Thursday, August 6, 2009
7 News Investigations: No Time For Goodbye
His mother was dying and wanted to tell him something before she passed away. Fortunately, Bernard was able to get to the hospice in time. Unfortunately, the security guards would not come open the door and stood outside. They made him wait over 10 minutes. By the time he got to her bedside, she had died. Now as Patrick Fraser tells us, he is upset at the hospital security guards for leaving him with no time for goodbye.
WSVN -- It was Sunday evening. Sandra and Bernard were getting ready to go to sleep when his phone rang.
Bernard LaFrance: "And said, we think you should come, she's really not feeling too good. She's not looking too good."
It was the hospice calling about Bernards mother Eliane, who was suffering from cancer.
Bernard LaFrance: "She had a mass on the right side of her body."
As Bernard got in the car, he had a bad feeling, and as he pulled into the North Shore Medical Center his cell phone rang again.
Bernard LaFrance: "She called me back and said, 'where are you?' I said, 'I'm just parking my car now and I'm coming in, right in.' and she told me, 'OK good, because she's been asking for you.'"
Bernard's mother was fading and wanted to tell him something, so he rushed to the hospital entrance right past two security guards.
Patrick Fraser: "Where were the security guards?"
Bernard LaFrance: "The two guys right outside."
Patrick Fraser: "So you walked by them?
Bernard LaFrance: "I walked by them."
When he got to the hospital entrance an attendant told him only the security guards were allowed to open the door to the hospice, so she paged them again and again.
Sandra LaFrance: "She paged about four times on the intercom and a lot of people heard it."
As Bernard stood waiting to be let in, his cell phone rang again. The nurse telling him 'hurry, your mother really wants to talk to you.'
Bernard LaFrance: "She said 'where are you, what took you so long?' I said, 'I'm down here. Security is not here to open the door yet.'"
Bernard says as he waited to see his mom. He couldn't help but think about the NFL player in Texas blocked by police from going into a hospital to see his dying mother-in-law.
Bernard LaFrance: "I remember not that long ago the guy in Dallas that happened to, I said, 'I couldn't believe that could happen to me.'"
To make sure it didn't happen, He ran outside to find a security guard and says he found the same two he saw on the way in still sitting in the same place.
Patrick Fraser: "So they were 30 feet away."
Bernard LaFrance: "They were right there, talking, talking."
After Bernard ran up to them, they came inside and opened the door Bernard is a nurse when he got to his mothers room he knew he was too late.
Bernard LaFrance: "She came out and said, 'Bernard?' I said 'yes.' She said, 'I'm sorry, you just missed your mother by a minute.'"
Patrick Fraser: "So you missed her by a minute, and you sat down here for 10 minutes?"
Bernard LaFrance: "10 to 15 minutes, 10 or 15."
Bernard sat with his dead mother a few minutes. So many thoughts, so many questions including one he will never get answered.
Patrick Fraser: "You will never know what she wanted to tell you?"
Bernard LaFrance: "I will never know what she wanted to tell me, which is what's really bothering me."
Patrick Fraser: "He then went to ask the security guards why they made him wait so long, but couldn't get a clear answer. So he complained to Vitas hospice, which is located inside North Shore Medical Center. A spokesperson told us Vitas has a good working relationship with this hospital and this is the first incident we have been made aware of. Family members do have 24 hour assess to the hospice."
He also complained to North Shore who sent us this statement saying, we have policies in place and follow established protocols for anyone who visits after hours. We are conducting an internal review to determine whether these protocols may have contributed to a delay in this instance.
But if they are doing a review it hasn't involved Bernard.
Patrick Fraser: "Has the hospital called you at all?"
Bernard LaFrance: "The hospital never called me. They never even returned my call."
Bernard waited two months for the hospital to contact him. He then gave up and called us to make sure this doesn't happen to another person.
Bernard LaFrance: "We're not looking for money, we have not spoken to a lawyer, we don't plan on doing that, we want to get the word out to what occurred in that hospital."
What occurred here left a mother and a son with no time for a goodbye.