Life "Care" of Cleveland killed my husband
Monday, October 6th, 2014 Jay was finally able to see someone about his foot. He was at Life "Care" from September 4th, 2014 and now over a month later a doctor is finally going to see about his foot. This is not acceptable. Someone should have been taking care of his foot from day one upon entering Life "Care" but that didn't happen. We had an appointment with Dr. Schulman for 9:00 and once again Life "Care tried to sabotage the appointment.
Jay informed them he needed to get a shower and get ready for his doctor appointment. He was told he didn't have an appointment. I was planning to meet him at the doctor's office. When he called and told me they said he didn't have an appointment, I was livid. I insisted he put a nurse on the phone.
"He has an appointment in Dr. Schulman's office this morning at 9:00 and you had better get him there!" I screamed into the phone. "I'll check on it," she said.
I was still upset when they finally rolled in and unloaded Jay from the van. Will this ordeal ever be over? I thought to myself. How can a health facility with the word "care" in their name deny a person medical help?
Dr. Schulman took one look at Jay's foot and exclaimed over and over, "this is bad, this is bad" He was very upset this had been allowed to go so far. I think if he had a scalpel handy he would have started cutting on the foot right then and there. The doctor wanted to do surgery ASAP but wasn't able to schedule the OR until Tuesday around 6:00 pm. He took the top of Jay's foot off from the toes to the ankle all the way down to the tendons.
Dr. Schulman said the only way to save his life was to remove his leg at the knee and even then there would be no guarantee it would get all the infection. He still wanted to schedule surgery for Monday morning, October 20th.
On Saturday, we had a meeting with the Hospitalist. He discussed all the options. He even got the surgeon on his personal cell phone and handed the phone to Jeremy to talk with the surgeon. We were at the point we could either go for surgery and take our chances, or call in Hospice.
How can you let someone you've loved for over 44 years just go and not try and do everything in your power to save them? It was not an easy decision. Jeremy finally asked the Hospitalist, "if this were your father, what would you do?" He said, "I would let him go in peace by putting him with Hospice. The odds are stacked against him even being able to survive another surgery."
Sunday, October 19, 2014 we met with Hospice. It took most of the day and it was very late in the day when he was finally transferred to Hospice in Chattanooga. They gave him a large room all to himself and enough morphine so that finally he was out of pain. We felt he would be here for a few weeks and then we can bring him home for his final days. But this was not to be.
Monday, October 20, 2014 Jay was sleeping peacefully for the first time in a very long time. Jeremy shaved him and we were both feeling at peace about the whole situation. Our pastor to the seniors and his wife (Wendell and Oneta Smith) came for a good visit and everyone was feeling at rest. It was 2:00 pm and Jeremy and I had not eaten lunch yet, so we decided to go to lunch. While Jeremy was in the restroom, I went over to Jay's bedside and told him what we were going to do, "We are going to eat lunch now, but I will be back soon. You are doing what you love to do....sleeping.....and I will see you soon."
We were planning to eat and then return to Cleveland for Jeremy to get his things and return home for work. That is how relaxed we felt about Jay finally having someone who would take care of him and we could get some much-needed rest.
We were half-way through our meal when Hospice called. She said, "we don't like to do this over the phone, but we didn't want you to drive all the way back to Cleveland or Acworth, GA (in Jeremy's case) and then have to return. Two nurses went in to turn Jay after you left, but he was already gone." He was with Hospice less than 24 hours, but it was the most peaceful he had been in a long time.
It will soon be 3 years since this and I still feel it as deeply as if it just happened. Now what would I do differently if I had it to do over? The foremost thing in my mind would be to never have put him at Life "Care" of Cleveland. The only reason he was sent there was because he couldn't lift his good leg off the bed. He was able to use it for everything else. He could walk, dress himself, and do some light exercise. He would be alive today in my estimation if we had never had rehab at Life "Care." He would have been able to keep up his doctor appointments because we would have gotten him there. He would have been able to continue his antibiotics because we would have made sure he had them with food so they didn't upset his stomach. His infection in his toes would have cleared up. Yes, I truly believe he would still be alive today had Life "Care" not neglected getting him medical help. They allowed him to die which in reality they killed him for sure and certain. That's my final answer and I am sticking to it.
Now you may think this was an isolated case of neglect, but since telling my story, I have heard story after story of people who would have died had they remained at Life "Care". There is story after story of neglect and an uncaring attitude. They are a big institution and have the money to keep several lawyers on retainers because of the many times they have been sued. Their lawyers are slick and know all the tricks for getting these charges dropped.
My advice to anyone considering a health care facility.....DO NOT USE LIFE "CARE" OF CLEVELAND because they do not care and should remove that from their name. Their rules are more important than the people they are suppose to be "caring" for.