The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is the Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center. They get the award for the following.
For the first time in nearly 12 years, Dr. Jaimy Bensimon on Friday said he was anticipating a sound night's sleep. Linda Scheible, who accused him of sentencing her grandmother to a painful, protracted death by ignoring her living will, said she, too, finally expected her nightmares to end.What is it about the words 'Do not resuscitate' that Morse doesn't understand? What I feel was involved here is another greedy health care outfit trying to milk either the public or patient's family for every cent they could. If Neumann was alive, that menat more money for Morse. Why should this geriatric center be considered any different than Medicare or Medicare cheats like Tenet?
The long-awaited relief for two people on opposite sides of a long-running legal battle came when a jury cleared Bensimon of wrongdoing in the 1995 death of Scheible's 92-year-old grandmother.
But jurors also slapped the Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center for not making sure Madeline Neumann's well-documented desire for a peaceful death was carried out. They ordered the West Palm Beach nursing home to pay Scheible $150,000.
"Justice has prevailed," Bensimon said - a sentiment echoed by Scheible.
"If this stops one other patient from going through what my grandmother went through and stops one family from going through the emotional trauma of what my family went through for a week, then every minute I spent was worth it," the Wellington social worker said through tears.
James Nosich, who represented Bensimon, said to fully understand the nursing home's actions, people have to go back to the early 1990s, when Neumann, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other ailments, was admitted.
"Morse had all the policies and procedures in place that they were required to by law, but a patient's right to self-determination in health care was in flux in the early '90s. We were at a time when there was a learning curve for the staff," he said. "Clearly, by now in 2007, all these issues have been taken care of."
When she suffered a seizure on Oct. 17, 1995, and nurses were unable to get a pulse, they called Bensimon, then medical director of the roughly 280-bed facility. Even though Neumann's living well said she didn't want life-saving measures to prolong her life, there was no do-not-resuscitate order on her chart. As a result, her frail body was poked and prodded as medical workers hooked her up to equipment.
Having watched two daughters and a husband die lingering deaths, it was exactly the kind of death Neumann hoped to avoid, Scheible said.
Jurors said Morse should have had better procedures in place to notify staff and others of Neumann's wishes.
They said they cleared Bensimon of wrongdoing because they believed he was a compassionate doctor who ordered Neumann be taken to the hospital to determine whether she could be helped. Ultimately, doctors ruled she couldn't. She died six days later at Columbia Hospital.
For miserably failing a patient in their care, Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center is today's Knucklehead of the Day.
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