LA PORTE, Texas A family was stunned to learn that their father had been dead and buried for a month after they recently paid a visit to the La Porte Healthcare Center where he was staying.

I said, I m here to see my father, George Howard, Georgia Robinson said in an interview with KHOU 11 News. She (the nurse) said George Howard passed over a month ago. At that point I just fell against the wall and went to screaming.

Howard was in the Harris County guardianship program due to mental illness. Officials with the program knew Howard had passed away, but did not notify the family.

Robinson said the program should have extended the courtesy of notifying them.

To not allow his family to be a part of it (the burial), she said. I don t care if they gave him a standing ovation funeral, that s not their job.

Officials with Protective Services said that, by law, they do not have to tell anyone when a patient dies, but that they always try to reach out to families.

In this case, they said that there were no family contacts in his file.

If that is a policy or procedure that guardianship does not have to contact the family, it needs to be changed, Robinson said.

There are 1,400 patients in the county s guardianship program.

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