2007-10-12 / Community

Man Finds Out About Mother's Death More Than Two Months Later

Son Threatens To Sue Resort Nursing Home, Peninsula Hospital
By Miriam Rosenberg

Huberto Garmon, who says he was not told of his mother's July death until last week, is preparing to sue Resort Nursing Home and, or, Peninsula Hospital Center.

Garmon told NY1 last week that he only found out about his mother's death when he called the nursing home to arrange a visit with her. The 86-year-old nursing home resident died at PHC on July 15.

"Not only did I find out that she passed away, but she passed away two-and-a-half months ago," Garmon explained to NY1.

Garmon last saw his mother three days before she died, when he visited her at the nursing home, and he came away with the belief she that did not have much longer to live.

"I'm thinking that she's at the nursing home. I know they are going to call me, because if they contacted me for an authorization for an operation, they'll contact me if it happens," said Garmon.

Angry about the lapse in time and the runaround he said he was given between the dates his mother died and finding out about it, Garmon is threatening to sue one, or both, of the facilities.

"I was back and forth between the hospital and the nursing home about seven times before they even told me what happened," he said.

According to the NY1 report, Garmon was under the impression his mother was being treated for kidney failure at either the nursing home or the hospital.

Garmon said he had previously been to PHC on July 4.

While visiting his mother, he said he signed a 'do not resuscitate' order to prevent doctors from doing CPR if the need arose.

Because of the HIPAA privacy regulations, Peninsula Hospital Center could not give exact details of the case, but a representative did comment Wednesday about the situation.

"We're obviously looking into everything," said Liz Sulik, of external affairs. "We're reviewing files. It appears protocols and policies were followed.

"We will meet with the family and go over everything in detail."

Sulik also said that, according to their preliminary investigation, the hospital did try to reach the son using contact numbers provided to them by the nursing home.

"We made attempts given the information she [the patient] came in with," continued Sulik.

"We certainly notified the nursing home and the attending physicians."

According to last week's NY1 report, the nursing home did try to reach the son, but the phone numbers he had given them were "not working." In addition, an unnamed official at the home said it was the hospital's responsibility to contact the family.

Resort Nursing Home is located on Beach 68 Street. The Wave attempted to speak with Barry Geier, the home's administrator, to obtain further information. On Wednesday, Geier, through a staff member, said he had no comment on the issue.

While both institutions say there were problems with the contact numbers they had, Garmon insists they had the correct information.

Garmon's mother was buried in a cemetery for unclaimed remains. In addition to the threat of a lawsuit, he wants to reclaim her body and give her a proper burial.

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