Monday, June 14, 2010

Family alleges failure of care at San Francisco hospital

By Dan Noyes, KGO-TV

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A family from Boston says their loved one died at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco after staff broke their own code of ethics and refused to provide basic care.

The members of the Murray family were home in Boston on Thursday, May 6 when an urgent call came from St. Mary's in San Francisco -- their Uncle Don had suffered a stroke. On their visit to the city just last month, the 90-year-old had seemed alive and active.

"He was very inquisitive, always wanting to learn new things," Don's nephew Don Murray said.

"Sharp as a tack, interested in everything, he kept his brain going," his grand-niece Tegan Murray said.

"We dropped everything and took a plane that night," his niece-in-law Jean Murray said.

One of Don Holley's old neighbors in the Richmond District was acting as his durable power of attorney. A doctor told her the prognosis was not good and she agreed that Don should receive what is called "comfort care," meant for patients near death. They placed him on a morphine drip and cut off all nutrition and hydration. Without water, the doctor said Don would be dead in two days.

But, there was something wrong. When the Murrays arrived that Friday, Don appeared to be improving. Full story.

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