Elderly New Jersey woman on oxygen dies after power company cuts electric

From the NY Times;

(continued in first comment below)

Comments (43)

Someone at the Power Company wasn't doing their job. However, I don't understand the family in the house with her listening to her gasping for breath for hours on Thursday as they indicated. The first thing I would have done for my family member was call an ambulance and forget ordering a portable oxygen tank in that excessive heat but would have had her transported to the hospital come hell or high water.
Mistakes are made and people fall through cracks.. this leaves me wondering where social services are and how an elderly woman an oxygen is in those arrears., Is this the fault of the US welfare system more than the electricity company?
@Just I think she was gasping for breath even though they had called the company and paramedics.

More of a summary to her final hours which is sad. Because it should never of happened.

I wouldn't be surprised if the family sued.
Great, JN. That ought to teach her not to become old, and to mind her debts to the moneygrubbing big bad corporations.
Jfk - They called 911. I'm not sure who's decision it actually was to send a portable oxygen tank
or what was said to them in their stage of panic, or what other options were available. dunno
Since the electric bill was behind in payments, I'm guessing they weren't wealthy, nor had a surplus
of money.
Over here ambulances are extremely expensive. I'm not saying that was considered or not.
But, I knew my mom got billed an enormous amount for the ride she once received and absolutely
refused a second ride years later. scold
Thanks Rachie, I think we are both interpreting what was written in the article differently.

Based upon this sentence in the article it appears that they only requested the portable oxygen tank and not transport,........ " The family also called 911 to have paramedics bring a portable oxygen tank so Ms. Daniels could breathe. Even with the aid of the portable tank, Ms. Daniels’s health continued to decline and she died shortly before 4:00 pm." Of course, sometimes articles don't cover everything that happens so there may be additional information to explain that they did request transport.
V - That's what we have to look forward to. This will become more common with Trump in power. There's going to be significant cuts in Medicare, Social Security and insurance coverage to make up for the Trump tax cuts for the top 1%. A lot more elderly are going to be financially burdened, and moreso especially as their health is compromised.

It is so true that ambulance rides cost quite a bit. It wouldn't have been a consideration for me although I'm not rich. However, we all have our own decisions to make as to how we would react when a family member is in need and I know I would have ordered the ambulance ride to the hospital regardless. In a life threatening situation I would assume that if the lady were below the poverty level perhaps welfare would have paid for the transport but I can't say for sure.
R - my guess, is that the family will eventually sue. This only happened last Thursday.
However, as I'm sure you know, a lawsuit does not bring a loved one back to life. sigh
JN, many druthers concerning all my progressive friends. Topping the list would be more of a sense of humor. Will sorely be needed with The excellent Judge K on board, the cognitively challenged Justice Kagan leaving soon for the extended care facility, and the wipeout in the House and Senate come November, no?
Only time will tell V.
Yes, JN. And to show what a large fella I be, I actually like having balance in both houses, and while I often disagree with Justices Kagan, Sonyomayor (sp?) and Ginsburg, I'm really glad to have them there for their viewpoints and dissents. Same in the house and senate. Governorships too.
Balance is a better thing. thumbs up I am for honesty & integrity. Balance is a better check upon that.
We currently have the most dishonest white house & house of representatives, that I've ever seen. thumbs down
@Just I think so, I just don't see a family asking for the oxygen at that point and pleading with them to turn on the electric if it was at the point she could no longer breathe. I think perhaps an ambulance would of being more apt. But like Jim said it's expensive and she was behind in payments.

I don't think sueing will bring back the lady. But it may ensure it contributes to it possibly preventing it happening again.

I don't know how long it also takes to put the electric back on. But they state the company was aware, so it should of never being switched off.
Hi Jim, sad story indeed my mother is on oxygen machine for 8 hours at night when she sleeps. When we had the hurricane that came through here last year I got her two manual tanks just for when if the power goes off and it did. Just thankful she doesn't have to depend on the machine to live but does need.

Thanks for sharing this story, makes me think. thumbs up
What if a natural disaster cut off the electricity?
When someone in your family is on an oxygen mask, powered by electricity you have to be prepared to act in a situation like that...
I had one of those medical oxygen suitcases for people with breathing problems...they are not expensive and can save lives...
Just saying...
A person with such condition should not have been left to live alone...first of all...
Where i am they just started adding a fee to the hydro bill that everyone pays . It will supposedly pay peoples hydro bills who cannot afford them, many are upset with this fee, but i am not. Hopefully incidents like those described in the post will not happen here because of this fee.
R - that's definitely the bottom line.

W - sorry to hear about your mom's challenges. That's good that you have that back-up system. Hopefully, more people will become aware of it.

P - I believe the woman was on Hospice. So, someone within that organization should have been more aware of her situation & needs.

M - unfortunately, here in the USA, more people seem reluctant to provide for others that way. However, I would not be surprised, if we are already being charged such a fee hidden in our bills.
wow...yeah for one f the cost of an ambulance ride...the woman should have been in the hospital then until things got straightened out....whoever was looking after her welfare certainly didn't do a very good job if her bills were allowed to pile up like that...given that she was in hospice it leads me to believe she had been sick for quite sometime....in saying that her power should have never been shut off to begin with or take so long to turn back on when advised of the situation.....wave
M - Certainly things could have been done much better on a few ends.
People get so focused on their own lives, they tend to do a shabby job when it comes to others in need.
Does hospice mean- go home and die?

Here, hospice is like a special hospital where terminal cancer patients etc go to die.

I think America is very stubborn in some ways, they refuse to see other countries have actually solved a problem already (like gun laws for example), and wish to reinvent the wheel at every step. I'm guessing they'll be in 20 years time, where we were about 20 years ago, and be wanting to claim it was their idea first. Bless their cotton socks.
Here hospice serves that role, but it also cares for people who are not cancer patients.
They are wonderful.
Don't shoot me for asking......hole
but by any chance could it all be a well put together scam?
sacrificed mom to kick the plot into action sad flower

Obviously there's a shortage of money otherwise they would of made sure her electricity was in no danger of ever being cut.. but lets say PRETEND/INSIST the company were told and notified but still turned it off due to human error/negligence big fat law sue with a big fat massive pay out a head.

Was the mother dying anyway?
how close was she to her death bed?
Obviously she had nothing to leave her possibly struggling family (as in money) so maybe mother herself plotted it telling/leaving them to see it through (after she was gone) with their acting skills.

Perhaps a little far fetched, but I've seen desperate people do many a desperate thing...
I have also seen the great lengths some mothers go to, to make sure their loved ones are set up for life...more so, when she knows she won't be around for them.

I won't say JMO but I will say (right or wrong) it is but a thought hmmm
I - Anything is possible, I suppose. Perhaps you can take over the reins from Angela Lansbury - Murder Itchy wrote. wine
LOL Jim and point taken, perhaps I do watch too much murder mysteries uh oh detective

On a more serious note, back to your blog nerd

I myself think the family acted irresponsibly and because a life was lost as a consequence, then so be it ... why should anyone else have to pay for their stupidity.

In my opinion if the electric company was not supposed to turn the electric off, and they did anyway,
then they should have to pay....big time. However, the family should have had some back-up plan also,
as a storm could take out the electric for a period of time. I think it was the unusually high temperatures
in combination with the electric being shut off, that did her in.
However, the butler may have done it in the library with a pillow. scold peace
Not only that but the obvious....they left her to gasp for air all day when they could have taken her to one of their homes instead where there was power....if they were from out of town...surely one had a motel room.....confused
I never thought of thought of the and good thinking M4 handshake
They could of knocked on a friendly neighbours door.
doh I never thought of that ....

My key pads gone mad uh oh
If there was actually a overdue amount then why didn't the family seek some kind of help from some agency who may have helped or took MS Daniels into their home?

I know there are agencies who will help when someone has problems paying a bill.Sometimes utility companies have programs of their own.
I didn't at first either itchy...and then it kinda just hit me...who does that?.....wave
That" as in remain there and do nothing but wait, no one would... not just good thinking but a realistic one too.. M4 handshake

Yeah I thought about doing just that...standing by and watching as someone gasped like that all afternoon while waiting for the power to kick back on.....right....confused
If you read the words in the article, it never says, that anyone stood around and watched her gasp for breath for hours. while doing nothing.
The article states that they called the power company many time. called 911 and paramedics brought
a portable oxygen tank. DESPITE the oxygen tank her health declined and she died at about 4 pm.
We don't know the time gap between when the daughter arrived and when the oxygen arrived
and the gap between when the oxygen arrived and 4 pm. or what was said on the 911 call, or what was
told to the daughter when the paramedics arrived.

It's a bit early to point fingers as to who is at fault and how much fault should be partitioned to each individual. Certainly, mistakes were made and a woman died.
Unless one has experience and/or health practitioner experience, one usually relies on those who do for
advice in emergency situations.
Im going by this....

Family members of the woman, Linda Daniels, said she gasped for air for hours on Thursday until she died of congestive heart failure. The company, Public Service Electric and Gas Company, had cut off power to her home that morning because of overdue bills.

Don't you think her breathing was a little more important than calling the company several times to get the power turned back on?...it wouldn't have been so urgent had they removed her to a safe place....and im assuming family members were there since they knew she was gasping for breath for hours....wine
Perhaps they called 911 first ?? and while waiting for the oxygen to arrive, then called the power company several times while waiting for the oxygen to arrive. It apparently did not make a difference. The heat and
the lack of oxygen may have combined to weaken her beyond a point of return.

Again, the timing of it all, may have been critical. We don't know enough to make judgements.
jarred1: "i am crazy"(meet us in the quizzes)

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