A South Florida woman says what was found stuffed inside her husband’s body after a stay at the hospital left her in disbelief. Now, the state has launched an investigation. We want to warn you, the details of this story are unsettling. Karen Hensel has tonight’s 7 Investigates.
Wife: “I’m very protective of him, because he’s taken care of me all my life, and he’s done a great job.”
This woman is talking about her husband of 44 years.
Wife: “He still gives me goosebumps.”
We are only using her voice to protect the 69-year-old man’s identity and dignity, after what she says happened to him at a South Florida hospital.
Wife: “They pulled this out. This is what they pulled out right here.”
This cloth is similar to what the woman says was found inside her husband. Two cloths stuffed inside his rectum were found weeks after he stopped going to the bathroom, and she believes she knows why they were there.
Wife: “To keep him from making bowel movements so they wouldn’t have to go in to change him.”
On Feb. 11, the husband suffered a massive stroke and was rushed to North Shore Medical Center. He spent nearly seven weeks on life support.
Wife: “This is how I found him coming in in the morning sitting in his waste. The yellow stains from his shoulder down. He’s laying in urine.”
She says she would find him sitting in his own waste, so she took her concerns to hospital staff, but then she says he stopped having bowel movements altogether.
Wife: “They found out he had an infection in his body. The doctor didn’t know why. He had to have a blood transfusion, and he also had to have an ice bath because he caught a fever of 104.”
She says the infection turned septic and literally turned his skin darker. That’s when she transferred him to a different hospital, where a nurse’s aide made a shocking discovery.
Wife: “I just call her angel, because if not for her, my husband wouldn’t be here.”
The aide, who was trying to relieve the husband’s constipation, discovered these rolled up rags in the man’s rectum.
Wife: “We are looking at each other stunned because she touches it, and it opens a little. She runs out the room, she gets the nurse, the nurse calls her supervisor. It’s like his room filled up with at least 20 to 30 people, and everybody was in shock.”
And once removed…
Daughter: “Within hours after this was removed and he made a proper bowel movement, once that happened, it is kind of like (breath). His color started getting back to normal, not as dark.”
Wife: “The swelling went down. His vitals became stable.”
The man’s daughter still cries about what happened but has a theory about why.
Karen Hensel: “So you start complaining, and then all of a sudden, he’s no longer using the restroom?”
Daughter: “Yes, he’s no longer dirty when she comes in the morning.”
Karen Hensel: “What does that tell you?”
Daughter: “Oh, I already have my suspicion on exactly what happened.”
Karen Hensel: “So are you saying you think this was retaliation?”
A spokesperson for Steward Health Care, which owns the hospital, said in a statement: “In accordance with HIPAA regulations, North Shore Medical Center is unable to comment on any patient’s specific circumstances.”
While this husband and father is better, his long-term prognosis is unknown, and he will now be cared for at home. The family says all of this is hard to talk about, but they want to warn others.
Wife: “I don’t want this to happen to anybody else. How many people has this happened to? Especially if they’re old.”
After this disturbing discovery, the family called Miami-Dade Police, but two detectives determined it did not meet their criteria for investigation, but 7 Investigates has learned at least one state agency is investigating.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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