A complicated situation involving a hospice resident, medication errors, and her unfortunate death highlights the need for understanding and disclosure when it comes to hospice care.
A resident at the Mayfield Care Center in Chicago, Illinois was placed on hospice care by her family. Soon afterwards, the resident developed a urinary tract infection. The woman’s physician ordered a course of antibiotics.
The staff at Mayfield Care Center never administered the antibiotics, and the woman’s infection blossomed into a serious infection and a high fever. The family withdrew the hospice consent and the woman was rushed to a hospital where she died several days later.
Hospice care is typically known as end of life care. The fact of the matter is that we’re all going to die someday. When people enter hospice care, the focus transitions from curing and treating ailments to providing comfort. So, if a resident on hospice care were to have an event like a heart attack or stroke, the nursing home staff would treat the pain, but they would not attempt to prolong the resident’s life.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean that all medical care stops. If, for example, a hospice care resident were to receive a skin tear, that injury would still be bandaged.
When it comes to treating things like urinary tract infections, the situation can become complicated. That’s why hospice orders are specific documents. They spell out the kinds of treatments that are part of hospice care, and the kinds of treatments that are not.
In this case, the resident’s physician and family were right to expect that if an antibiotic was prescribed to reduce discomfort and pain, that antibiotic would be properly administered.
Instead, the Mayfield Care Center went five days without ever providing the prescribed antibiotic even though a pharmacist had delivered the drug to the center.
Eventually, the family had to remove the hospice care order and transfer the resident to the hospital to receive this treatment. The woman died a few days later.
If you have a loved one who has been the victim of a serious medication error, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. At the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, we have the experience and expertise to manage all aspects of your medication error case.