11 April, 2004
Here is an example of abuse for the benefit of the
sickness business - pretentiously billed as the health care... What
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 12:20 AM
Subject: South Dakota tragedy
Date: 4/5/2004 1:49:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I have a friend that is looking for an attorney that deals with
malpractice in the area of an advance directive being denied by
a doctor and hospital - elder abuse (Georgina's mother). She lives
in Lemmon, SD. If you know of any attorneys that deal with these
issues or could give her any helpful resources in finding one, would
you email Georgina? Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
She said it was okay to pass on her mother's story to patient advocates.
So her story is below:
My Mother, Nellie Williamson, entered Rapid City Regional Hospital
on February 11, 2003, complaining of nausea. She was examined and
found to have heart problems. She had this problem previously and
declined any type of surgery because she felt she had lived long
Dr. Drury performed surgery on her and her heart stopped during
surgery. She was resuscitated, intubated, and kept alive on machines
until her death on February 23rd, 2003.
When I came back to Rapid City for her funeral, that was not my
Mother in the casket. She was bruised and had a look of total despair
on her face. I immediately scheduled a meeting with the hospital.
We met with the lawyer, public relations person, and nurse in ICU.
My Mother had a living will; the admit form stated they had a copy
of it and listed my sister and I as durable power of attorney for
medical decisions. My sister, Laurie Pope, was called by Dr. Drury,
on February 12th to "inform the family" that Mom and consented
to surgery. No one had called us previously to let us know she was
in the hospital.
I arrived on February 13th and was told that my sister, Laurie
Pope, had dropped her off at the Emergency Room and left her. I
immediately called my sister, who came to the hospital. The male
nurse in the room told me Mom was being kept alive on machines.
He also told me she had a very rough time during surgery. I asked
him if Mom was being kept alive on those machines and he said yes.
I told him and the nurse in charge that Mom had a living will and
did not want to be kept alive on machines. Mom had made me promise
I would never let her be kept alive on machines. Laurie Pope called
Dr. Drury on several occasions but her calls were not returned.
On February 14th, we met with the "on call" doctor who
assured us that Mom was making good progress and we were looking
at possibly a two week stay before going to rehab. I returned to
Seattle, Washington, because I was scheduled for surgery myself.
My plan was to have my surgery and return to recuperate with my
I called my sister for updates on her condition. I called the hospital
several times and usually was the same report. She's restless and
not responding like she should but was doing okay. On February 23rd
my sister called and told me Mom had a temp of 107 and they could
not get the fever down.
I called the hospital and asked that Mom be taken off all machines
and this time they agreed. She died about forty-five minutes later.
At the meeting with the hospital lawyer and staff, I asked questions
but hot no satisfaction. At this meeting I asked to see a signed
consent for surgery; there was none. I asked to see the living will;
there was none. I asked if her regular Physician had been contacted;
she hadn't. I asked why the blood pressure cuff was never checked
or removed; they couldn't explain that. I asked if they knew where
her glasses or dentures were; not to their knowledge. I asked if
they had her life line bracelet; they would try to find it. My Mother
had received inhumane treatment. I was irate with her care. I ended
the meeting, stating I wanted legal counsel to represent us. The
hospital lawyer informed us that the doctors and hospital were independent
of each other. I stated I was going to contact Dr. Drury. The hospital
attorney said, "Don't hold your breath, he'll probably just
blow you off."
They called and wanted to schedule another meeting but the medical
record would not be there for us to see so I declined and called
I called Dr. Drury's office three times. He was in surgery but
would call me. He didn't.
The attorney we asked to represent us felt it would not be monetarily
feasible for him to take the case because Mother had not been kept
alive on the machine long enough!
The lawyer from the hospital called and said the medical record
was copied and we could pick them up. He waived the copy charges
for us and her chart is about 4" thick. I have that record.
At the funeral I fell apart. Jesus on the cross was my Mother on
that cross. The last time I saw her, wrists and ankles were tied
to the bed. She had a tube stuck down her throat so she was unable
to talk. In her casket she had a bruise on her right cheek and you
could see the bruises on her arms and wrists through her long sleeved
dress. What a terrible death she must have suffered. All I could
say was, "I'm sorry Mom," because I had let them keep
her alive on machines and broke my promise to her.
When I read the Medical record I was devastated. They describe
her as being uncooperative and not following commands. They certainly
weren't following her commands. Several notes state she would squeeze
her eyes tight. She could not see without her glasses and I would
translate that as a sign she couldn't see or she was hurting awful
bad. No where does it state that her body was ever turned or her
restrains removed. She laid eleven days in that position and the
only stimulus she had was pain inflicted to see if she responded
After the funeral we requested an autopsy and I have a copy of
These are my feeling:
They had a copy of her Advance Directive and for some reason it
Dr. Drury performed surgery without consent and knew she was against
Mother was kept alive against her wishes, the right to die with
Dr. Drury ignored our calls although we were both listed as Durable
Power of Attorney
Staff directly lied to me to cover for the doctor.
The Medical Record state she came in by ambulance. No where does
it state my
sister dropped her off and left her.
Her life line bracelet was never found - it was on her night stand
when we left.
This "incident" must be made public knowledge to prevent
this from happening again.
Dr. Drury did this surgery for monetary reasons for himself.
My sister, Laurie Pope, and myself, Georgina Schaff want to pursue
this matter legally.
I have contacted several attorneys in Rapid City, South Dakota,
and they all declined our case. I wrote an article for the Rapid
City Journal; they would hold it until we have a case. It was never
Is there anything you can do to help us. Advice or a lawyer referral
would be very much appreciated. I now live in South Dakota and there
is no way in Hell or on this earth that I want to go through what
my Mother did. I have an Advance Directive but what good is it,
if the hospital or doctors don't honor them.