for finding attorneys is .

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