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N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  attorney at self
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My dad is in the hospital, he recently had a stroke. He has

Customer Question

My dad is in the hospital, he recently had a stroke. He has been in a wheelchair for about 30 years, he broke his neck body surfing, because of his injury he has 2 live in assistants. The stroke has impaired his ability to speak, he has very little movement in his arms so writing is out of the question, his only way to communicate now is by nodding his head. I am his only child, his parents are deceased, he has a brother and a sister (they are both married).
I was at the hospital and one of the live in assistants sat me down to have a talk, she told me that my uncle and aunt had wanted me to have very limited updates about my dad's condition and that if I were to visit in the hospital, I should not be left alone with my father.
Two days prior, I witnessed the other assistant adjusting the medical sensors as well as the trachea ventilator tube, my father's face showed great discomfort. I wanted to stop her but she has threatened to call the police because of how I have approached her in the past about how I feel she is too rough with my dad. I talked to a nurse at the hospital about what I witnessed, they said the assistant has no business touching the trachea ventilator, as it requires special training, and if done wrong it could result in an infection. Not to mention moving it around can be very painful for the patient.
The two assistants have had lots of troubles with each other. I will call them A and Z. A is the one who sat me down for the talk, Z is the one who pulled on the respirator. Z has accused A of killing her pet dog, Z has been making rude comments about me and my fiancee. Z had been married to a man for citizenship, he found out and filed for divorce, Z was facing deportation, I'm not sure what happened her husband may have called off the divorce but she avoided being deported.
A is no angel either. A had been arrested for changing the number of refills permitted on a Dr's prescription. A & I had a very short affair while I was living in my dad's house, after the affair we struggled to live in peace, we had an argument one night, I locked her in her room, she had me arrested, and I was charged with a domestic violence case.
After all this I have found an unlikely alliance with A.
My concern, and the reason I am seeking legal advice is because I am concerned about the way Z has badmouthed me to my dad's family to the point where they don't trust me alone in my dad's hospital room. I feel she is willing to abuse my dad to get me to approach her and give her reason to accuse me of being violent to her. I am also concerned she has been talking bad about my fiancee leading her family to urge my dad to change his will.
My uncle, a lawyer, had commented that my dad wanted to change his will, bit because of the stroke, they would not be able to communicate about the desired changes. I am now 36 years old, but shortly after I turned 18, my dad gave me some legal documents, prepared by my uncle, it was a will. My uncle wrote my will stating everything I possess should be given to my dad, I was not questioned before my uncle made this document. I've heard a similar story about my mom and dad before their marriage, my dad's father sat both of my parents to look at my dad's will before they would be married. Everything my father possessed would go to his brother, this will was written by my grandfather, a lawyer.
So as my uncle tells my my dad is going to update his will, I can only assume that die to my upcoming marriage, and because of bad things said to my family about me by Z the assistant, I can only assume my uncle has prepared a new will for my father that in a great way excludes me from receiving what was previously going to be left to me.
I will admit, I have not been the best son, I have not always been in touch with my dad, and rarely talk with the rest of his family. I don't see any reason why they would have a restriction on me being able to be alone with my father in his hospital room.
Please someone tell me my options!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry to hear this.

You are legally the next of kin and your uncles have no right to make medical decisions for him or even to receive health information about him. As long as he is competent, he has the right to make his own decisions. If he becomes incompetent and has not signed a health care advance directive or power of attorney, you would by law become his proxy decision maker for health care decisions. See

Even though the statute asks the relatives to reach an agreement,


(4) (a) It shall be the responsibility of the interested persons specified in subsection (3) of this section to make reasonable efforts to reach a consensus as to whom among them shall make medical treatment decisions on behalf of the patient. The person selected to act as the patient's proxy decision-maker should be the person who has a close relationship with the patient and who is most likely to be currently informed of the patient's wishes regarding medical treatment decisions. If any of the interested persons specified in subsection (3) of this section disagrees with the selection or the decision of the proxy decision-maker or, if, after reasonable efforts, the interested persons specified in subsection (3) of this section are unable to reach a consensus as to who should act as the proxy decision-maker, then any of the interested persons specified in subsection (3) of this section may seek guardianship of the patient by initiating guardianship proceedings pursuant to part 3 of article 14 of this title. Only said persons may initiate such proceedings with regard to the patient.)

you are his closest living relative and that should give you priority to be his guardian or proxy if that becomes necessary.

No one has any right to prevent you from visiting your father alone, not the uncles,, not the assistants and not the health care providers. I cannot recommend a specific course of acton but in your situation, I would tell the assistants that their services are no longer required. You can tell the hospital that you do not want the assistants visiting your father again.

I hope this information is helpful.

Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 1 year ago.

You can hire new assistants if necessary, as it sounds like the current ones are not acting appropriately.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have no say in who works for my dad. As I understand it, my father has 7 people listed as his powers of attorney, his brother and sister, both of his assistants, and 3 of his closest friends. I have no say in who works for him as his personal caregiver. As for his medical directives, he has made it clear what to do if he is unresponsive.
Is there someone at the hospital I should talk to other than a nurse that I should inform about Z trying to adjust the trachea tube?
That is my biggest concern right now.
Another concern I have is that his brother and sister would prefer if he were moved from Colorado to Ohio once he is stable enough to move. I know he does not want to be moved. I was included in a discussion with his brother and sister, one of the assistants, and 2 of the other friends that have the power of attorney. The siblings made it clear they would prefer my dad be in Ohio where they live, but everyone knows that is not what je wants.
There has to be more I can do.
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry to hear that he already signed powers of attorney.

Yes I agree you should complain to the hospital management and/or the attending physician about Z trying to adjust the trachea tube.

Is your father able to point at symbols or letters printed on a page? If so he can answer yes or no questions such as whether he wants to move to Ohio.

Does his doctor think he is mentally competent?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His arms are too weak to point. He is mentally competent, but he is also confused, he has been nodding his head yes/no to questions. I suggested we try to have someone hold the card with the alphabet/numbers and point, if he would nod his head when pointing to the correct row/column, he would be able to communicate more than yes/no. He seems to be happy I want him to be able to communicate, but I think it would be too much work for him, and I think he would get frustrated spelling out words. I know Z would not even try to use the technique, as the idea came from me. His cousin was visiting while I was at the hospital over the weekend, and she showed negative views towards getting my dad to communicate with the alphabet board. Assistant A was interested, she shows much more positive energy to my dads recovery.
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 1 year ago.

Alphabet boards are commonly used to help disabled people communicate. I have heard of quadriplegics pointing with a stick attached to the forehead. Z sounds like big trouble, and should have known not to touch the trachea tube.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think his family would prefer to keep him quiet, the same for me. Assistant A was told not to update me on his condition by my uncle and aunt, they said they would update me, but I received very few updates from my aunt and uncle. Ironically, my aunt said she had been sending me updates for about 10 says in a row via text message, but since I had not been responding, she felt disrespect and stopped messaging me, I had not received as many messages as she claimed she sent.
I am feeling bullied by my aunt, uncle, and assistant Z. I really feel I have been given a bad reputation from Z
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 1 year ago.

Have you asked the attending physician to give you updates, and mentioned that you are legally his next of kin?