Eyewitness Testimony of Involuntary Euthanasia
My name is Barbara Page and I am reporting a case of involuntary euthanasia that occurred at a hospital here in California. Having worked as a state-certified Ombudsman, patient advocate, and medical researcher for years, I was already familiar with cases of involuntary euthanasia of vulnerable elderly patients in hospice settings.
Never in my wildest imagination would I have believed that nurses in a hospital would step into this ghoulish arena and intentionally hasten the death of my 84 year-old father, Bill Page, who was the patient in this case. He was fully alert, competent, able to speak clearly about his wishes, and the nurses completely ignored his wishes!
On the night shift, Saturday, December 3, 2016, after a nurse poked him repeatedly for 20 minutes, my father refused to let the nurse poke him again with the large bore 18 or 20 gauge I.V. needle! Not only did she poke him at least 10 times, when she did so, she manipulated the needle inside his arm, digging around, searching for the vein without finding it! That was extremely painful!
As retaliation when he refused to have the same nurse continue to further unsuccessfully stab him with the I.V. needle (they can hurt a lot after a while!), the ICU nurses injected a contra-indicated lethal overdose of morphine and Haldol into Bill, who was fully in charge of his faculties and refusing any of these unneeded medications.
Before they injected Bill against his will, both he and I told the nurses to stop stabbing him with the I.V. needle and get someone who knew what they were doing and had more expertise in inserting an I.V. I had requested to speak to the attending physician or any supervisor for that matter, so that we could at least look into other options or get an IV insertion specialist to help out. However, the nurse, who was visibly irritated at Bill's refusal and my advocacy for "her" patient, refused to call the attending physician, refused to get any other healthcare professional to insert the I.V. needle and said she "knew what she was doing." She continued to disregard the clear requests of my father for her to stop.
When I again told the nurses not to continue to try to place the I.V., Bill and I were outraged to hear the nurses threaten Bill. They said they would turn off the oxygen he needed due to his COPD and pneumonia!
I then unfortunately I now realize left my father's side to find a manager or someone to intervene. The nurses took my momentary absence as an opportunity to do their worst. They labeled him as "combative" and "agitated" and supposedly therefore "justified" the use of strong doses of morphine and Haldol.
In case anyone has been misled to believe that the hospital nurses administered so-called "compassionate" palliative care to a supposedly "imminently dying cancer patient", please allow me a moment to disabuse you of this false notion. First, for about 3 hours prior to this run-in with nurses, my father and I had been enjoying each other's company, holding normal conversations. His speech was initially slurred, a temporary effect of having lost oxygen during the respiratory distress he experienced as a result of the hospital-acquired aspiration pneumonia (he may have been given something to eat or drink when he was not fully awake or the position of his bed was not upright as it should be).
Within a short time after my arrival, his normal speech returned and he began asking questions about the days news: what he had missed, whether his favorite football team had won, and who Trump ended up choosing as secretary of state. During this time, he indicated he was experiencing some manageable pain, but had adamantly, unambiguously, and repeatedly refused pain medication. In other words, he nor anyone in our family asked for nor authorized the use of morphine or other powerful pain medications or sedatives. Moreover, my father was not in hospice and was not taking any pain medications prior to his admission to the hospital.
In disregarding his refusal to take those medications, the nurse attempted to explain away her disregard for his patient rights by calling him "confused." He was not! By doing so, she implied that he was mentally incompetent and therefore unable to give consent or to refuse any medication or treatment in the first place. However, this is simply not true.
Again, my father was not in some semi-comatose "death rattle" stage of dying, not imminently dying, or even thought to be dying by any physician in the hospital! He was a fully mentally competent man, a successful oil executive, displaying his renowned wit and humor during our conversations just moments earlier.
Only days before he had also still been operating his own business and communicating with his customers. In any case, too, excessive morphine is well-known to be contraindicated in patients with pneumonia and COPD, both of which my father had. Patients with COPD have a decreased respiratory effort and should not be given morphine except that if they do need it for pain, it should be given in only very carefully administered lower, safe dosages (adjusted if necessary) and monitored for respiratory depression. See the adverse effects of morphine listed at Drugs.com:
Why would he need Haldol? Haldol is a powerful anti-psychotic medication and Bill was in full control of his faculties, competent, able to clearly communicate his wishes, not having any psychological problems at all. Haldol can cause difficulty in speaking and in swallowing the exact opposite of what my father needed! The nurses' actions would certainly shut him up and could make him aspirate more food or water into his lungs! See the adverse effects of haldol listed at Drugs.com:
It's also important to point out that, about an hour prior to this incident, one of the nurses involved spoke over the phone with a renowned physician friend of ours, and reported that my father was clinically stable and "turning a corner," i.e., that he was clearly recovering from the acute stage of his hospital-acquired pneumonia, which was the only reason he was in the ICU in the first place.
Put another way, my father had not landed in the hospital on the brink of death, but had been initially admitted to a non-ICU cardiac unit two days earlier for tests to find out why he lost consciousness at home. He was taken to the ICU late Friday night only after it was discovered that he had aspirated while in the hospital.
As for the cancer diagnosis, we had only learned of this less than 24 hours prior. As anyone with a medical background knows, one does not suddenly burst into flames and die the moment one receives a cancer diagnosis. Rather, the process of succumbing can take weeks, months, and even beyond the 1-year mark in some cases. Instead, my father had his health status and old age weaponized against him, deceptively twisted so that he could be falsely and conveniently labeled as an imminently dying patient so the nurses could cover for their illegal actions.
The nurses worked quickly to cover their tracks: they called other family members to falsely claim that my father was "suddenly declining unexpectedly" and I believe they quickly falsified the medical records to make it look like he had undergone "terminal agitation." If he had "terminal agitation" as they said, he would therefore need "terminal sedation!" Therefore, they would have the legal excuse and "clinical indications" to inject a massive overdose of morphine and Haldol into him against his clearly expressed will and while he was vocally and rightfully defending himself and demanding to speak to their supervisor.
This was no accident either: it was clear that the nurses knew what they had done and called my mother immediately after injecting him to report that he was dying, despite the fact that the lethal overdose had not yet taken effect at the time of their call. My father was still fully awake and indeed still demanding to speak to a supervisor! Nor is this speculation: they told me they had called my mother while he was still fully awake.
Before succumbing to the overdose-induced coma from which he never recovered, my father was also able to tell me what the nurses had done to him while I had briefly left the room to get help and even pointed out the nurses who had injected him with the medications.
Later, when my mother and siblings arrived, the nurses continued with the pretense that he had suddenly declined naturally, and set out extra chairs so that everyone could sit at his hospital bed to watch him die. Within a few hours of their lethal overdose, my father succumbed at 4:20 am.
In my distress, I somehow forgot that there was an antidote to opiate overdoses. In my distress, I somehow forgot that I could use my cell phone to call for help, call 911, do something, anything. I also cannot believe that I somehow just didn't recognize earlier the imminent danger these nurses posed to my father when I left his side so very briefly to try to find help. These what-ifs will torture me for the rest of my life.
There really are no words to express how devastating this has been for our family, to know that our dear father and my mother's beloved husband was intentionally pushed over a cliff toward his premature death by callous nurses who violated the standards of care by first repeatedly poking him unsuccessfully with the I.V. needle and refused to get more expert help, and then illegally ignored his rights to refuse the medications he refused and that were definitely contraindicated in his case and forced them on him anyway! The subsequent cover-up is almost even more appalling.
My father's final horrific experience exemplifies what can occur as a consequence of age discrimination, the underlying attitude of indifference to the rights of elderly patients that really is at the root of this unconscionable abuse of trust. These nurses would never have dared to do this to a young patient in the ICU, as they know they never would get away with it. They know such an intentional overdose and subsequent death of a young patient would be immediately investigated by the victim's family and hospital authorities. They know that they would be subject to criminal prosecution and would be convicted!
If, for example, nurses had lethally overdosed an infant patient like this, as a "treatment" to end the infant's incessant crying, or for a child's refusal of medication, we would immediately be morally outraged and recognize such an act as a horrific crime. Yet, how is it that when the victim is an elderly man, suddenly it's not clear what occurred?
Changing the victim's age should not change how we view an intentional lethal assault. It is wrong to consider such abuse a crime if the victim is X years old or younger, but if the victim is over age X? As you can see, this is just gruesomely ludicrous and is the same rationale used by Hitler, the Nazis, and supported by other euthanasia zealots. Such appallingly unethical, discriminatory practices have no place in our society, especially not in a hospital where patients go expecting to be cared for, not intentionally killed.
My father was a brilliant and outstanding human being of impeccable integrity, a Citadel and University of Southern California alum who served our country as a jet fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, went on to become a successful entrepreneur, and was a loyal American citizen who never once failed to display his American flag on Veterans or Independence Day.
He did not deserve to have those into whose hands he placed his trust and his life, fail him like this. He did not deserve to have his life ended in such a barbaric way (nor does anyone), and his death at the hands of the hospital nurses demands a full investigation and those responsible should be held accountable for their criminal misconduct.
Note from Ron Panzer, President, Hospice Patients Alliance:
Our heart goes out to Barbara Page, who has provided this account of what happened to her non-terminal father in a hospital ICU. We should really take note that Barbara has worked as an experienced medical researcher, a state-certified ombudsman, and patient advocate. When it is your own loved one who is being abused or mistreated, it is difficult to act decisively to protect him, to even remember everything you might need to do.
Yes, when any one of us enters a hospital, hospice, nursing facility, or any other healthcare setting, we do trust them to do what is beneficial to us. We do literally place our lives in their "hands!" Yet, what happens if they don't intend to help you? When you trust those providing care, who smile at you and pretend they really understand and are "on your side," what then?
It is hard to know what to do even if you are aware that sometimes they can act with evil intentions. Barbara's account explains how it came to be that even she was unable to prevent the imposed death of her father!
For those not working in health care: when it comes to attempts to insert a needle for an I.V. or to draw blood, for example, many nurses honor the standard that they should give up after three attempts and let someone who is more experienced do so. Sometimes, (before you get to the 3rd attempt), you might try to access a different site where a vein is easier to access, or use a different needle that would be easier to place.
Of course, our own arrogance as healthcare professionals might mislead us to believe that we can do it, and so we keep trying, inflicting agony on a helpless patient. To avoid this, there are standards of care that set the limits and should stop a nurse from doing what Barbara describes above. It is a violation of those standards not to stop! It's common decency to stop! Repeatedly poking a patient with a needle like that is forbidden, especially when there was no medical emergency demanding that it be placed at that time!
Barbara is quite brave to come forward and share the story of what happened to her father. Knowing what others report has happened to their loved ones can help us protect our own loved ones in what has become too frequently a truly hostile-to-life health "care" environment! As Barbara mentions, if the patient is elderly or disabled, they are sometimes treated differently, with fatal results.
And yes, we have spoken to (or read the statements of) nurses and physicians who believe in imposed deaths, assisted-suicide, and euthanasia. There are many of them openly committing these immoral acts in Left-leaning socialist nations that have legalized assisted-suicide or euthanasia of various forms, such as Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France (terminal sedation into death), and others.
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