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Hospital forces family to watch their mother starve to death.

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posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:22 PM
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This is absolutely barbaric; a hospital got a court to appoint them as the "legal guardian" of an uninsured legal immigrant woman and they are using their power to starve her to death to save a few bucks. This woman has family who are also legal immigrants in this country who don't want their mother starved to death but, some judge decided that the hospital has this woman's best interests at heart.


Immigrant Family Forced to Watch Mother Dehydrated to Death

After a stroke left her severely brain damaged, Rachel Nyirahabiyambere, a legal immigrant from Rwanda, has been given a court-appointed guardian who has ordered her feeding tube removed against her family’s wishes. From the story (h/t Wesley Smith):

On Feb. 19, Ms. Nyirahabiyambere’s feeding tube was removed on the order of her court-appointed guardian. Her six adult children — including two United States citizens — vehemently opposed that decision. But they were helpless to block it when Georgetown University Medical Center, frustrated in its efforts to discharge Ms. Nyirahabiyambere after she had spent eight costly months there without insurance, sought a guardian to make decisions that the family would not make.

“Now we are powerless spectators, just watching our mother die,” said Mr. Ndayishimiye, 33, who teaches health information management at the State University of New York’s Institute of Technology in Utica. “In our culture, we would never sentence a person to die from hunger.”

In emails to their mother’s guardian, Nyirahbiyambere’s sons say that they are fine with “do not hospitalize”/”do not resuscitate” orders, but insist that their mother would not want her feeding tube removed. Said one son:

“Ending someone’s life by hunger is morally wrong and unrecognized in the culture of the people of Rwanda”

to which Mrs. Sloan had the audacity to respond:

“You have asked for understanding about your culture and that is exactly what I am trying to do. Feeding tubes are not part of your culture, are they?”

So, the United States should treat every immigrant the same way he or she would be treated in their native country? That’s the standard for healthcare in America? Unbelievable. And this woman calls herself a nurse??

Reflections of a Paralytic


The hospital tries to claim that they are doing this in the best interest of the patient but, they as much as admitted that they have financial motivations behind their actions in this statement:


“Hospitals cannot afford to allow families the time to work through their grieving process by allowing the relatives to remain hospitalized until the family reaches the acceptance stage, if that ever happens,” Ms. Sloan said in an e-mail. “Generically speaking, what gives any one family or person the right to control so many scarce health care resources in a situation where the prognosis is poor, and to the detriment of others who may actually benefit from them?”

NY Times

That's right; they're saying that, because she couldn't expect decent care in her home country and she's costing the hospital big bucks, she has to go.




posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:26 PM
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it doesn't surprise me that something like this happened....these days most people care about nothing but money. Its sick the way that humans have evolved: into greedy, heartless creatures.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:31 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


Welcome to the new reality, aka the technological singularity. ...True, technology has advanced health care by light years but the sad fact is, medical insurance doesn't cover medical advancements.

This is a VERY important issue, one we ALL have to consider.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:37 PM
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It is awful, but how long do you keep someone on a feeding tube that would not live without it? We do not allow assisted suicide, so this was the answer.

If It were my mother, I would ask nicely for the doc to give me mum a little extra pain medication, and I hope they would ablige me.

People die.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:51 PM
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Originally posted by SunnyDee
It is awful, but how long do you keep someone on a feeding tube that would not live without it? We do not allow assisted suicide, so this was the answer.

If It were my mother, I would ask nicely for the doc to give me mum a little extra pain medication, and I hope they would ablige me.

People die.


True, people die but, this isn't a natural death, this is murder.

A feeding tube is not extraordinary measures, its just a tube going into her stomach providing nutrients. There's no high technology or blinking lights or bells and whistles involved in this, just changing a feeding bag every once and a while.

The hospital is mad because she's taking up a bed in their hospital and they don't know if they are ever going to get paid for the treatment.

If this woman had insurance, do you think they'd be in such a rush to put her out of her misery? I think, if that were the case, they would do everything in their power to keep her alive forever, or at least until the insurance money ran out.

The hospital doesn't care how much a patient is suffering, they only care about whether they will get paid or not.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:55 PM
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We euthanize pets so that they don't have to suffer but we don't do the same for our own kind. Human life is SO sacred that we must prolong pain and suffering until the very end.

What's wrong with this picture?

God forbid I should ever find myself in a situation where I am in so much terminal pain and want to die but am unable to 'pull the trigger' so to speak.

Well I guess I can't really speak much for this story because they ARE in a way doing euthanasia... in one of the most ugly ways I can think of. Conscious or not, starving someone to death is disgusting. Criminals on death ROW don't even get this kind of treatment!

SnF for bringing this to my attention.

AS

PS: Does anyone know if this possibly setting precedence? This was a court decision to give a hospital 'legal gaurdianship' of a person was it not?
edit on 7-3-2011 by AeonStorm because: ps



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:59 PM
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I don't know what they meant by severely brain-damaged, but I'd hope my family would take my feeding tube out if I was in that position.

Life with a feeding tube? No thanks.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 10:59 PM
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I went through the same scenario with my father, who suffered a massive stroke, which left him lifeless and in a vegetative state. It's difficult to allow, but he was suffering tremendously and keeping him alive was benefiting nobody, especially Dad. He was never going to recover and he'd already been getting infection after infection, in his chest, lungs, stomach, everywhere.... Like his body was trying to shut down.

You can ask whether we have the right to stop feeding somebody and letting them die, but do we have the right to keep somebody alive in a state where they can't eat, go to the bathroom, speak, think, sit up, communicate at all?

The issue with this woman may be partly financial, but for a hospital to get power of guardian over a patient, this story sounds like there's big chunks missing and judges don't overlook families with power of guardian and/or attorney documents, unless there's some kind of gross misconduct taking place by family members.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 11:02 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


You are probably right, if she had insurance, they'd keep her there alive (but not really alive) forever and a day.

Not having insurance, they did everyone involved a sad favor. They did not prolong her body for money.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 11:06 PM
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Mrs. Sloan had the audacity to respond:

“You have asked for understanding about your culture and that is exactly what I am trying to do. Feeding tubes are not part of your culture, are they?”


The very words I would have expected from a "Death Angel"....bet she is involved with Hospice one way or another.


So, the United States should treat every immigrant the same way he or she would be treated in their native country? That’s the standard for health care in America? Unbelievable. And this woman calls herself a nurse??


One does not have to be an immigrant to be treated in such a manner. They do it to Americans everyday...the standard of health care in America most definitely has gone that far down hill and she may call herself a nurse, but what I would call her would NOT be allowed to be printed.

When someone gets ill/old in this country, you have already "died"...you become a deficit, someone that costs more than they are worth to the system.

Sorry about this unfortunate woman and her family...they are just one of the latest of the collateral damage in the latest war: Non-productive...verdict death.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 11:25 PM
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Expect to see this more and more. It is a very delicate situation. When you add the fact that we are all just numbers in a system to our government, life becomes meaningless to them. Saving somebodies life to just kill them: A bit counterproductive isn't it? Euthanization happens under the radar everyday in hospitals. I wonder why it didn't in this case.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 11:28 PM
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reply to post by AeonStorm
 


Probably nothing precedent setting here. The judge was correct and quite normal in finding a guardian ad litem was needed. But who to choose as the guardian is pretty much at the judge's discretion. The guardian is supposed to be representing and arguing for the patient's best interest, not the guardian's. The judge's ruling can be appealed, of course, and they could probably get an emergency stay to keep the hospital from stopping nutrition right away, but they'd better find an attorney willing to work pro bono.

What am I going to say when I cost more to keep alive than the government has allocated for the fiscal year? I don't know.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 11:31 PM
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This is a very difficult situation.

In a Utopian world, health care would be free... and anyone who is sick or injured should be cared for indefinitely (at least, until the end).

But we do not live in a Utopian society. It's an unjust society, where fair doesn't exist.

This kind of thing happens all over the country (obviously, this doesn't make it right). But this hospital was paying out of pocket for over 8 months.
I don't know the specifics behind the patient's condition, besides the fact that she had a stroke, and it was serious enough that she is on a feeding tube.
Is she conscious?
Is she responsive?
Does she have any hope for even a slight recovery?
These questions haven't been answered, so I can't even begin to judge whether the hospital was just or not in terminating the care of the patient.

I mean, the doctors must have truly believed that she wasn't going to recover. I doubt that they maliciously removed the feeding tube with the sole intent of saving some money.

But who knows? There are many corrupt people in this world, and its possible that the feeding tube was removed prematurely and the patient had a chance of survival with more care. But I'd like to hope that, in this case, the doctors were looking out for their patient's best interest.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 11:50 PM
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reply to post by xFloggingMaryx
 

I liked your post, hope you don't mind a star. You're right, of course, that there are a lot of unknown facts. Saying "severely brain damaged" is just too vague.

You've opened the door to the discussion of when to stop care. I think the questions will be "How much do we value life?" and "How much do we value money?" I agree with you that if she's completely vegetative, no consciousness, no hope, then the question is still hard, but a little clearer.

I'm a little prejudiced. I see, on occasion, a 13 year old girl. At the age of 18 months her father took a claw hammer to her skull and destroyed half her brain. The doctors said "Death in six months, max." She now walks with help, giggles, partially feeds herself, likes to play with tv remotes, and has a few sign language words.

Like I said, I don't know.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 11:55 PM
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It's probably too late for this poor woman, but if we eliminate the need for money, things like this would not happen. Everyone would get the care they need, cures would come to the fore, no longer suppressed by the pharmaceutical profit interests, and we all would have the ability to pursue our bliss as opposed to trying to afford it through most of our waking lives spent in wage slavery.

For any who are yet unaware, I offer the ideas that lead to this far better outcome for Humanity - The End of Entropy and The Ethical Planetarian Party Platform linked in my sig.



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 12:27 AM
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reply to post by xFloggingMaryx
 


We may not live in a just world but it certainly doesn't have to STAY that way.

That being said, the health care system in this country is a joke. You pretty much have to take care of yourself (not a bad thing) because god forbid you get sick and the insurance (which you pay for with YOUR money) won't cover it.



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 12:34 AM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


So, are you the one paying for an unknown number of years of care that a person in a coma requires?

Are you aware of how much money it costs to care for a person in a coma for an unknown number of years?

And...... more importantly, are you aware, of the horror that a family endures while taking care of a loved one in a coma for an unknown number of years?

From personal experience of taking care of my brother, who was in a coma for more years than I can remember, over TIME, they do require all the bells and whistles that you are scoffing at.

It cost over $100,000 a year to care for my brother, for years and years and years and years. You gonna pay for it? If you are a USA citizen, you did, because my brother was an adult who could not afford insurance, and the "government" paid for his financial care. Other than the other thousands a year they did not pay for, which we did.

The true horror is not the cost in finances either. The true horror of cost, is the emotional and physical cost which a family endures taking care of a person in a coma.

Nursing home you say? I can just about guarantee your loved one will not get the human care they deserve in any nursing home, and I can guarantee that they will die a less humane death than the hospital is proposing. At least the torture won't go on for years and years and years. My loved one was in the best one in the state, clothing was stolen, his meds were stolen and taken by nurses, his tracheotomy cord was left on to rot into his flesh, which when we found out, oh oh oh, the horror. Tears, tears tears.

Even in a coma, my brother could feel pain, and when bones were broken, or the above trach cord, or he was dropped, or he ended up with a bed sore, or the hundreds of other things that happen, he would CRY. Tears would stream down his face. But he could not even move, or talk or ANYTHING but cry. Did he recognize the pain other than a physical reaction? I don't know.

ugh

I don't even know how to explain.

Have you ever, in your life, taken care of a 200 pound baby? Who has a tracheotomy, a feeding tube, multiple meds that they need every few hours to keep them alive?

What about broken bones, bathing, cleaning their butt, turning them every 30 minutes to keep them from getting bed sores? You getting up ever hour for years upon years upon years to give meds, to give food and water, change diapers, turn, clean a tracheotomy, check oxygen, wipe eyes, nose, mouth, ears, armpits, clean the feeding tube, give a shower, rush to the hospital in an ambulance, protect broken bones, fight pneumonia, staff infections, blood infections, kidney infections, bladder infections, seizures, heart attacks, strokes and ON AND ON?

We did.

I don't recommend it.

How do I know it's more human? After dealing with this for a long time, my dad had a heart attack, he ended up in a coma, brain dead, but when they took him off of life support, he lived. Just like my brother. oh, two family members for years after years in a coma? No, we chose to remove my dad's nourishment, just as the hospital in the op is going to do.

Did we make the right choice? I don't know. I suppose I may never know. I do know what it is like on both sides of this "fence", and neither side is one I would wish on anyone.

Do I believe the hospital has the right to make this choice? No, no I don't, but I understand their position. And until you do, stop pretending that "There's no high technology or blinking lights or bells and whistles involved in this, just changing a feeding bag every once and a while."

This is why I have a will and a living will and a power of attorney. I have made the choice so no one else has to. I refuse to do this to my family if I ever end up in such a situation. They will never be required to make a choice one way or the other. I've made it for them. I will have my nourishment removed if I am ever in such a position. If this is not allowed, I pray someone compassionately puts a pillow over my face.

Harm None
Peace



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 12:41 AM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


They call that End of Life Care. Everything but morphine, mouth swabs, and ice chips is removed from the Cares list. I saw this happen to 3 elderly family members over the past couple years...it's pretty rough.

Hospice care is very close to that except the patient is served food while they are still aware; the wife is a nurse and did the hospice thing until her heart broke.



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 02:16 AM
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Originally posted by SunnyDee
It is awful, but how long do you keep someone on a feeding tube that would not live without it? We do not allow assisted suicide, so this was the answer.

If It were my mother, I would ask nicely for the doc to give me mum a little extra pain medication, and I hope they would ablige me.

People die.

Chances are it wouldn't be your Mum, if I am right that you're not an American *... This is not suicide, it's murder, there is no evidence that the woman wants to die. From what I have read here on ATS, the American system is all about making money, not about practising medicine.
Vicky
* Though you may well be an Ozzie or a Kiwi in the USA



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 02:19 AM
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The problem is not what they did, if there is really no hope of recovery of the brain, then I dont see any reason to keep her empty shell alive at the cost which could help other patients, even if the relatives insisted on it, especially if they are not paying for it.

The problem is HOW they did it. Even if she cannot suffer from the hunger when she is braindead, it is immoral and runs contrary to human dignity to let her body starve to death, if not for anything else, then at least because of the pain its causing to her relatives.

The right to active euthanasia in circumstances like these should be a basic human right IMHO.



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