Monday, November 19, 2018

Linda Isner: Vote "No" on HR 1676, the Palliative Care and Hospice Training and Education Act

My husband Alan Isner was overdosed on Ativan Morphine and Haldol in a hospice and died when all he needed was anxiety medication. He was not suffering from pain or agitation but was given high doses of these drugs and the medical examiner's report revealed enough Morphine to kill several people. 


The medical records were falsified saying he was admitted with uncontrollable pain and agitation. He was not experiencing any signs of dying until he was placed on these drugs. We were not informed of what drugs would be given, only told he would be, "kept comfortable." They violated his right of informed consent and gave him Haldol after I refused it. He was kept unconscious unable to eat and drink. When I requested his doses be lowered and refused doses, a nurse who I expressed concerns to about over medication, doubled his dose of Morphine without our knowledge according to medical records.
Patients are being denied care and placed in hospice care instead. Members of our group, Murdered By Hospice, witnessed our loved ones die in similar circumstances, even non terminal patients. Many people are coming forward with their stories and this is happening in hospitals and nursing homes as well. If we do not have the right to decide to live as long as possible we don't have any rights at all.
The recent case of the Novus Hospice owner that ordered nurses to overdose patients and they complied, resulted in no murder charges. This case validates what 1000's of others across this country have filed complaints about and to no avail. Patients given overdoses of Morphine Ativan and Haldol without informed consent for no medically justifiable reason-no pain no agitation.
The fraud of illegally enrolling patients who aren't dying, misdiagnosed, records falsifications, malpractices, has caused an innumerable number of deaths. From not being told they must give up all treatment to the one size fits all prescription of the above mentioned drugs this has been going on since at least 1998 as The NY Times reported on Hospice Boom Giving Rise To New Fraud. Since then nothing has been done to ensure patients safety.
Complaints are ignored of violations of informed consent, excessive doses of opioids and antipsychotics, antipsychotics used as chemical restraints, no individual plan of care, denying patients and families right to participate in or refuse the plan of care, patients forced to sign DNRs, refusing to allow regular medications not related to the terminal illness. These are violations of law and the laws are not enforced. No one is held accountable.
Billions of dollars have been stolen from Medicare and just recently the OIG has made recommendations to CMS regarding fraud? What about the lives of the American people?
Because terminal sedation, and the withholding of food and water (now considered a medical treatment) are legal in 50 states, it's not legal when it is done without consent and against someone's knowledge. This is murder.
In 2016 the FDA put black boxes warning of the lethality of combining benzodiapines with opioids. This is the standard of care in hospices. This is unacceptable and is not comfort care. This is not healthcare.
According to the health professionals that filed the petition that led to the FDA action, this information has been long known. Patients and families are not informed of this and when asking hospice personnel if these drugs hasten death they are blatantly lied to. Since this information is now public, hospices can no longer say they don't hasten death. And the public is becoming increasingly aware.
The proposed bill HR 1676 The Palliative Care and Hospice Training and Education Act seeks to spend $441,000,000. of taxpayer money to train more workers in this field and expand it to include the seriously ill at the point of diagnosis. Subjecting more unsuspecting patients and those only in pain to these deadly practices is frightening. And what is the curriculum? That these drugs are safe and do not hasten death? Pain and comfort can be managed without killing the patient and these drug combinations should never be used. To continue to do so is inflicting intentional harm. We oppose this bill and ask that it not be passed.
The money proposed for this bill would be better spent making end of life care safe. Enforcing existing laws to protect all patients, reexamining/investigating all victims families cases, and prosecuting offenders. Victims families have no legal recourse for justice because we can't afford it. These cases are costly and lawyers require huge retainer fees. Complaint agencies and law enforcement refer cases to doctors who read the falsified records and only the offenders defense, ignoring the eye witnesses and medical proof. Some reviewers even admit they don't know the law when violations are pointed out so how can they effectively judge a case? We all get form letters that might as well say justice denied.
We are asking that these practices be stopped and law enforcement, legislators, and complaint agencies do their jobs. Protect the American people and restore the right to live as long as possible and receive appropriate medical care. Your assistance in this most urgent matter is greatly appreciated.
 Linda Isner

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