Is there restitution when you find out medical professions did not comply with legal documents?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Birdbrenda asked...

Grandpa found out he had Alzheimer's and he knew one day he would not be able to make his own choices so he went to a lawyer and made a durable power of attorney and advanced health care directive. My question is where do you go when his doctor and hospital refused to follow it and lied about it to his wife of 58 years. I have his medical records, found out that in the last few weeks of life he had four operations, many blood transfusions, a spinal tap and feeding tube then somehow choked to death on his own vomit. I hired a private pathologist because I was sick and tired of being lied too.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

As you're finding out the hard way, it can be extremely difficult to get and interpret medical information about another person"”especially from within the confined walls of a hospital.

It sounds as if you've already taken some important steps in collecting additional outside evidence. Continue to be tenacious.

Lawyers are often unwilling or unable to get involved in such cases if the cause and effect are not clearcut or there is not likely to be a large amount of money involved because of the patient's age or condition. But there are a number of other places you may be able to turn for help.

Every hospital has ombudsmen or patient representatives whose job it is to advocate that patients receive good and proper care there"”and they are also charged with dealing with family members' concerns about the type and quality of medical care. These advocates may also help bring complaints before the hospital's ethics committee or dispute resolution panel to help resolve issues of wrongful care.

If this route fails, register your complaint with the Patient and Family Advisory Council of the Joint Commission at Or call 630-792-5000 or send an e-mail to

Finally, consider contacting the agency that licenses and regulates hospitals in the state where your grandfather died. You should be able to find that by doing an Internet search of the state plus "licenses and regulates" and "hospitals."

Community Answers

Birdbrenda answered...

Today I have talked to 6 lawyers, I could not believe what they said to me, that my grandpa is not a valuable person because of his age, there is not enough money to be made, they have all refused to take the case and help! Oh my God.