Hospice and Medical Malpractice

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Posted on Sep 09, 2014


When you put a family member in the care of hospice, you expect for them to have the best care and comfort at the end of their life. You assume that they will be taken care of and you will not have to worry about them.

When Tana Barth put her mother in the care of hospice, she thought she was getting the best care for her mother. On one particular night an employee of the hospice company failed to show up and the company didn't provide a replacement.  Ms. Barth was instructed to give her mother medication every two hours.

When Ms. Barth began to administer the medication, she noticed that her mother's medications had the labels torn off with hand writing on them. She also noticed that her mother's birth date was wrong on all of them as well.

When her mother passed shortly after, she notified the hospice company and they sent over the same employee who failed to show up. When the employee showed up, she collected the bottles of medication, and was seen crying and needing to be consoled. 

Ms. Barth is also alleging that the hospice company neglected to file the certificate of death in a timely manner, resulting in her mother not being embalmed in a timely manner.

There are many red flags in this story. All healthcare providers should have a system in place for making sure another care giver will be there if the first cannot or does not show up for her shift.  Having someone [Ms. Barth] who is not knowledgeable in the administration of medication give a patient a number of medications over time is not an acceptable method of medical care.  And tampering with, removing or replacing medication bottles, or not having medications properly labeled can lead to the wrong medications being administered, or the wrong dosage being given.

These are examples of preventable medical mistakes that can harm a patient.

If you have experienced something similar with one of your family members, call us to see if we can help.

No one should feel that the healthcare providers taking care of their family members have failed them. We wrote a guide for recognizing and avoiding medical malpractice, 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice: How Every Patient Can Recognize, Stop and Avoid Medical Mistakesthe guide is free and can be downloaded on our site. Contact our office if you have any questions pertaining to medical malpractice at (202) 393-3320.


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Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer