Saturday, July 17, 2010

Time to Give Up

~ You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try. ~
Beverly Sills

So far, I’ve heard a litany of “No”s in my search for a legal advocate for my mother’s catastrophe at the hands of a hospital (described here).

I’ve learned a lot about the essential failure of the medical advance directive. I’ve learned that in the 20 years since the United States endorsed the advance directive as the means to protect our right to make our own end-of-life decisions about medical care when we are unable to speak for ourselves, we still don’t have a viable way to ensure our decisions will be honored.

I’ve learned that when an elderly, incapacitated person—one of the very people federal and state statutes seek to protect—is put into a hospital without an advocate present, that hospital may violate her civil rights, violate federal and state regulations, diregard her legally expressed advance instructions, treat her based on liability issues rather than her true best interests, and do whatever they choose to prolong her life. The hospital may do so with certainty that it will not be held accountable by any government agency or court of law.

Do I give up? Do I let the litany of “No”s defeat me?

I’m struggling with that decision. Part of me believes that I ought to cease fighting and accept the situation. Part of me believes that giving up is not the right thing to do.

If Thomas Edison had given up when yet another experiment failed, we wouldn’t have electricity and lights to read by at night. If Martin Luther King Jr. had given up when yet another civil rights case died in court, what would have happened to the civil rights movement?

It doesn’t appear that injustices are corrected because everyone suddenly realizes a wrong should be righted. And changes don’t occur just because they’re needed.

There’s a possibility that God might be telling me something in the disinterest of lawyers to stand up for my mother and say she was mistreated. My hubby thinks that might be the case. There’s a school of thought in a chapter in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous, that if we are disturbed by a situation, we need to accept that situation as being exactly the way it should be right now.

But I have a niggling feeling that a wrong is perpetrated on people like my mother, and if I give up, the status quo won’t change.

So I struggle with my disappointment, and I keep on sending emails, making calls, researching the law.


Peggy said...

I don't have much in concrete resources or advice to give you - but I would like to refer you to a wonderful blog that I think you'd like:

Patti is a wonderful writer and poet, like you. Her blog always teaches me something, causes me to stop and reflect, and renews my spirit. If you need some cheering and support to trust your intuition, visit 37 days. Life is a Verb. Peggy

Ms. Anthropy said...

I'm curious to know if your mother is wearing a DNR bracelet or if she qualifies for hospice?

RNSANE said...

You have more energy than I do, Chris. I wish you would succeed in this since we are all getting up there in age and this might affect all of us one of these days.

My mom had emergency surgery a week ago Friday for a bowel obstruction. She did very well and is already back at her assisted living facility. Poor thing, though, she didn't have a clue what was going on.

Linda Pendleton said...

I'm sorry to hear what you went through with your Mom and the hospital. I assume that was in CA? Not good to know when many of us have Directives. But I've heard this before. My question though why did the care facility not notify you when she was taken to the hospital. Seems their responsiblity was to do so as she went out the door.

Unless it costs you a bunch, I would persue it until you got some satisfaction.

Erratic Thoughts said...

Read this somewhere:

"Don't give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. "

Fight because the reason is imperative...
Sometimes adversity is what you need to get through..I am sure u will and I pray you would...
Please do not give up...You are almost there...:):)

~Heartfelt wishes
From somewhere
From someone
Who wants u to give it 1 more try

Brian Miller said...

follow it to the depth of your conviction...

hope you are having a nice weekend chris!

Marion said...

I understand how tiring seeking legal help for a situation such as this must be, Chris, but I hope you keep on keeping on. There are so many patients who need an advocate; you wouldn't believe some of the stories I've been told as a hospice volunteer.

It takes a village to move a mountain, so it's said. Are there others you can contact who would join in with you in seeking help? Other people's relatives who were wronged in such a manner?Changing the way things are could take a long time, but if we all walk around with our heads covered in dark blankets, one of these days it could be one of us whose wishes are ignored.

Whatever you do, be it little or big, it will be of future help to those who come after.Knowledge is so important!

Scott said...

This is one of the many great disappointments about our government. We live in a great country and I love my country but I hate how our country treats its infirm and elderly.

I will pray for you and mom Chris. I dunno what I can do to help but I will pray at the least. God bless ya!

TechnoBabe said...

You just have to do what you believe is right for you. No one else can have an opinion about that. We can only wish you success as you continue to pursue what you believe is the right thing to for your mother.

steveroni said...

You said it all in the first quote, Chris: "~ You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try. ~Beverly Sills

Yes, the BB reads to "cease fighting everyone and everything, even alcohol." But ya know, there is SOMETHING in there also, about "helping others"...RIGHT?

Either way it finally is resolved, you will know you did YOUR PART! (So EASY to "quit"....


Enchanted Oak said...

Ms. Anthropy asks a good question. Current laws see to it that a DNR order (Do Not Resuscitate) is pretty well flagged in a medical chart, if a bracelet is worn or it's posted on a refrigerator at home or handed to emergency personnel.
An advance directive, however, isn't considered an order, and it is less likely to be prominently recorded in a medical chart. Directives leave a lot of medical decisions to the discretion of the treating personnel.
If you're under the care of hospice, you have significant protection from unwanted treatment. If you aren't, you have very little protection.

Dianne said...

It's the process and the path, keep that in mind.

on a technical note, the "palliative" and "comfort" care that are provided may seem as life-giving, but not technically life saving. like Oxygen via a nose tube, or antibiotics, or a temporary tube with liquid nutrition. I don't know how it is broken down ethically, I would like to. but comfort care is definitely a technical term with family involved. I am told a systemic infection and high fever is not a difficult road in the end,

Monkey Man said...

Tough one, Chris. Have you tried sending a letter to the Op/Ed page of your local or to the nearest large circulation daily? You know the PR biz. Maybe it's time to excalate beyond the blog.

marie said...

I try to base my decisions these days on one question: how will my actions effect my sobriety? If I continually placed myself under a lot of stress, I risk losing my emotional sobriety and ultimately, I believe I will drink and/or die. For me, recovery is a life or death situation. I also pray to God a lot to "show me the truth." Have you done a 4th step on the situation yet?

Prayer Girl said...

I have learned that once I have taken "ALL" the actions I can find to take, then I must leave the results up to God.

My prayers are with you in your efforts.


Magpie said...

Knowing if and when its time to stop pursuing a goal is tough. Maybe it is time to "let go and let God". Let Him know the desires of your heart and put the outcome in His capable and loving hands. Doors may open and people may reach out to you...or maybe not. The trick then is to be okay with whatever the outcome is.
You're such a strong person. Praying for comfort and peace for you, Nancy

Birdie said...

I so understand what the 'struggle' as I live a similar situation - yet! I think that if we all always accept the wrongness done on us or our families etc. not only things will never change but they will worsen ... I support you in your decision not to let it be ... but be aware not to get 'eaten up' by it ... hugs

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you aren't getting anywhere right now. I hope that someone somewhere takes notice of what happened and what you are trying to do. Sadly, elder abuse and neglect, still seems to be 'invisible' in society these days, so trying to find support to fight an injustice at the hands of supposed helping professionals must be doubly hard. I pray that you have the strength to keep ding what feels like the right thing to do, whatever that feels like to you. Take care. - G

Syd said...

Chris, I think that following your head and heart will get you the answer you need. If the two can be in balance, then I know my direction is clear. Good luck with this. Advocating for those who can't speak for themselves is a good thing.