Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hospital apologizes for dying mom's care

Family alleges Anne Rostecki, 98, starved to death

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It took three years for Anne Rostecki's family to receive an apology for the treatment their mother got at Seven Oaks General Hospital, but they're still not satisfied.

Rozalynde McKibbin and her family allege their mother, Anne Rostecki, was starved to death after she was admitted to the hospital on July 18, 2009, following a stroke.

"We got an apology. They said they believed everything that we said happened to our mother, that it was backed up by the medical records. They did their own investigation and they're making some recommendations to implement changes," McKibbin told the Free Press. "But I've been checking as far back as 2002 and these incidents have been starting all the way back then. They've been saying they're going to fix it and the beat goes on and nothing changes."

McKibbin and her brother, Randy Rostecki, met Friday with Dr. Brock Wright, vice-president and chief medical officer of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Lori Lamont, WRHA vice-president and chief nursing officer.

Heidi Graham, a spokeswoman for the WRHA, confirmed they met with the Rostecki children and the WRHA has apologized.

McKibbin alleges her mother was deprived of food for 14 days during her 45-day stay at Seven Oaks.

After a piece of food became lodged in the 98-year-old's lungs, Anne Rostecki's medical team believed she couldn't properly swallow, McKibbin says. They were told she would be put on a feeding tube.

But McKibbin believes her mother was not given proper nourishment, saying she watched her mother's weight steadily drop. McKibbin and Randy Rostecki complained and met with the patient-care-team manager. The feeding tube was then inserted.

McKibbin also alleges her mother wasn't given a bath for 36 days, causing a bedsore on her back to putrefy and blacken with gangrene.

A nurse noticed the bedsores six days before Anne Rostecki died and sent a referral sheet for a wound-care specialist. According to McKibbin, the specialist never examined her mother.

After Rostecki's death, her children obtained her medical records and pursued meetings and investigations with the WRHA.

The WRHA completed its own investigation into the death and submitted its findings to Rostecki's family weeks before the meeting Friday.

The investigation was originally going to be done by Seven Oaks, Randy Rostecki said, but after the Rostecki children complained that a report by Seven Oaks might not be objective, a physician from Health Sciences Centre did it. Randy Rostecki said Seven Oaks indicated they would implement the recommendations made in the report.

The recommendations include requiring the health-care team to consult with the patient and the family about the care plan, improving decision-making when considering oral or tube feeding, and focusing nursing care on preventing ulcers, such as bedsores.

"I was very much encouraged by the recommendations by the independent doctor who examined our mother's case," Rostecki said. "I'll qualify that by saying it's encouraging if they go ahead to make changes from the recommendations. As you know, hospitals have a bureaucracy. Bureaucracies tend to not want to change the way they do things, no matter what type of consequences it causes for the patients."

Although Anne Rostecki's children say they are not pursuing legal action, they say they will hold the WRHA accountable for the promises made to them.

"We're watching them. We'll keep watching them until the changes are made," Randy Rostecki said. "We're trying to get people to do the right thing on their own. We don't understand why you have to go to court to do the right thing."

katherine.dow@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 18, 2012 A5

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