06/18/2012 05:41 EDT | Updated 08/18/2012 05:12 EDT

Anne Rostecki Death At Seven Oaks General Hospital

WINNIPEG - The family of a 98-year-old woman who died three years ago after being admitted to hospital following a stroke says it has received an apology.

The children of Anne Rostecki allege she starved to death after she was taken to Seven Oaks General Hospital in July 2009.

Rozalynde McKibbin says the hospital acknowledges that medical records back up what happened to her mother.

She says the hospital also says it did an investigation and will make recommendations to implement changes.

A spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority confirms the health region has apologized.

McKibbin says she's done research going back 10 years that suggests there have been similar problems and nothing has been done.

"They've been saying they're going to fix it and the beat goes on and nothing changes," she told the Winnipeg Free Press.

Spokeswoman Heidi Graham said McKibbin and her brother, Randy Rostecki, met Friday with health authority officials.

McKibbin alleges her mother was deprived of food for 14 days during her 45-day stay at Seven Oaks. After a piece of food became lodged in the woman's lungs, Rostecki's medical team believed she couldn't properly swallow, McKibbin says. The family was told she would be put on a feeding tube.

McKibbin says she watched her mother's weight steadily drop and believes she wasn't given proper nourishment. She says it wasn't until she and her brother complained and met with a care-team manager that a feeding tube was inserted.

McKibbin also alleges her mother wasn't given a bath for 36 days, which caused a bed sore on her back to putrefy and blacken with gangrene.

A nurse noticed the bed sores six days before Anne Rostecki died and sent a referral sheet for a wound-care specialist. According to McKibbin, the specialist never examined her mother.

Rostecki's children obtained her medical records after her death and pursued meetings and investigations with the health authority, which completed its own investigation and submitted its findings to the family weeks before the meeting Friday.

Recommendations include requiring a health-care providers to consult with a patient and the family about care, improving decision-making when considering oral or tube feeding and focusing nursing care on preventing bedsores.

"I was very much encouraged by the recommendations by the independent doctor who examined our mother's case," Randy Rostecki said. "I'll qualify that by saying it's encouraging if they go ahead to make changes from the recommendations.

"As you know, hospitals have a bureaucracy. Bureaucracies tend to not want to change the way they do things, no matter what type of consequences it causes for the patients."

The children say they are not pursuing legal action, but they plan to hold the health region accountable for the promises made to them.

"We're watching them. We'll keep watching them until the changes are made," Rostecki said.

(Winnipeg Free Press)