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I Tried to Advocate for My Sick Husband and I Was Ignored

Dorothy V., Suwannee County

Dorothy and her husband were married for 55 years and raised 10 children. When he became ill, her attempts to advocate for him were ignored. Now she is left alone and still upset about the way his care was handled.

In September 2017, her husband was admitted to Lake Shore Medical Center in Lake City—an HCA operated hospital. While there, he was suddenly taken off his diuretic medication without explanation, and his body began to swell as a result. Dorothy requested that he be moved to Shands hospital in Gainesville where his kidney doctor and most of his care team are located. She had already made arrangements with his doctors at Shands, but Lake Shore insisted that Shands wouldn’t accept him.

After a week without his diuretic medication, her husband was moved to Ocala Medical Center, another HCA operated hospital, 4 hours away from Dorothy. She found out he had been moved before she could intervene. When he arrived, a port was installed in his chest and he was put on dialysis.

Dorothy’s husband later came home, and his vein doctor at Shands had the port moved from his chest to his arm. He then started dialysis at home, with Dorothy and their son managing his care.

In July 2020, her husband’s health deteriorated, and he was in grave condition. Dorothy and one of her children transported him to Shands hospital in Gainesville where he passed away.

Dorothy remains troubled that she was not kept informed about the change in her husband’s diuretic medication, which had been working well as far as she knew. Equally troubling is that her request to have her husband transferred to Shands hospital went ignored. Instead, he was moved without her knowledge from one HCA hospital (Lake City) to another (Ocala), just to keep him in the same hospital system.

“It’s really hard to see someone you love so much deteriorate in front of your eyes,” Dorothy said, “especially when they were doing well on the medication and were taken off without any explanation.”


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