Family says Harford Memorial Hospital’s treatment of late father with dementia was ‘grossly incompetent’ | READER COMMENTARY

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This letter regards my father George’s experience at Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace, where he received third-world care and, at times, medieval treatment.

He was a hospice patient with dementia when he was admitted for an X-ray of a possible pelvis fracture. The hospice medications had been successful in managing his agitation and depression, but once at the hospital, a physician inexplicably changed the medication orders.


A short time after admission, it became apparent that the new medications were not working. When my father became agitated, he was tied to the bed with wrist restraints, which naturally exacerbated his agitation. He was ensnared by the hospital’s approach: change his medications, which contributed to agitation, which led to restraints, which contributed to agitation, and the cycle went on. Ending this cycle required an attending physician who was not reachable and very, very slow to respond to messages.

There is more. When we asked the same question of two different people, we often got two different answers. Phone calls were not returned. Hospital staff was often rude. This included the doctor, nurses, case manager, supervisor of case managers and even the hospital’s supervisor.


In short, we found all the employees seemingly determined to prolong our father’s stay, or too incompetent to efficiently and professionally bring it to a conclusion.

We demanded an immediate discharge back to his assisted living where we knew he would be cared for, which we finally achieved after hours and hours of delay. It felt like we were rescuing him.

We found Harford Memorial Hospital to be grossly incompetent. Nurses were downright rude. Doctors were AWOL. The result was that my father suffered unbearably during his stay there. Thankfully, with the help of his assisted living home, we were able to get George discharged before any further damage was done.

George passed away shortly after he was rescued from Harford Memorial and we will forever regret that some of his last days on earth were spent there.

On behalf of the Porter family,

Tom Porter


Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace