Logo by S. Popis


11 April, 2004

Here is an example of abuse for the benefit of the sickness business - pretentiously billed as the health care... What a scam!

Chris Gupta

----- Original Message -----
From: HHask@aol.com
To: Mamemoms@aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 12:20 AM
Subject: South Dakota tragedy

From: gardner81@gwtc.net
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 kengeor@dakota-web.com. 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 enough.

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 Mother.

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 an attorney.

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 to pain.

After the funeral we requested an autopsy and I have a copy of that report.

These are my feeling:
They had a copy of her Advance Directive and for some reason it disappeared.
Dr. Drury performed surgery without consent and knew she was against it.
Mother was kept alive against her wishes, the right to die with dignity denied.
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 printed.

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.

Thank you.

| Up | Home | Feedback |
Designs and implementation by S. Popis. All Rights Reserved