While combing through mom’s old computer hard drive in the middle of March, 2013, I found a folder of letters mom had written after her mother — my maternal grandmother — died. “Nana Anna” died on May 4th, 2007 and it just completely devastated mom. It’s a cruel fact that mom died under very similar circumstances, and it’s even harder now for me to read how she was fighting for justice for her mother just as I am for her.

She wrote this letter to a Dr. Zimmerman of the Hospice of Volusia / Flagler on July 25, 2007:


Dear Dr. Zimmerman,

My name is Kathie Gagne. My mother, Anne Albanese, passed away at the Hospice of Volusia/Flagler Care Center on May 4th.

To refresh your memory, my mother was dropped on April 26th at 10:30 p.m. at the Indigo Manner Skilled Nursing Center. The staff stated that they had lowered her gently to the floor. They did not contact a doctor until the following Saturday morning, a period of approximately 36 hours during which my mother was in acute pain and crying for hlp.

Dr. Hatten, the orthopaedic surgeon who performed the necessary surgery was appalled. He stated to my brother and myself that there was no way my mother could have sustained those injuries if she had been lowered to the floor. He based his assessment on X-rays which clearly showed my mother’s right femur overlapping by at least 2.5 inches. Dr. Hatten also stated that my mother’s bone density was excellent.

My mother had arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease; however, the attending intensive care physician stated to myself, my brother, Jolie (Hospice), Tricia (Hospice), and a Halifax Hospital staff case worker, that my mother could have had 2 – 4 more years if she had not had to undergo major surgery.

I had a small Life Insurance policy on my mother, and now, even though the medical examiner clearly stated on her death certificate that my mother died as the result of an accident, the insurance company (Colonial Penn) continues to refuse to pay the full amount of the policy.

I’m providing you with this background due to the length of time since my mother died in order to refresh your memory, especially regarding a short conversation we had in the hall during which you advised me that you had not actually seen my mother. She was only there from around 9:00 p.m , May 3rd to around 4:00 p.m , May 4th.

What I am requesting from you is a simple letter stating that you did not observe my mother during the time that she was at the Hospice Care Center. She was there only overnight.

If you can, please send the letter to me at the above address so that I can forward it to the insurance company.

Thank you in advance,

Kathleen A. Gagne