The following is an excerpt from Hospice Patients Alliance Newsletter November 21, 2003, written by Ron Panzer: [Lisa's comments are in brackets.] I am also numbering and placing in bold the tactics employed by Holy Cross Hospital and the doctor, seemingly to keep Barbara Rourke in the hospital and under their control.
WIELDING HIPAA, HOSPICE AND HEALTH "CARE" TO KILL:
An Update on the Barbara Rourke situation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
Candi and Joe report the hospital continues to play games with the life of Barbara Rourke! (1) She was placed on 4 Liters of oxygen with NO medical justification and when asked, the hospital physicians cannot and do not give any explanation for it. (2)They have used that as a pretext for keeping her at the hospital against the wishes of Candi and Joe and cannot explain why they are doing what they are doing, though Barbara is now receiving hydration and nutrition.
[Rather, the Holy Cross Hospital is refusing to provide the reason for administering oxygen to Barbara. Why is Holy Cross Hospital withholding the reason for placing Barbara Rourke on oxygen?]
Giving oxygen when NOT necessary can impair the mechanisms within the brain and nervous system which make us breathe. Is that why Barbara Rourke is on 4 Liters of oxygen with NO medical explanation?
HIDING BEHIND HIPAA PRIVACY REGULATIONS
There is a growing trend all across the USA to hide behind the HIPAA privacy regulations in denying information to the very family members and legal Powers of Attorney for the patients, by hospices, hospitals and nursing homes who seek to cover up their own wrongdoing! They do not allow access to the patients' charts or medical administration record and thereby keep the patient advocates in the dark about what is actually going on. This is tantamount to a killer who uses a gun to shoot people, not allowing the police or investigators access to videotapes or eyewitnesses of him shooting the victims, declaring he has a "right to privacy" which doesn't allow anyone to see that he DID commit the crimes!
Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, FL refuses and continues to refuse to allow Candi, the legal POA for healthcare decision making to have access to the medical administration record to see what medications Barbara is on!!! The nurses have quoted HIPAA privacy regulations saying they "can't give out that information" to CANDI! even though she IS entitled under HIPAA and all other health care laws to have access to the information about her mother's care. Without full and complete information, what is called, "informed consent" cannot exist! To properly consent to any care changes, the POA must be informed! There are several violations of the laws governing health care, Medicare and patient rights involved in the actions of the hospital. Joe and Candi have filed a HIPAA complaint against the hospital for allowing nurses who are NOT involved in the case to see the Medical Records while simultaneously DENYING Candi, the power of attorney, for health care decision making, access to any medical records!
(4) In another disgusting twist, the hospital physician, an Asha Gupta, MD has refused to write the discharge orders detailing what is needed for Barbara's discharge home, even after reviewing them with Candi, so that the home health care agency can accept Barbara into their care and help in getting Barbara back home, out of the clutches of the hospital staff. The hospital nurses refuse to identify themselves to Candi, in violation of the standards of practice within nursing in all states of the USA.
[Why has the Holy Cross Hospital physician refused to cooperate with Candi? Why would the "hospital nurses refuse to identify themselves to Candi? Why are the Holy Cross Hospital nurses insisting on remaining anonymous? What do they have to hide?]
This is an ongoing example of how the health care system uses patients to get reimbursements, implements procedures or treatments that are not needed (to bill for them) or acts in ways harmful to the patient (refusing to provide nutrition and hydration for FOUR DAYS) and refusing to provide information to the legal POA who needs that information to protect her mother! ... we believe that the actions of the hospital, the hospice and staff are in serious violation of the Medicare regulations governing hospitals and hospices, and we question why the patient is being held at the hospital without medical justification. - Ron P
A letter from Joe Moran (son-in-law of Barbara Rourke):
Dear Ron, Thank you for all your undying help and support this past week. Candi and I never would have been able to get the Holy Cross Hospital ("HCH") staff to take the appropriate action in providing our mom Barbara Rourke with nutrition or competent care. A deep sincere THANK YOU goes out to you and all of your associates affiliated with the Hospice Patients Alliance. What a great group of people and the response was overwhelming. We had folks calling us from all over the country and pledging their support. ... Ron, your in-depth knowledge of patients and families rights was a Godsend for us during our time of need. We drafted and faxed a letter late Wednesday night, Nov. 19, 2003 demanding nutrition for mom after HCH refused to feed her since admitting her on Monday morning. [After speaking with you] we also learned that Candi, mom's Power of Attorney (POA), could revoke the do not resuscitate order (DNR) at any time. We did revoke the DNR and Hospice benefits at noon on Thursday so the hospital would not deny any other lifesaving measures for mom.
Had we not been in touch with Ron Panzer of The Hospice Patients Alliance, we would not have had any idea what to do next and mom probably would not be with us today. Currently, mom is gaining strength and we anticipate her return home early next week. Candi, mom's POA, asked Dr. Gupta, the attending physician, if she could review "the chart" and ONCE AGAIN we were denied access; told by the doctor that she would have to check with the risk manager from the HCH. Our experience with HCH has been an ongoing nightmare one which as been a real eye opener. We have deep respect for Ron and his organization after experiencing this ordeal. A great debt of gratitude to Ron and his team for helping us navigate the murky waters of hospice care in today's healthcare environment. Again, thanks for everything Ron and please share this with all the folks out there that have shown us such compassion during this stressful time. Sincerely, Joe Moran [end of letter from Joe Moran]
Barbara Rourke Reported as Being Euthanized Through Neglect At Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale Florida