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Comments

blueball

sounds like an elderly single man who gave durable power of attorney to a designee and distant relatives were not in agreement with the mans and wishes and the designees implementation of the wishes

Bettyboop

The truth is in the eye of the beholder and I highly doubt that a 90 man suffered a stroke was paralyzed on one said but able to say "Hi!" to people who walked in. If this family was so close to this old man then why were they not the actual holders of DPOA? Also, I doubt the only people who cared about him or had interest in his welfare lived on the other side of the states especially since he had DPOA with someone here.

Leo Santos

The hospital has the big bucks! Sue. That's the bottom line, right? The relatives get the bucks w/c is what they want!

Joe

Let me get this straight , Wacko's from the east come here , give BS to I-Team and they fall for it . very poor reporting

Lee White

Wackos? Been keeping up with the news lately? The Catholic church is full of 'em! How many priests have turned out to be child molesters? The hospital should have provided treatment until the ethics committee could meet. I also would like to know why St. Mary's is apparently able to pick and choose which Catholic ethics to follow. For example, why not start performing abortions? That's against the bishops' directives, too. What's the difference? As for the family, I'm curious as to whether they sought an emergency court injunction to restore food and water.

Michael Morrissey

This story sounds very far-fetched. I have worked in hospitals for over 33 years, including St Mary's, St Francis, Seton, CPMC, and Kaiser, and it just does not ring true. And my own mother died at St Mary's on "comfort care". Sounds to me as though this loving family is looking for a payoff from the hospital.

Cronkite

The American people need to understand that the dying process isn't meant to be a pretty event. Comfort measures are taken to make sure the patient is as comfortable as possible and I respect the decision of the people who day in and day out take care of people in their most vulnerable moments. People like the Murrays who want to go to the news to talk of their horrible experience are only thinking about what they experienced and have not taken into consideration the patient's. There is a reason those people weren't the DPOA, because he couldn't trust them to make the right decision for him. A DPOA is supposed to be a surrogate decision maker for the patient not for their feelings and insecurities about death. Its a shame that people like these would go as far as to defame an institution like St. Mary's and the people who have sacrificed so much to take care of the sick.

And Dan Noyes, this is poor investigational journalism. The point of a journalist is to present the facts and let the reader make the opinion. Your journalism is skewed, biased, and outright immoral. There is a reason why after Cronkite died, America voted Stewart the most trusted man in America. He doesn't feign to be a journalist but still is more trusted to deliver truthful news reporting than yahoos like you. Instead of being an Op/Ed writer to support your ego, you should return to honest journalism and accept that you are just a local anchor and do work you can be proud of.

Your poor journalism (if you can call it that) does not obviate the truth.

Disgusted Viewer

Murray family, you should be ashamed. Is this your way of paying respect to Mr. Holley? You guys were estranged and now you want to sue for money.

If you collect money from the death of a man, I hope you have the decency to donate all the money to help make dying people more comfortable.

You guys are despicable!

Lee White Fan

Hey Lee White, before you jump on the band wagon of imbeciles, you should read more about the dying process and palliative care. Don't get duped into this news reporter's (not journalist) unbiased representation of facts. The catholic church recently published their ethical guidelines that clearly say that food and water in a dying patient does not contribute to the quality of life. This reporter is quoting something that is now antiquated. It's not surprising that he doesn't know how to fact check, for all I know some intern probably looked that up while he was trying to peddle his soul but couldn't find a buyer.

morality gambler

the man didn't die from choking on his own blood, he died from a massive stroke at 90. why can't you let the dead rest in peace. do you know what its like to live with a stroke at 90. if this poor man survived you think this estranged family that he didn't trust to be his DPOA would have stuck around to help. their just looking for a quick pay. go play the lottery and save your morality.

Lee White

OK, so what was the point of failing to suction the guy when he got a nosebleed? Palliative care doesn't mean you stop doing anything but a morphine drip. Suctioning would have made the poor fellow comfortable in his final hours. If this is the sort of decision a nurse with 17 years of experience makes, consumers of health care are in serious trouble.

joeschmeaux

What is so comfortable about dehydration? I think it's just comfortable for insurance companies and hospitals when patients die quickly. It frees up a bed for someone who will require more services than someone who is dying.

It's gross negligence to deny a conscious person water. Perhaps it's even murder in this case, as dehydration hastened his death and it doesn't matter whether he was sick or not, if he was consciously freaking out about being dehydrated. At the very least its torture. Prisoners of war are treated better under the agreements of the Geneva Convention.

One can't blame the family for being respectful of the staff, but I don't think I would have been able to stand idly by. Yes, call 911 from the hospital! Ask for a paramedic and the police! Then call a lawyer to get over there immediately! Then turn the cell phone around and make some video of the nurses explaining why they are allowing the patient to die because the ethics committee wouldn't be in until Monday and immediately post it with their names on youtube!

If I knew how to suction the blood, I would have grabbed the confiscated equipment out of the drawer and dared anyone to stop me. I wouldn't care if I ended up in jail, but I would have FORCED the evil nurses to hydrate my uncle!

This is a perfect example of why we need to overhaul the health system in this country. Doctors and, more importantly, patients shouldn't have their hands tied by bureaucracy. How many other people die early or unnecessarily because the only department which can authorize saving them is closed for the weekend? The hospital needs to be held accountable with punitive fines which are truly deterrent to this happening in the future.

In this day and age, when there are many over qualified applicants for each open job, people who currently hold jobs ought to think about how well they perform in those jobs (on every rung of the ladder, from top to bottom). Doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators shouldn't go to work just to pick up a check. Nobody is irreplaceable.

cmmarsha5@gmail.com

Dan Noyes.. you might b the most pretentious A I have ever seen. You are setting a bad example for investigative journalism.

Please take a minute today and look at your kids. If you can honestly feel that you are proud of them/what you do then this comment is all for not. I think that you might just feel a sense of shame and embarrassment.

Deborah Silverman

As a past patient at St. Mary's Hospital who suffered unnecessarily at their hands, I totally believe the Murray's version of this story and applaud Dan Noyes for bringing their abuse to light. I experienced both sadistic and negligent care by a number of the nurses, the arrogance of an attending who refused to contact my specialist regarding my care and imposed measures on me that caused a totally avoidable crisis, medication and dosing errors, and much more. Hospitalization makes one feel vulnerable and dependent, and it is hard to assert even the most basic need. Fortunately in my case, I was conscious and knowledgeable enough to refuse a double dose of heart medication and an inappropriate injection I was brought. As a patient, I do not care about medically unnecessary attention or a even good bedside manner, but I found St. Mary's a nightmare and would rather die at home than ever be brought there again.
For those of you who think Mr. Murray was expendable because of his advanced age, I don't know who is qualified to judge the worth of one life as against another, but I do know that Mr. Murray's display of consciousness and his expressions of discomfort warranted an immediate and compassionate medical response.

careMerger

As a wrongfully terminated ex-employee of St. Mary's Medical Center, I can attest to the fact that the work culture at that hospital is anything but safe for patients. Instead, the protected arrogance and absolute control exerted by it's hierarchy leaves no room to question ANYTHING EVER.

As the result, a lawsuit of this nature was bound to occur.

The checks-and-balances that are inherent to many different professional vantages viewing the same problem has been undermined by St. Mary's tyrannical medical hierarchy.

For example, management at St. Mary's serves ONLY top physicians--who themselves are usually ignorant of problems with their patients because staff is too afraid to call them for every little detail. Clarification of Do Not Resuscitate guidelines are just one such detail.

One exacerbation of this lack of timely interdepartmental communication is because St. Mary's has adopted a cumbersome electronic charting system that leaves little method for actual communication from staff to authority.

Nevertheless, under NO circumstances should patients be allowed to drown in their own phlegm--nasotracheal suctioning is a routine nursing procedure for every patient--a procedure that does not even require a doctor's order.

Furthermore, patient families are routinely taught how to suction--never does a competent medical team prevent such a humane procedure. However, at St. Mary's Medical Center nurses and allied professionals who DO practice that right without a physician's order are rigorously reprimanded--and three reprimands are grounds for wrongful termination.

Therefore, the tyrannical hierarchy at St. Mary's Medical Center, one that utilizes top-down fear to maintain control over the staff--results in needlessly poor patient care and death.

careMerger

In my experience at St. Mary's, Hydration is an enigma for the medical staff. They just cannot seem to figure out that fluid is balanced by oncotics in a patient's blood--that salts, blood pressure, and X-rays are not the only indicators of fluid problems.

Blood protein--usually an indicator of poor food intake--is almost ignored altogether at this medical center. If plasma proteins and blood cells are low, then problems occur with hydration and the energy to cough and swallow properly.

This leads to the medical staff diagnosing a negligence pneumonia because the patient doesn't cough effectively. As well, this "pneumonia" X-ray almost always has some degree of pulmonary edema super imposed--because the proteins were low in the first place.

However, inability to cough and swallow leads to another dumb order--"NPO"--nothing by mouth.

Therefore, because these "professionals" can't figure out how to feed or water their patients, these pedantic over-achievers cause far more harm than good.

But you'd better NEVER point that out to them--or you will be fired.

careMerger

Thanks, Dan for this coverage.

Although geriatric issues are difficult, I know for certain that this type of blunder is routine at St. Mary's.

Good coverage.

sfcitizen

End of life issues are never easy. But to expolit give the Murrays a platform to hawk their pathetic wares must make this situation that much more difficult for the person who Mr. Holley truly trusted, the person vested with power of attorney. Notice that the story provides no background on the Murrays or the status of their relationship with Mr. Holley. Had Mr. Noyes and Channel 7 actually been interested in doing some real reporting, they would have taken a deeper look at the situation and asked what some of the astute commenters above have asked: why didn't the Murrays have power of attorney in the first place? It is unfortunate to be forced to jump to a nefarious conclusion here, but it is far worse that desperate "family" members are able to use shoddy local news to make their self-interested case. I truly hope that most viewers are savvy enough not to be buying what these folks are selling. And condolences to the people with power of attorney who have sadly gotten caught in the cross-fire of greed and possibly regret.

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