Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy


Father Killed by Hospice with Morphine Overdose

Case Four


Note: the following is the account given by a daughter showing how her father was medically killed by a hospice, its medical director and its nurses: involuntary euthanasia. Names have been withheld to maintain confidentiality.



Robin Love reports:

I was the only one of the children living in the area and I would visit with my father, at home, at least twice per week. My children were very close to both of my parents so I always felt it was very important that they saw their family on a regular basis. My mother had medical power of attorney. And I believe she knew I was going to go to court to be named guardian and that is why everything had been done very sneaky and that I was kept away from hospice for the same reasons.

There were too many people who would be able to show that my mother wasn't very capable of making rational decisions on many levels, not just regarding my fathers care. My father wasn't able to speak but could communicate with his eyes and hands. He had 6 caregivers (2 full time and 4 part time) who were able to understand him. And he was aware of everything going on around him. My father wasn't terminal.

My father had Parkinsons Disease, he had been diagnosed 5 years earlier. He had lost his ability to swallow well and had opted to have a feeding tube inserted in May of 1998. Other than that, he was quite stable and was certainly not terminal. I heard from a caregiver on the day before he was to go into hospice that my mother was considering placing him in a nursing home. I went to speak with my mother, to let her know that my father could live with us, in my home, and she became irrational and very defensive and was screaming and carrying on, so I left her house with my 9 year old who had been there over night.

The following day I received a call that he was going to hospice in 1 hour and I went back over. My father grabbed my hand and began crying and acknowledged that he did not want to go. He feared that he would somehow die if he went into the hospice. My husband and 3 of my father's caregivers were also there to witness his distress and obvious wish not to enter hospice. All of this planning had been done unknowingly to any other family members. I visited with my Dad twice and the third day was told that I was not allowed to be there. Nor were any of his caregivers or his own sister!

My mother had decided to put Dad in the hospice against his wishes and mine. What was my Dads prognosis? He had Parkinsons and was stable. All of his internal organs were functioning, it was just the feeding tube that seemed to have disturbed my mother. However, with the feeding tube in place, he was not having any other medical problems.

I kept track of the cans of formula that my Dad had. The hospice didn't use any of them! My father was being starved to death intentionally, against his will. In addition, The nurses at the hospice told me my father was not being medicated at the end. However, my husband glanced at the chart and wrote down the info and I called his sister (who is a nurse) and she told me that it was morphine and the other was a sedative. In addition, I witnessed an aide administering morphine and she "accidently?" left the book open, which indicated that my father had received five doses of morphine that very day.

I just find all of this so unethical! And later on when I requested a meeting, the "Hospice Ethics Committee" meeting was re-scheduled 3 times, then completely cancelled. The hospice had no interest in speaking with me about the involuntary euthanasia they were committing.

So, my father was being dehydrated and starved intentionally by the hospice, even though my Dad wasn't even terminally ill. Plus, he was sedated with Haldol to put him into a coma and then given morphine to push him over the edge and kill him by shuttind down his breathing. All of this, totally against his wishes!

Now I wonder how this can happen in the United States. I just don't understand it, and the local district attorneys have not done anything yet to bring charges against the hospice. It seems like they can do anything and nobody in authority cares to stop them. After doing research and speaking with others, I've realized that there are many other cases like my Dad's, and it is just horrifying to know that this is going on.

I have reported this to the state Attorney General's office, the state Office of Health Quality and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but none of them have acted. They all say they don't handle this type of case. I was informed that the US Drug Enforcement Administration does not deal with this issue. There is basically NO ONE to oversee what drugs are issued to hospice patients.






Hospice Patients Alliance has received this report from a daughter who is devastated by the medical killing of her father (involuntary euthanasia). The US Drug Enforcement Administration IS by law supposed to investigate and enforce the provisions of the US Controlled Substances Act, which regulates the administration and use of narcotics, among other controlled substances. When hospices use a narcotic to kill a patient, it is a direct violation of the Controlled Substances Act. For the US Drug Enforcement Administration to not investigate killings with morphine is a violation of their obligations under the laws that created the Drug Enforcement Administration and its duties under the law.

In this case, the patient was given the standard involuntary euthanasia procedure: dehydrate the patient by withholding all food and water; sedate the patient (terminal sedation), and kill the patient by shutting down his breathing with morphine. This type of killing is quite common in hospice. In addition, the hospice committed Medicare fraud by enrolling a non-terminal patient into the hospice program. That type of fraud is reported by the US Office of Inspector General as being a major type of fraud committed by hospices.

HPA does not take a position on any specific hospice, but condemns the abominable lack of even minimal compliance with the most basic of health care standards, resulting in the needless death of this family's father and thousands of other helpless patients throughout the US. We condemn the hospice's violation of human rights and patient's rights described in this actual case history.

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