Family concerned about end of life hospital care after 36-year-old relative passes away

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:12 PM CST
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Shilo Endersbe has been watching her dad battle lung cancer since January of this year. Last night, he passed away at Altru Hospital.

She says his blood pressure fell after the doctor refused to start him on another blood pressure medication. She also says that her father was misdiagnosed and moved from the I.C.U. to a rehab facility too early.

This whole time, her father, who was only 36-years-old, was incapacitated and could not make any decisions for himself.

The Endersbe family claims Altru Hospital did not care for him as attentively as he should have been. She explains the level of neglect they say they witnessed before his death: “He had a sore on his tailbone down to the bone. There are days when we have to be like, ‘can you guys brush his teeth?’ It’s disgusting.”

Shilo says part of the problem lies within staffing levels at the hospital. Altru did not comment on the status of this location’s staffing.

We asked Altru their policies about end of life care and do not resuscitate procedures when a patient cannot make the decision themselves. This is the statement Kenneth Harvey, Communications Strategist gave us:

While we can’t speak to specific patient situations, we can share that Altru always involves patients and/or their legal guardians in decisions related to their care, including end of life care. If after a substantial amount of time, a patient and/or guardian refuses to cease what has been determined as non-beneficial treatment for a patient, the provider can take steps to forgo treatment with the intent to minimize suffering and indignity for the patient. There is a policy and formal process for providers to follow in these rare cases, including gaining the opinion of a second provider and review and approval from Altru’s ethics committee. This is only done in cases where suffering and loss of dignity are clear and determined to be irreversible.”