How can we transfer my mom to a cancer teaching hospital?

Cancerstrikes2x asked...

Is there any organization that could help my family with transferring my mom from her current local, non-cancer center hospital to a clinical trials teaching hospital to prolong my mom's precious life?

We know there are a lot of hopes and options available for my mom. She has extended lung cancer (it's currently well-contained, no growth based on this Monday's CT-scan), but it seems that not a lot of cancer center hospitals in Southern California would admit my mom after they review her medical record. How come none of them showed any compassion toward my mom? Aren't doctors supposed to?

Please advise and guide us in the right direction as time is so limited. We want her to have a new treatment to kill the rest of the tumors inside her lung. Thank you for your help.

Regards, Vic

Expert Answer

Bonnie Bajorek Daneker is author and creator of the The Compassionate Caregiver's Series, which includes "The Compassionate Caregiver's Guide to Caring for Someone with Cancer," "The Journey of Grief," "Handbook on Hospice and Palliative Care," and other titles on cancer diagnosis and end of life. She speaks regularly at cancer research and support functions, including PANCAN and Cancer Survivor's Network. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the CSN at St. Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta and the Georgia Chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

It seems like you need a few answers: 

Transferring cancer patients to other care facilities of any kind can be risky to the patient, and if the doctors are not accepting the transfer, you need to ask why. It could be for many reasons, such as: that she is at extremely high risk based on her medical condition, age, or prior treatment history, that she is not stable enough to move, that they have no available beds, or that they don't offer the treatment she needs. What prognosis have they given to your mom? If she is advanced, they may not want to offer future treatment to protect her current quality of life.  They are supposed to be compassionate, and may be showing it in another way -- Neither of you wants to make it worse for her. 

In terms of clinical trials, experimental treatments, and complementary therapies, there are many, many options for cancer patients. Get specifics on her disease from her oncologist and do some research. Remember, to participate in these programs, she must meet their criteria, but you are right, there is always hope.

Lastly, if you do find a treatment center or study center, there are companies that help transport.  Air transportation can often be arranged through; ground transportation may be arranged through various St. Stephens shuttles, or Visiting Angels could help you move your mom.  

It's easy to get discouraged but keep trying.