Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy

Actual Reports of Involuntary Euthanasia Cases
In Hospice Settings - (Eleven Letters)

Note from HPA: These are actual letters received from families all over the nation. They are not edited except to remove confidential information and correct some grammatical errors. We often receive bitter complaints from very dedicated hospice nurses who obviously care very much about their patients and do not believe that any nurse or doctor could possibly harm a patient intentionally. These letters are posted here to give "food for thought" for those who would like to deny that there are problems in hospice.

Each case is unique, but some common patterns emerge: it is possible for some health care workers to intentionally abuse, neglect or even intentionally hasten death through various means. These deaths are commonly covered up through false charting in the medical record. For example, a patient who receives massive dosages of morphine and who has NO pain, has in his chart "Patient complaining of pain," when there was no pain before, during or after receiving the morphine.

Morphine and other opioids are miracle drugs. When a patient has cancer pain for example, morphine can be a wonderful blessing to help relieve that pain. We truly appreciate the wonders of modern medicine and the narcotics and other medications used in hospice. Used properly when there truly is a clinical need, these medications make the difference between horrible suffering and a peaceful, pain-free or relatively pain-free death. However, every medication can be misused. Read for yourself. You may or may not agree with the families, but these are real letters, from real people all over the nation. Not every hospice experience is voluntary, dignified, or peaceful.

Here is the first letter:


From: *************@buffalo.edu>
Subject:
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 13:04:21 -0400
To: <Hospice Patients Alliance>  Hello,   A friend of mine has been sent to hospice and they are starving her to death. I am currently trying to work with the family, but may be too late in this case.

How do I go about beginning to expose the means of treatment that happens at hospice. The perception is so wrong and the truth needs to be heard. I am seeking some type of direction...

Amy ***********

Note: we have checked in this case the patient was able to eat and had not yet entered the stage where she could not eat or retain food.


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From: Beverly ******@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Euthanasia
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 20:38:09 -0700 (PDT)
To: Ron Panzer

July 4, 2002

Dear Ron,

Yes, my mom's breathing did get slower and slower mom would gasp for air. I understand you are not a law enforcement agency. I too want to stop the killings from happening. I would be willing to tell what happen to my mom in public or help in anyway I can. I had an attorney to represent me in court. Court investigator said she would testify that I was a trouble maker at the nursing homes my mom had been in. I said she would be perjuring herself. She said it didn't matter the Judge would believe her over me.

Court investigator, Attorney ad lib, guardian serv. and my attorney made me an offer. They said if I would take guardianship classes when I completed them they would make me successor guardian.I agreed.

After hearing my attorney told me she was a guardian under this same service. My attorney also told me that Guardian serv. was hurting for money at the time and needed all the wards they could get. I took the classes. They never kept the agreement. I wrote to the Judge with a complaint. I complained to the courts I received no response. Guardian was not protecting my mom or her possessions. No one listened. Mom only went into a nursing home because of a severe back strain. Back in June 2001 mom acquired a blood infection which gave her an altered mental status. While in the hospital for the blood infection Dr. put mom on mind altering drugs. These drugs lowered mom's blood pressure and mom became unresponsive.

These drugs also left mom with the inability to see or hear. hospital Dr. discontinued the drugs and mom's eyesight and hearing returned after several days. Hospital Dr. said Mom could not take any of these drugs. he said he noted it in mom's chart.

Mom returned back to nursing home herself. Nursing home put mom on the mind altering drugs. Again mom lost her sight and hearing. Mom was very afraid because this time it did not return. The nursing home would not take her off the drugs. I told them the same thing happened in the hospital. They would not listen. the longer mom was on the drugs the more out of control she became. This was clearly a induced mental illness. This nursing home tried to get me to sign mom in hospice also saying mom had a bug in her that has been dormant for years and had become active. They said she was no longer responding to antibiotics. I called them on this. I ask what the name of the bug was.

They said they did not know. I said then how do you know she has a bug. I told them an autopsy would confirm what mom was dying from. They became very agitated at hearing we would want an autopsy. They then found a way to get mom out of their nursing home. The Dr said he was not aware that mom was taking the drugs and that he was going to send her to a psych hospital to have her evaluated and her meds adjusted. This hospital did nothing for my mom. Im sure they made plenty out of medicare. They kept my mom tied down for 3 weeks on her back. Mom would cry and tell us to cut the ropes. She ask why she was being treated this way. i would untie her when ever I visited. Mom's hands would be swollen from the ropes. they only tied mom down to control her.

They did nothing about her meds. Mom again had another blood infection. It was treated with no complications. Courts were involved since the day mom left the previous nursing home. Court investigator said my sister and I could not ask questions or do my mom's Medical she said all we could do was visit. She threatened us with a restraint if anyone told her anything. At this time mom has been in 2 nursing homes and dropped twice in each one. She has been in 3 hospitals for 3 blood infections coming from the nursing homes themselves. I filed for Guardianship to bring my mom home with me. Easter seals and my mom's personal Dr were going to arrange everything where I could take care of mom at home.

Mom was looking forward to coming home. It was all she talked about. HOME HOME HOME she would say.

She could not hear or see but she would say it sure is taking you a long time to get that room ready. Mom was 66 years old. I would spell in mom's hands to communicate with her. I don't know why something like this could happen. I pray to GOD. And know he doesn't give us more than we can bear. Most of the time I feel like I can't bear this weight. You ask if mom could feed herself and talk and drink as to diagnosis of Alzheimers.

Guardian and Nursing home Dr agreed that mom could not do these things that it was all in my head that I just didn't want to accept my mom was dying. They knew they were lying. This was already planned to put my mom in hospice since back in June. I may not can prove it but I know it is true. Mom talked fine they wanted everyone to believe mom was senile. Mom would tell my sister and I that they were going to let her die and she did not want to die. I would tell her guardian and courts this hospice nurse also heard my mom say this. They did not care. They had their plan. Guardian said my mom would refuse to eat and drink. yet when I visited her every other day I would take her fruit and snacks and Juice. I would feed her at least one meal that nursing home brought in while i was there and she would eat everything I took her and drink the juice and ask for water to which she would drink 3 to 4 glasses. My sister and I would stand mom up to help her with walking. Mom was so proud of herself.

Then Guardian restrained my sister and I from visiting. 5 days later we received the phone call that mom was unresponsive This was planned since the first nursing home wanted mom in hospice. These people killed my mother because of her handicaps. They choose whether someone should live or die. They played GOD.

They only wanted the Guardianship so that they could put my mom in hospice because we would not allow it. That is why they refused the test because they knew she did not have Alzheimers. You don't get Alzheimers from blood infections as they told us.

Alzheimers takes years to die from end stage. Not months. We knew that but we could do nothing to help our mom. I might add they killed mom Easter weekend. I don't know if that is significant or not just thought I would throw that in there. I believe this goes deeper than Euthanasias. This killing needs to stop. There is a lot more to this. I have lots of video tapes, I kept a journal, and documentation. People beware of Hospice. They are killers hiding behind the organization that we entrust our love ones too.

b******

[Note from Hospice Patients Alliance:

We do not agree that all hospices are doing this, however we know that some are doing this. It only takes one staff member with an agenda for this type of death to occur.]

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this one is not of a killing, but shows how the hospice nurse suggested to the patient how to kill himself. We get many reports of such casual conversations by hospice nurses which indicate how COMMON these conversations are, and also, that P.A.S. and/or euthanasia is quite accepted by many of these nurses working in hospice. Here's the email:

From: <***********@aol.com>
Subject: Question
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2002 11:56:26 EDT
To: Hospice Patients Alliance

I have a friend that was put on Hospice & has been in a nursing home. He developed a bedsore, was heavily drugged to the point he could not eat or even sit up or talk. The nursing home did not keep his Dr. appt. until I called and asked why so they made a new one, saying it would not do any good as he was terminal anyway and was in "denial." The Dr. was appalled at his emaciated and confused state, saying he put him on Hospice for help, not for them to kill him. He said he was obviously over-medicated and sent him to the hospital. My friend has since told me the hospice nurse once told him how to kill himself-by taking a bottle of Roxanol and 5 pain pills. Told him the Roxanol worked real fast and the pills slower. I guess my question is how can I find out if anyone has ever reported this place before? This makes me sick and I will NEVER suggest Hospice to anyone again. My friend is 39 years old and now has only 3 weeks to 3 months to live.

Thanks.

M. ****
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"Over a period of 26 days in the hospital, Sid was “shot in the back’ all of three times. First was the narcotics overdose during his first four days in the hospital. Second, after a stunning recovery once narcotics were eliminated, Sid was wrongfully transferred to the Transitional Care Unit. There further harm was done outside of the strictures that would have applied if he had remained on a “medical floor.’ Third, he was put into hospice.

Sid was transferred, apparently without his consent, to a secretive hospice ward within the hospital. This was done in violation of Sid´s previous written instructions that if he were ever in a state of decline with death imminent, he wanted to return home.

Despite evidence that Sid was not complaining of pain, profligate use of narcotics was resumed.

Once in hospice, he was intentionally dehydrated .... and died from dehydration."

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here's another one from Missouri, written in January of this year:

This nursing home, with directives from my younger sister, pulled meds, oxygen, food, and so on to instrument my Uncle's death. There were no directives from him, and no one was ever made legally responsible for giving such directives. I have 4 sisters, who wonder why this bothers me so much. I am haunted, have not slept well in the last 1 1/2 years. I wanted to order an autopsy for my Mom, but my 2 older sisters talked me out of it. Now I wake each morning to say, "Mom, I am so sorry." I visited her the last two weeks that she was alive. When I lowered the morphine patch, she was up doing dishes, folding laundry, and going out to lunch with me.

Under the care of Hospice, and my younger sisters she was sedated. I spoke with her Dr. told him what they were doing and he promised me a house call. He arrived one day too late. Yes, I want this exposed. Angels of Mercy, I think not!

Mae ************
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I have a question regarding Hospice and the care they provided for my mother who has recently died. She was ninety years old and weighed no more or less than 100 lbs. My mother had serious heart disease. Everything in her body functioned normal except for the heart valves. They were closing up.

On the night my mother turned for the worse, I called hospice around 11pm because my mother was breathing very hard. Hospice advised me to give her 5mg of Roxanol. If heavy breathing continues, which it did, then wait twenty minutes, and give another 5mg of Roxanol.

At 12:30 a.m., I called hospice again and advised them that my mother was still breathing very hard.

They advised me to give my mother another 10mg. of Roxanol every three to four hours. So, the next dose would not be until 2:30 a.m. However, at 2:30 a.m., I found my mother soaking, sopping wet -- literally drenched in sweat. Was this a sign of the morphine or the heart? My mother was not responding. I thought she was in a deep sleep from morphine. The following morning, I called hospice again and insisted that they send a nurse. I explained to them that my mother was not responding. They refused to send a nurse and told me that I "zonked" my mother out with the morphine, and that I probably gave her too much. They told me to wait another couple of hours, and that I would see she would wake up. A waited a couple of hours, but my mother never woke up. I called hospice again and demanded clarification regarding administering Roxanol and also insisted and demanded that they send a nurse.

My mother was still not responding. When nurse finally arrived, I was advised that my mother was actively dying.

To this day, I still do not know or understand the severe sweat my mother broke into -- if it was from her heart or the Roxanol. Can anyone help me with an answer?

Thank you so much. Sincerely,

E **************

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here's another one:

Our Father, a well known ************, was medically killed by his caretaker ( who became a large beneficiary of his estate by an amendment made to his living trust three months before his murder) with the help of Hospice who manipulated our father into believing he was terminally ill with cancer and then manipulated his physician into giving a terminal cancer diagnosis only after the caretaker admitted him to Hospice "pending the terminal diagnosis". She had to have the terminal diagnosis in order to keep him on kidney dialysis, which was his wish, and have access to the high doses of narcotics to kill him.

The diagnosis of terminal lung cancer came well over three weeks after admission to Hospice. A biopsy for cancer was never done by any physician or hospital and the autopsy confirms he did not have terminal lung cancer or any other form of terminal cancer or illness.Hospice did not physically visit the home until three weeks after admission, all contact was with the caretaker by phone. Hospice never contacted his children during the six weeks he was under their care or after his death because the caretaker indicated that he was estranged from both his daughters and that his oldest daughter was an alcoholic, drug abuser and mentally unstable. Both facts could not be farther from the truth.

Only after the caretaker convinced him to go off the dialysis and he became scared and wanted to live and go back on dialysis was he able to direct Hospice that he wanted his daughter who lived near him to be put on the paperwork as a co-caregiver, however we did not learn this fact until we obtained the hospice records. Hospice at no time informed his daughter of his wishes for her involvement in his care. It took only six weeks for his caretaker with the aid of Hospice to medically kill him.

That is our very long story very short. The other facts surrounding this case of medical murder are pretty much text book from the research on the subject of caregivers and Hospice we have conducted over the past year. We are now contemplating taking the case to the *** County DA which from all we can gather will probably be futile, however this is not the first old man this woman has seen to the grave with the help of Hospice and I fear it will not be the last. We knew what she was doing and why she was doing it and did not have the information necessary to stop her until it was too late.

Respectfully submitted,
S********

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here's another one about an Alzheimer's patient who was not terminal, but getting toward the end-stage:

Ron,
My Mom was in the end stages of Alzheimers and had begun to fetalize, draw up into the fetal stage. Her legs were contracted in such a manner as to hurt if you pulled on them. She originally was admitted into *** Hospital in *** for an infected bed sore. My Dad had taken care of her for the last 8 years or so. She had lost the ability to talk, walk, and so forth. *** Hospital suggested or better yet demanded that she be put in a nursing home and a hospice was assigned.

The Doctor was supposed to see my Mom on a weekly basis but did not. His nurse would make assessments. My Mom began to have problems swallowing and this was explained as a lost cognitive function. The atropine was administered--2 drops under the tongue every four hours and a patch on the neck to aid in swallowing. Ativan every 6 hours as needed. As she began to worsen and she was prescribed morphine--25 milligrams every 4 hours as needed(prn) as she built up resistance they up the dosage to 50 milligrams every 2 hours as needed. 2 to 3 weeks ago my mother stopped eating--it may have been longer as my sister forced feed her at of a desire or hope that my mom would survive.

She stopped taking in liquid on Thursday the 25th of April. On Monday the 29th the nurse informed us that she had less than 24 hours to live and would probably not make it through the night. That is when they began giving my Mom morphine on an hourly basis and at 5am on the 30th the nurse administered all three meds Ativan, atropine, and morphine in one dose--which from the research that I have done plainly states that Ativan and morphine should not be administered together. Ativan when mixed with other opiates has a tendency to further reduce respiration. My sister remembers seeing a piece of white paper with the dosages of morphine written down--1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 1cc --prior to this she remembers that it was written down on a chart. My Mom died at 6:30 am and when my sister went to the desk, without even saying a word, the desk nurse said "Your Mom is dead". The nurse administering the drugs was sitting at a chair and would not say or look at my sister.

That night the resident sitting on the porch overheard this nurse say "What is the difference between me and Kervorkian--I use morphine". My Mom onset of Alzheimers began in 94. She had no other illnesses. The meds that she had taken prior to the nursing home were for treatment of Alzheimers--I cant remember their names. My dad also used supplements such as gingko, and several others that I do not know off hand.

GOC

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From: Sam ************@****.com> Subject: YES!!
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 20:14:41 -0400
To: Hospice Patients Alliance

My Grandmother was killed earlier this year by over-medicating with morphine And I want to do something about it!!!!!!!!!

Thanks!
Sam **********
*****, NC ***
Phone: *********@****

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Dear Hospice Patient's Alliance staff,

I am desperate for help before it is too late and have exhausted all local agencies that I know of. My grandmother was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition and it was suggested that she go into hospice though she felt fine. Because I thought that she might have been misdiagnosed I took her to a cardiologist who said that there was no evidence to support that she has a terminal heart condition without further testing, which I attempted to schedule.

At a recent visit with the first doctor I told him that I planned to take my grandmother for further testing, he flew into a rage and told me that unless my aunt and her husband who support the idea of hospice are placed as medical power of attorney he will no longer treat her. This was fine with me and my grandmother and I dismissed him. The next thing I knew I had been replaced as my grandmother's medical power of attorney, he was retained as the doctor, and my grandmother has been lied to ...all to force her into a hospice

What can I do? I even have a doctor saying she may not have a terminal condition, but no one will listen to me and my aunt will not take grandma back to the doctor who will help her, and now I cannot. I have called adult protective services , but all they did was call the doctor who had said my grandma had a terminal condition who of course told them the same thing, and then praised my aunt and her husband saying that they have my grandma's best interest at heart, they did not even call the cardiologist. I ended up getting the "can't you just let her die in peace" lecture from that agency too. Please help, before my grandmother is dead.

sincerely,

S**********

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I am writing this letter for your help, I am grieving the loss of my Mother on May 8th., after 12 hours of admittance into ****** Hospice House in ********* . At 11:00 PM they stated that my mother became confused, agitated, and left her bed removing her oxygen and catheter, they said that she was yelling and pushing and demonstrating unsafe behavior, at this time they failed to contact any one from the family to be at my mothers side to calm her.

Records indicate that they drugged her and did not look in on my mother again until they found her dead at 5:20 am., that is the time they called the family. She did not receive her feedings or respirator treatment as prescribe by the hospital prior to her transfer they knew she needed this treatment assured us she would receive it and they held it back. Hospice has done nothing but lied to my family and denied us to be with our loved one, they let my mother die alone. Please help me and my family we are grieving, we believe they killed my mother with medications.

Tim F

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From: Zissa *************@msn.com>
Subject: Story
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 17:15:58 -0700
To: Hospice Patients Alliance

Hello

I want to tell a story of a Holocaust survivor who I watched and begged for help even to the police I went. His name is Heini Sobel, born in Vienna, Austria, in 1919, June 10. He suffered thru the Holocaust and in the end murdered by a local Lawyer, who refused to let him have his blood transfusion which Heini's best friend who is from *********, Calif. and his name is Dr. ** Rosen*********, had requested be given to him. Between the two of us we tried our best to get help but this Lawyer and Hospice overruled us. Heini, begged his self to please let him have the blood. In the process I was forced to watch him be drugged and continuously be given shots which he did not want and every time they shot him he would say it hurt him. He even said they are "murdering me"!!!!!!

Not to mention the starving and no water. I my self am from a Holocaust family from Vienna, Austria. I became so sick not one human cared and this is legal. The Angel of Death is living in America, this Death Angel left the Nazi Camps and moved to America. I find this so unbelievable that a man who suffered all his life was given to legal murders in America. In the end the Nazis got him after all.

What can be done can I speak out what?? Please let me know!!

Zissa ************




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