Salinas, CA asked in Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death for California

Q: Is the hospital responsible for informing next of kin about a family member that is dying while in there care?

Uncle admitted to hospital 12/11/18, then dies of kidney failure on 12/20/18, County Coroner calls us on 1/08/19 and tells us the report from hospital reads "No Family". Our family has been trusting this hospital for over 50 years, his sister died there 6 months ago which is how the coroner found our family contact info. My deceased uncles sister, my mother, along with his great nephews and nieces, are all in great pain and are all in agreement that we do not want any other family to have to find out there beloved family member died all alone because of discrimination. I believe that some staff member assumed he was homeless because he was traveling around big sur, We also found out he was the victom of an armed robbery two days before he was hospitalized.

1 Lawyer Answer

William John Light

Answered
  • Medical Malpractice Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm unaware of any statutory duty of the hospital to notify next of kin. Further, it appears that your uncle may have asked for no notification based on the "No Family" designation. Finally, the Coroner’s Office has the responsibility of notifying next of kin. https://sites.google.com/site/californiadeathinvestigation/Home/investigation-of-reported-deaths/coroner-operating-policies-and-procedure

Paragraph 14, D, 3 c.

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