Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Two Cases Studies Involving Caregivers Reveal Flaws in the System


"The way that society doesn't value these people is reflected in how we have been investigating and prosecuting these cases," said Deputy Prosecutor Page Ulrey.

"There's certainly a higher penalty for possessing a rock of cocaine in this state than for beating up elderly, bedridden grandparents," Ulrey said.

When police found Freddie Watkins rotting in the basement of his Algona home, the smell was overpowering.

The 38-year-old quadriplegic was caked in his own urine and feces. Bedsores covering his body had penetrated to the bone.

As Watkins was rushed to the hospital, officers wondered how he could have come so close to death under the care of his stepdaughter, who was being paid by the state, and his wife.

Nadine Howden wasn't as fortunate.

Newcastle police found the 68-year-old bedridden woman dead in her trash-filled home in November, one foot infested with maggots. She was being cared for by a developmentally disabled daughter and a son. Numerous home visits by public health and adult-protective care workers last year failed to prevent Howden's death.

A civil lawsuit pending in the case accuses the state Department of Social and Health Services and the city of ignoring the risks inherent in sending Freddie home.

Two vulnerable people, two victims of extreme neglect

Read the case history archived here >>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live in Washington state so found this appalling. I recently reported a case of elder abuse in Spokane, Wa. and the case manager got right on it and a court appointed guardian is now in charge and the lady is safe in a very well run nursing home. Rich Dauphin at APS should be commended on this particular case as the family was very difficult to deal with.