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Josphine Rigelsky
Livonia, Michigan

Woman Dies Mysteriously - Hospital Withholds Records While Regulators Ignore Family's Pleas (as told by her daughter Maryjo Highland, San Diego)

Few people become passionately concerned about health care (or the lack of it) until it personally affects their life or the lives of their loved ones. I recently lost my mother and my dad lost his lifelong partner in July of this year. She was a healthy, vibrant, loving person who was always available to help others in their time of need.

My mother had been suffering from a lack of energy and weight loss over a three week period. Her family doctor diagnosed a virus and referred my mother to the emergency room. There a doctor checked my mothers lungs and found them to be full of fluid. This was where my mother's nightmare began.

She was taken down to the basement of the hospital for a CT scan. There she was left on a gurney for three and a half hours, wearing just a nightgown. This experience obviously exasperated her condition. She was placed on a cardiac unit where there was only one registered nurse for 14 patients, each of whom seemed to be acutely ill.

My mother eventually died in the hospital of a cardiac arrest, although an autopsy showed possible cancer. Throughout the stay we were appalled by lack of information, appropriate equipment, and inadequate staff.

The care people are receiving in hospitals is criminal at best. The hospitals continue to be more concerned about the bottom line profit than the caring for human lives. No one seems interested in the actual people who are receiving the care.

The entire time my mother was hospitalized I was with her from morning until night and she still received poor care. What happens to the people who do not have loved ones with them? The complaints from the professionals working in the hospital were many. They all seemed to feel overworked and understaffed due to cutbacks. It certainly did not make you feel confident. My mother deserved better, and your loved ones deserve better.

After waiting 2 months for the hospital to release the records to our family, I filed a complaint with state regulators. A man called asking me to rewrite the complaint, then talked about the thousands of complaints that come in regularly. Other professions are closely monitored and are very responsive should a complaint be filed. And these aren't industries that deal with life and death.

The system right now does not work. The foxes basically are guarding the chicken coop.