Woman Ordered to Give Up Hospital Bed

Special to The Times

The 14-month stalemate between Kaiser Permanente and an elderly Marin County woman who refused to leave her hospital bed appears to be over.

Probate Commissioner Harvey Goldfine appointed a temporary conservator Tuesday to handle the affairs of Sarah Nome, 82, who ran up a $1.3-million bill while at Kaiser’s San Rafael Medical Center.

Goldfine’s decision means the county’s public guardian will oversee Nome’s living arrangements.


Kaiser has found a bed at a Lafayette nursing home across the bay for Nome, according to Dorothy Jones, chief deputy county counsel.

“There is no other alternative,” Goldfine said. “Everyone agrees Sarah Nome does need assistance.”

Nome can’t walk but has admitted that she needs a rest home, not a hospital. She has refused to leave Kaiser, however, saying there are no rest homes nearby.

Nome, talking via a speaker phone to the judge Tuesday, said she believed she could handle her own affairs, and if a conservator was necessary, preferred that it be her daughter, Janie Sands of Brisbane.

But when Goldfine asked if her daughter or any of Nome’s friends in the courtroom would agree to take care of her in their homes, no one responded.

Peter Flaxman, a Kaiser attorney, said Nome faced eviction from the hospital after another court hearing Friday.

“She’s essentially holding the hospital bed hostage and playing a game of chicken. The time is up,” Flaxman said.