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Wrongful Death

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state?Hello. I live in California.
My Mother was in the end stages of emphysema diagnosed with 3–6 months to live. Against her better judgement, myself and my brothers called in a local hospice and palliative care – now acronymed HPC. HPC‘s drug choice to reduce stress and anxiousness due to breathing difficulty was Roxonol (morphine). For 5 days my mother refused Roxanol, on day 6 she received it without her knowledge. On day 6 HPC gave my mother an overdose of
Roxanol(morphine) resulting in her death. I had protested verbally and in writing the use of Roxanol as it suppresses breathing. I was assured in small doses it can be helpful. The day of her death, I had asked the HPC people to stop giving her Roxanol as she was now in an obvious coma. They agreed, but continued giving it to her behind my back.

I paid a Dr/Attorney for his opinion and after 4½ months I got it. He advised I would be unwise to persue wrongful death or medical malpractice due to my mother's short term life diagnosis. HPC's goal is to die with peace. She did that. The defense would ask the judge to throw the case out of court, and he probably would due to lack bodily harm or long term disability due to HPC care. I disagree of course. What is your opinion?


Senior Member
I'm sorry for your loss.

While I agree on a moral level, I lost my mother the same way, this happens every day and is not illegal nor considered wrongful death. COPD was the cause of your mother's death. While her medications could have been managed differently, the outcome would be the same.
Sorry you lost your mom. But when patients are sent to hospice the most important thing is to make sure that they are comfortable and not necessarily to save their lives .And that makes useless the term "over dosage". Because pain is a subjective thing. We can’t measure it. If a patient in hospice is complaining of pain then the patient is in pain. And if the recommended dosage doesn’t do it for the patient most doctor might opt to increase the dose. Sometimes in Hospice dosages of pain med may be stretched far beyond the recommended dose. The idea is to keep them comfortable and not to kill them. But the trouble is that these medications at high doses (especially) in the terminally ill can do unpredictable things.

So it’s debatable what the right thing is. is it to allow a patient suffer in pain for a few weeks and die or alleviate their pain as much as possible and hope for the best?

Dr Nwaizuzu (www.reviewphysician.com)


Junior Member
If the consensus is that putting someone out of their supposed misery is
OK - then why was Dr Kvorkian ever put in jail? After my mothers death I began to research hospice care and it's attitude toward death and dying. Escalating death is not at all an uncommon practice and it would appear an acceptable one as well. People say: "Well, she passed on on peacefully. So now she's in better place" Excuse me - but I think that is so much Hog Wash.

My life, my mothers life, and your life as well is the most prescious thing you own. And no one has the right to take one minute of it without the express concent of the person who owns that life.

How dare these people come into my mother's home, kill her with an overdose
of moraphine before her time and without her knowledge, and I am supposed
to be OK with that.

My mother may have had only a matter of a few months to live, but by
God those were her last months to be with her family, settle her affairs, and
prepare for her death physically and spiritually. What if your doctor looked at you and said: "I'm sorry to inform you that the prognosis is you will probably be dead in three months. But, you will be happy to know, I just accidentally gave you a lethal overdose of drugs because I don't want you to suffer. Your tendancy would be to thank the doctor for his thoughtfulness,
mine is to give him a dose of his own medicine.

I guess this country really does have a moral value problem, doesn't it.


Senior Member
As I said before I agree with you morally and have stood up at medical conferences and made the same pleas, with many in agreement. My Mother died of COPD and was made "comfortable" with morphine the last five days of her life, I had no say, the same thing happened with my Mother-in-law they made her "comfortable" with morphine because she was singing all night long...

When people are starved for oxygen, it is horrible, something you don't want to watch or subject a loved one to. The care providers monitor the oxygen in their systems and can fairly accurately tell how long it will be. With my Mother, we were informed that she wouldn't last the day, and she didn't. She took her last breaths right after her last dose of morphine.

This is different than Dr. K. he assists people with suicide, they are not in the end stages of terminal disease, so it is a big difference. There was a time where people dying of a terminal illlness spent their last days, months or years in pain and suffering. With COPD, the life expectency is long compaired to heart disease or cancer, so many people put off dealing with their mortality. Death isn't fair but it is a sure thing that everyone must eventually face and we can only do our best to make sure our loved ones know they are loved while they are alive.

You can honor your Mother by being healthy, not smoking and making sure everyone you love, knows it.

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