Our mother died December 16, 2021, after a horrific eleven-day ordeal at a hospital whose murderous protocols ensured her death. We will never know if she might have survived Covid because Dignity Mercy Gilbert provided her no dignity and gave her no mercy. Our mom, Mary, was a fighter and fought every day to get home to her loved ones. She was the beautiful, independent, loving and much-loved matriarch of our family. She was mother to 6, grandmother to 7, and great grandmother to 6 young children.
Despite desire to avoid the hospital, her O2 stats were low on December 5. Her daughter was not allowed to accompany her during check-in. She was upset about her rights being ignored: unwanted DNR; isolation; refusal of food/water; lack of help to toilet - all blamed on "Covid protocols." Intake paperwork was signed by verbal agreement, without a witness, stating she didn't want family notified and placing her on a DNR. She gave names/phone numbers of three children, not the action of a woman not wanting family notified; but certainly convenient for a hospital not wanting the interference of family as they provided less than substandard care. Multiple chart notes indicate bias re: "vax" status.
She was upset about the DNR. MPOA paperwork was provided and the DNR removed. She called, panicked, five days later about a reinstated DNR. A nurse lied, saying she had simply overheard her talking to a doctor about another patient. Medical Record (MR): A doctor reinstated a DNR 5 days after it was removed, overstated and recorded wishes. Staff never informed us.
Only one 30-minute visit a day was allowed. Incredibly loud noise made calls extremely difficult. Staff were informed of her hearing loss but made no simple accommodations, nor note in her chart of the need for communication assistance. No communication board or paper/pen were provided. When her daughter left paper/pen so she could write and conserve energy and breath, it was found out of reach, covered in water the next day. She was able to write in coherent long sentences with clear penmanship as of 12/14/21. She clearly could have used this to communicate with staff. Instead, they let her remove the mask and yell, while chastising her for removing it to try to get a drink of water.
She called and texted daily that she was hungry and thirsty. Requests for a temporary feeding tube and IV fluids were denied. MR: She was given only 13.4 cups of water over 11 days! No food was given until 5% of dinner on the 4th day! Only minimal amounts on days 5-7 and 10. Food was withheld days 8-9 and 11. Nursing charted they were encouraging food and water to avoid bed sores; likely a QC (quality control) report affecting funding rates and also fraud. While food and water were withheld for days based on the possibility of aspiration pneumonia, they frequently charted she was performing her own oral care. Not likely as they kept water out of reach and chastised her for removing her oxygen mask to take a sip of water.
Her rights to humane care; family input/advocacy; appropriate care and treatment; and right to try were denied. They denied alternative rx (e.g. Ivermectin and IV vitamins). Upon admittance, a doctor wrote: "She is DNR. Palliative care consult to discuss further goals of care with family and patient as her condition may not be survivable at this point." No one contacted the family. MPOA/family were not given the phone numbers and agencies to reach out to with concerns/complaints. MR: Staff failed to chart requests for food/water/IV fluids/temporary feeding tube until one note day 9; requests for Ivermectin/IV vitamins uncharted; Remdesivir was ordered initially, a later note says she did not meet their criteria, no note shows our mom and MPOA refused it, despite a nurse saying he would chart it. They failed to chart her MPOA’s name/phone number until day 10 and continually stated she did not need an MPOA despite her medical condition and hearing loss. Staff cruelly communicated to each other within her room, leaving her scared hearing only snippets: "nothing more can be done; nothing more we can do," etc. Finding our mother in urine-soaked sheets, her granddaughter refused to leave until she was helped, 35 minutes later.
Timelines and decisions regarding care were affected by lack of transparency. Critical information was withheld, interfering with our mother's/MPOA's right to make choices for her care. We spoke to a doctor only once, after demanding it, who refused to provide requested information, until told a friend working in a Covid ICU out-of-state requested it. On day 9, my brother was told she was receiving therapies critical to her care, when she had not received any therapies following initial evaluations. There were no attempts to see her until days 9/10/11, at which time nursing declined do to her status. She needed to be up and moving to clear pneumonia; advocacy for her ability to tolerate food/water or be provided a temporary feeding tube and hydration; ensure her mouth was being cleaned prior to water/ice chips; and to observe her communication difficulties and advocate for accommodations, especially as nursing staff continued to insist she did not need a MPOA.
Interference Leaving the Hospital: A nurse called to discuss plans, including home health and/or hospice, in the event things took a downturn. The next day another nurse said, "No, Covid patients don’t go home. What happens when they’re ready to be done with treatment is they have their last meal here and die here." When informed, "No, you're wrong and our mother will be coming home," she admitted, "This isn’t my specialty. I’ll refer you to palliative care." Due to her hearing loss, I specifically stated palliative care should not speak with my mother until I was present, and I was on my way to the hospital. They did not honor this and once again said she didn’t need a MPOA. When I got there, I was told my mom understood what coming home on hospice meant and I had to sit at her bedside as the palliative care "provider" reviewed again the plans to bring her home and realize the miscommunication that had occurred and see the reaction as my mother realized what was being discussed. This was avoidable extra pain for both my mother and me. Simply exercising less arrogance and following family wishes would have made for a far different, more compassionate conversation.
Escaping the Hospital: Four of her children fought their way in past the front door "guards" to be with her, after staff had scared us into thinking she might die in the process of transfer. She was made NPO as soon as we had arranged for hospice. She wasn’t released for almost 21 hours, and no one told us that they were once again starving and dehydrating our mother. She was dehydrated, significantly weakened, and being refused an ice chip by a nurse who said simply, "It’s the protocol when they’re going home." She denied a dying woman's and her children's request for a single ice chip and then had the gall to delay her departure by stepping between her and transportation staff, to put her face in our mother's and say it was a privilege to take care of her. MR: They gave her morphine and Ativan before her transfer, denying her the opportunity to enjoy a last meal at home.
God had his hands on our mom and family, as we got her home the afternoon of December 15. She passed on to our Father in Heaven on December 16, surrounded by her family in the peace of her own home. We know she is at peace with our Father. We pray for protection for those still facing this evil and those trying to heal from it. We must connect the dots...the provider relief fund is funding murder, and it needs to be ended. According to some sources, Dignity Health is the number five recipient of the Covid provider relief fund in the country. In what were some of our mom's final words, she described what is transpiring as, "Evil, evil, evil…"
Cave Creek, AZ