Woman refuses discharge for one year

  1. woman overstays hospital stay by a year

    wed feb 16, 8:39 pm et u.s. national - ap
    http://abcnews.go.com/us/wirestory?id=506512

    by brian skoloff, associated press writer

    more than a year after sarah nome was deemed healthy and given her discharge papers, the 82-year-old woman stubbornly refuses to leave her hospital bed.


    ap photo



    nome admits there is no reason she should be racking up unpaid medical bills-which have now topped $1 million-but says she has nowhere else to turn.


    now kaiser permanente's san rafael medical center in california is suing her for the cost of her stay and trying to show her the door.


    "the thing is, i have no medical problem. i've been here more than a year, never had any medication, never had any treatment, never had a fever, have a perfect heart, blood pressure is like a teenager," nome said in a telephone interview from the hospital north of san francisco. "it isn't that i'm not ready to go. i just have nowhere to go."


    exasperated hospital officials persuaded a judge to approve her eviction. but because nome is bedridden and cannot walk, they have no intention of wheeling her onto the street. instead, they hope the ruling encourages her to pack her bags.


    "we're really not interested in her money," kaiser attorney stanley watson said. "we just want her cooperation."


    nome's troubles began, her daughter jane sands says, in 2002 when she broke both her legs while living alone. after several operations, nome could no longer care for herself and was admitted to the first of several nursing homes.


    the most recent one, nome claims, sent her to the hospital against her will. hospital officials say she was admitted for a weeklong psychiatric evaluation, was deemed to be in good mental health, was then ordered released.


    but because she is suing the nursing homes where she lived before she was hospitalized, nome and her daughter claim she has no choice but to stay put. nome is suing the last home she lived in, greenbrae care center, for sending her to the hospital.


    watson said hospital officials have tried to find a suitable home for nome, but nome and her daughter insist on staying in marin county, where nome has spent her entire life.


    that puts kaiser in a difficult position, given nome's bedridden state.


    "if a patient were ambulatory, you could simply discharge them and say, `have a nice day,'" watson said. "but i can assure you that we don't plan on having the sheriff come in and physically remove her and put her on the street."


    greenbrae will not take nome back because she is suing the nursing home, said bob peirce, chief operating officer of ocadian hospitals and care centers, which runs the center.


    "she's suing us, and we obviously feel very strongly that she has no case," peirce said.


    anthony wright, executive director of the health care advocacy group health access california, said nome's situation highlights a larger, nationwide problem.


    "this issue is becoming more and more contentious because ... we don't have a long-term care policy in this country, so there is no set way that we take care of seniors who need ongoing care," he said.


    meanwhile, nome remains in her hospital gown. she said the doctors and nurses "couldn't be finer," but she has missed the news since her television and newspaper privileges were taken away. "i think bush might still be president," she quipped.



    she passes the time by reading in bed and gazing out the window.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 17, '05
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  2. Visit canoehead profile page

    About canoehead, BSN

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 8,712; Likes: 8,356

    72 Comments

  3. by   delta32
    I would have her removed to the street and have her daughter do her job and take care of her the hospital is not a nursing home and is being sorely abused.
  4. by   KRVRN
    We had a set of parents do something similar with their child. Claimed they weren't ready to learn to care for the child (had a g-tube). Frustrating.
  5. by   prmenrs
    I can't believe they didn't send that baby to medically fragile foster care!!
  6. by   Tweety
    We do a lot of indigent care at my facility. As cold-hearted as it is, we've sent them to homeless shelters in a cab when it's time for discharge, if they are homeless when they are admitted.

    Prmenrs, I'm sure after a year case managment has considered all their options. My guess is she's been refusing them.

    She's obvioiusly using them for a hotel. Wonder why she's suing them?

    Interesting.
  7. by   tirramisue
    So they took her newspaper and TV privileges away. What I really wanna know is, did they take her call bell privileges away?
  8. by   z's playa
    Poor old lady.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    Clue phone here:

    Quote from canoehead
    Nome's troubles began, her daughter Jane Sands says, in 2002 when she broke both her legs while living alone. After several operations, Nome could no longer care for herself and admitted to the first of several nursing homes.
    Quote from canoehead
    Watson said hospital officials have tried to find a suitable home for Nome, but Nome and her daughter insist on staying in Marin County

    Patient been in SEVERAL SNF since 1982, "insist on staying in Marin County" this is a discharge planning nightmare. Daughter obviously not a "willing and able caregiver" or would have been sent to her home with homecare services. Patient is bedbond, just can't show her to the door.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 17, '05
  10. by   mscsrjhm
    What really, really p***** me off is that there is a lawyer trying to use this to get money. He is the only one who will benifit.
    Lawyers don't police themselves well, do they?
    We all know this woman... N.H. finds a reason to send her to the hospital because she has become such a pain, then refuses to take her back. No one else will take her.
    Maybe a week or two in the county mental facility would change her attitude!!!
    No sympathy for right-minded users and abusers.
  11. by   Lawnurse
    [QUOTE=Mschrisco]What really, really p***** me off is that there is a lawyer trying to use this to get money. He is the only one who will benifit.
    Lawyers don't police themselves well, do they?

    This is a common misconception. Laywers don't just walk into court and sue people- they have to have clients. The insurance company who has to pay this lady's medical bills hired a lawyer because she does not have a legal right to remail in the hospital. The lawyer is involved because someone HIRED the lawyer. And lawyers working for insurance companies get paid by the hour - not a percentage of the "win" since there is no "win" in defense work. Lastly, evicting a bedridden woman from a hospital in a case that has reached the media is the lawyer's equivalent of emptying bed pans all day - its a sucky assignment.
  12. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from KRVRN
    We had a set of parents do something similar with their child. Claimed they weren't ready to learn to care for the child (had a g-tube). Frustrating.
    A colleague of mine actually currently has a child living at the hospital, too. Long drawn out story about why (although in this case it is legitimate and there appears to be nowhere else for this young lady to go), but it is starting to look like the state DDS will pick up at least some of this tab, the size of which I can not even fathom.
  13. by   Fiona59
    Bed blocking to the extreme. But, if there are no LTC beds available the elderly stay in ACTIVE treatment beds until something comes up. The daughter is playing the game well.

    What scares me is how many families will read this story and decide to do the same with Mum/Dad, because they are unwilling to care for them and the parent is difficult/hard to please?

    We had a policy of elderly must accept the first available LTC bed and then apply for a transfer to the preferred facility. What a joke. If the family whines loud enough, claims to "know so and so", threatens to go to the media, the facility managers always backs down and lets them stay.

    And yup, call bell privilieges should be taken away in most cases. They can walk talk, do adl, and treat the LPN's and NA's like their own personal staff. Admittedly bedbound is a different story, but I'm willing to guess that she had more than made her presence known around that unit.

    Maybe she should be forwarded to the nearest state psych unit for further evaluation. There was a reason the nursing home sent her in......
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    Psych eval, STAT!!!

    I've dealt with people like this, both in the hospital and in LTC as admissions coordinator/ADON, and they are a nightmare from the deepest pit of Hell. The irony is, it's all but impossible to get 'em admitted to a mental hospital because they are lucid and non-violent, and they have LAWYERS. Plus, this particular pt. is non-ambulatory, which makes her a poor candidate for most inpatient psych programs, since they usually admit only pts. who are physically able to do their own ADLs. What a mess........I feel for everyone involved, including the patient and her daughter.

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