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Hospital Tries to Nix Power of Attorney After Daughter Seeks More Care for Her Mom

Posted Nov 9, 2010 10:13 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An adult daughter who holds a power of attorney to make medical decisions for her 86-year-old mother says Dolores Bedin, who is suffering from inoperable pancreatic cancer, isn't strong enough to go home.

But Northwestern Memorial Hospital disagrees. In an effort to get Bedin discharged, the medical center has asked a court in Winnebago County, Ill., where Bedin lives, to intervene and revoke the power of attorney. It argues in a court filing that her daughter isn't acting in Bedin's best interest by preventing the elderly woman from moving to a lower level of care and seeks the appointment of a public guardian, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Because Bedin's care isn't considered medically necessary, Medicare has refused to reimburse Northwestern for her current care.

Bedin's daughter, Janet, says her mom doesn't want to go home and argues that Northwestern should offer special consideration because, she contends, the family wasn't promptly notified when a test showed a suspicious mass that turned out to be the cancer. The situation has an added level of complexity because her mother also is responsible for overseeing the care of a physically and mentally disabled son. The daughter must now deal with his care while simultaneously working a national retail merchandising job that requires travel, the newspaper explains.

"Having to advocate on behalf of our patients in the courts is rare, and it is only done after careful thought and team consultations," says hospital spokeswoman Kris Lathan.

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