Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lawsuit Questions Procedures for Dying Patients

Palo Alto News - A lawsuit alleging that Stanford University Hospital transferred a terminally ill 80-year-old patient without his family's knowledge and then "lost" the body for a time is scheduled to return to court Jan. 17.

The case stems from a Christmas Eve, 2005, incident in which The family of a Peter Williams Allen -- a Palo Alto resident who was near death from a congestive heart condition, kidney failure, a stroke and an infection -- left the hospital Dec. 23 believing Allen would remain in a room with his belongings at least through Christmas Eve.

Instead, the suit alleges that a physician within an hour had him transferred to an "end-of-life" unit in the hospital, without his belongings. His arms were restrained, leaving him unable to use his hands -- his only post-stroke way of communicating, the suit alleges. He suffered a stroke while in the hospital that left him unable to speak.

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