Tuesday, February 20, 2024

West Springfield man sues Baystate Health for ‘civil rights violations’ over wife’s ongoing hospitalization

By Namu Sampath 

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Charles Mokrzecki, 77, and his wife Frances, of West Springfield, have been married for over 60 years.

Last July, Frances tripped and fell at the couple’s home, fracturing her hip. In the months that followed, Charles Mokrzecki claims Baystate Health, Frances’ medical care provider, blocked his ability to visit his wife and “violated their civil rights.”

The claim is detailed in a lawsuit filed Jan. 22 in Hampden County Superior Court.

Mokrzecki also alleges the hospital did not confer with him about medical procedures performed on his wife, including a surgery, and that the hospital “initiated a guardianship/conservatorship action through its staff in probate court, despite Mokrzecki’s role as his wife’s healthcare proxy, the lawsuit said.

A spokesperson for Baystate Health said the hospital does not comment on pending litigation.

Mokrzecki’s attorney, William Pudlo of Longmeadow, said Friday his client is waiting to hear whether the court will grant an injunction in the case.

Mokrzecki claims Baystate Health now prevents him from visiting his wife, “alleging ‘safety’ as the basis of their actions,” the lawsuit said.

Mokrzecki is requesting the court order Baystate Health to allow him to schedule in-person visits to see his wife while she is at the hospital. He wants the hospital to provide him with updates on his wife’s condition and that he be told about any plans to move her to a nursing facility.

The complaint seeks jury trial.

Lawsuit’s claims

When Mokrzecki first took his wife to the hospital for the fractured hip, he said he informed emergency room staff that she was in the early stages of dementia. He asked for an x-ray of her injury.

Mokrzecki claims in his lawsuit the hospital did not take an x-ray or perform any further examinations on his wife for four hours, as his wife “became increasingly agitated.” So the couple left.

A few days after her fall, Mokrzecki said his wife was unable to walk, due to her injuries, and was taken by ambulance to Baystate Health again. She was kept there for over a month, until Aug. 16. She was then taken to a skilled nursing facility, Quaboag Rehabilitation, where, during a visit, Mokrzecki claims he was informed for the first time that his wife had fallen during her stay.

In September, Frances was returned to Baystate Health to be treated for pneumonia. At some point during that month, Mokrzecki claims he was informed that his wife had undergone a surgical procedure. The suit says he had not been “consulted or advised of the actions at Baystate Hospital, her transfer to Quaboag, or the surgery she underwent” despite being her healthcare proxy — the person in charge of her medical-related needs.

The following month, Mokrzecki claims Baystate Health started the process of gaining guardianship over his wife without his knowledge or approval.

Mokrzecki had been visiting his wife almost daily during her hospitalizations, he said in the lawsuit.

Mokrzecki claims he lacks access to a computer and for that reason did not participate in a court-ordered online Zoom meeting regarding the guardianship issue. The hospital was “allowed to move forward” on the guardianship, the lawsuit states.

Mokrzecki claims he did not receive a copy of court paperwork that would have allowed him to object to the guardianship.

Despite this, Mokrzecki continued to visit his wife until Christmas Eve, where he grew more concerned about her care, the lawsuit said.

“(Frances) was restrained in her bed with a strap across her midsection and restraints on her wrists,” the lawsuit said. “On several occasions, (Mokrzecki) found that his wife’s meals were left in her room in a place she could not access due to her restraints.”

As a result, Mokrzecki believed his wife’s health was declining.

On Dec. 24., Mokrzecki went to visit his wife, the lawsuit claims. “She was still restrained, and her food was across the room — cold — and no staff had attempted to feed her,” the complaint states.

That led to a verbal outburst by Mokrzecki, the lawsuit says.

Upon returning home, Mokrzecki said he was visited by the West Springfield police. Two days later, at his next hospital visit, Mokrzecki said Baystate Health served him with a no-trespass order, which he says he has not violated.

Mokrzecki claims that in ordering him to stay away from the hospital, Baystate Health “deprived him companionship and his ability to be with (his wife) in (a) time of emotional need and inflicted emotional distress.”

Full Article & Source:
West Springfield man sues Baystate Health for ‘civil rights violations’ over wife’s ongoing hospitalization

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