Here is the letter I just sent to the supervisor of my mother’s nursing and rehabilitation facility. Names have been changed to initials or reworded otherwise.
As I’m sure you are aware, my mother has been at the hospital since Friday night, as a result of an incident that doctors initially thought was a stroke but are now thinking was a seizure. What you may not be aware of is the shocking treatment that my mother received at your facility during the course of this incident. My mother reports the following sequence of events:
When she was struck by the seizure late at night, my mother managed to get herself into her wheelchair and go out into the hallway, asking to be taken to the emergency room. Four nurses subsequently hoisted my mother out of her wheelchair and literally dragged her down the hallway, taunting and ridiculing her. They furthermore refused to let her go to the hospital.
Luckily, my mother had the presence of mind and physical ability to find her cell phone and call someone for help. He immediately rushed to the nursing facility and demanded that my mother be taken to the emergency room, where my mother was diagnosed with a stroke.
How is it possible that in a nursing facility dedicated to rehabilitation, a patient is not only denied critical medical care but also forced to endure verbally and physically abusive behavior? Needless to say, this treatment of patients is not only unethical but also potentially fatal.
I was also alarmed to find out that my mother had stopped taking her blood pressure medication a few days before being taken to the emergency room. None of the nurses bothered to call and inform me. Had they done so, I would have immediately intervened and ensured that my mother take the medication, even if it meant flying back up north. By not notifying me, the nurses again left my mother in a situation that was dangerous to her health.
In addition, as I expressed to you last week, I was concerned about the treatment my mother received when she was sick with the bug that was going around. She was unable to eat regular foods, because she with nauseous and vomiting. Rather than offering my mother foods that were appropriate to illness (toast, soup, mashed potatoes), the nurses tried to feed my mother foods like ham and cheese.
When my mother couldn’t eat those foods, they tried to give her pharmaceuticals to boost her appetite. In addition, when my mother requested soup, she was given a salty soup — despite the fact that she is on a strictly low-sodium diet, due to her high blood pressure.
As I mentioned, I greatly appreciated your prompt intervention in this matter when I contacted you — ensuring that my mother receive appropriate, low-sodium foods. Not surprisingly, as soon as you made this dietary adjustment, my mother immediately ate her entire meal.
I ask that you similarly intervene in such a way that will put an end to the irresponsible treatment my mother has received on several occasions now – most significantly, the lack of access to a medical exam despite a persistent and severe cough and laryngitis for two weeks (leading to her unnecessarily contracting pneumonia), and the refusal to send her to the emergency room during a seizure.
I similarly request that you discipline the nurses involved in taunting my mother. No elderly patient should have to endure such humiliating treatment, especially while begging for help with an episode like a seizure or stroke.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience, to discuss this letter and inform me of the course of action you will take to ensure my mother’s safety and proper treatment at your facility. I thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter.