Can effective pain meds be arbitrarily cut off from "locked-in" victims?
My 95 year old Mother had this ultimate horror inflicted on her in the Asheville, NC, Care Partners hospice facility, the John Keeve Solace Center, bought by Mission Hospital not that long ago. Mission is purchasing and monopolizing most Asheville area healthcare facilities presently, and the resulting care has declined, reportedly. It certainly did for my loved one. The attending nurse for Mother's final seven excrutiating hours refused my numerous pleas for the prescribed PRN doses of morphine for vasodillation to keep Mother from feeling herself suffocating from her congestive heart failure, in addition to being locked in. For months, Mother had been dependent on morphine's effect to keep her from suffocating. She lay for that entire fifth day in Solace, panting desperately for oxygen and crying the tiniest tears from lack of any liquids or nourishment for over a week. She was fully conscious until she succumbed to this nurse's ultimately cruelty, still able to only raise her eye brows very slightly in response to my communication with her for those hours. The medical director of the hospice facility defended the nurse's indefensible torture, illogically and unreasonably asserting that Mother could have been "too fragile" for more than one milligram of morphine every four hours, which is all the nurse would allow, completely contradicting several tenets of hospice standard of care, to prevent suffering and anxiety in the patient and family members while under hospice care. Treatment by this facility of our loved one and family was the most severe degree of elder abuse imaginable and has left me diagnosed with PTSD from it. It should be illegal to discontinue effective pain management for locked-in patients without a brain wave scan to verify the patient can no longer feel anything. We were promised by the admitting MD that Mother would be kept in a "euphoric state" while actively dying. This was the worst possible death experience for patient and family. Beware of hospice facilities for stroke victims. Mrs. Nancy Khoury