Strangers granted end-of-life decisions at HCMC leaving family perplexed

A family’s grief at losing their father is compounded this week by their belief that Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) let a stranger make end-of-life decisions.

Six days after his death, they finally started getting answers today after a FOX 9 crew showed up at the hospital.

Mark Hatcher’s brother Daryl Hatcher was listed as his next of kin and point of contact. But Darryl Hatcher never heard from the hospital until Sunday.

Instead, the family believes the hospital asked Darryl Moore to make decisions.

Mark Hatcher was closing in on his 65th birthday when he suffered seizures at the Parker Skyview public housing assisted living facility.

He passed away last Thursday, but his family didn’t find out until Sunday.

"When he was brain dead, that’s when we should’ve been contacted to say ‘Hey, do you want to keep him on the ventilation system? Can you make it here?’" said Hatcher’s daughter Jennifer Wick.

She came from Milwaukee right away, but too late to say goodbye, and she wants to know why.

"They took our final moments from us," she said. "They took him being surrounded by his loved ones, his family, his children."

She says her confusion only grew when hospital employees told her someone named Darryl Moore was there making decisions for her father.

Wick doesn’t know Darryl Moore and neither does Darryl Hatcher, her uncle who was listed as a family contact.

"They made the mistake of saying the other guy was my uncle," Wick said. "They tried to convince my uncle that he was actually indeed here."

For the next three days, she couldn’t get her father’s medical records. She went in person trying to figure out how to get them.

"And how some random person was able to make end of life decisions for my father," she told a hospital employee.

A few hours later, Wick walked out of the hospital without all the answers she wanted, but with a bag of her father’s things.

"After they knew you were here, that’s when I finally got a meeting," she said. "I was finally able to identify my father’s body, get the belongings they said they didn’t have."

HCMC also promised to give Wick her father’s medical records.

FOX 9 has been in contact with HCMC officials about this story for a couple days, but so far has not gotten any explanations either.

Officials cited privacy concerns and said they generally use the contact information they have available.