Q: Dad had two leg surgeries in the last 5 days. He signed a living will and Durable Power of a Attorney. I am his health care agent. He is on pain meds and little sleep. He does not remember what doctors are telling him. He thinks he is being given pills to medicate himself, which he is not. He thinks he is signing paperwork when they have not given him any. He is clearly confused and cannot make clear decisions for himself. He requested that the hospital call me every time they discuss his treatment. Surgeons are talking to him at midnight and not calling me. They are pushing him to leg amputation. How do we get hospital to follow Dad’s request to have me present for each consultation? We both feel his rights are being violated.
A: Relationships between hospital employees and family members of patients can be stressful, for both sides. However, you have to let them know your concerns, but do it in a professional and tactful way and be persistent. Send the administrator a letter along with a copy of the POA. Clearly state what you want in the letter. You can also request a sit down with the administrator. Let your requests be known. Maybe you are telling staff and the message isn’t getting up to the top. If this does not work, have your lawyer write a letter. However, try everything you can on your own as a concern for a loved one, at first. If he has a personal doctor or PCP that knows his history, can you have him or her communicate with the hospital doctors?