Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dr. Fernandez Dies : Stress took Ultimate Toll on Senior

Sadly this story is being repeated way too many times only the names change , the story of abuse remains the same.

Dr. A.J. Fernandez loved Clara, whom he met in Cuba on 1945 and married her a year later in Boston , Ma. Clara first caught his eye when he rode by on a bicycle and later they would meet again at the bank where Clara's father was the administrator and A.J. stopped by to get a loan to pay for his tuition for medical school , Clara recalls, "he was really cute, shy and had beautiful blues eyes..

"What Dr. Fernandez didn't know when he met Clara was that in the Golden Years of his life they would be separated by a greedy relative and that they both would become victims in a tenacious scam orchestrated from Winter Haven, Florida and that the same Law Enforcement Agencies, the The Sheriff's Office , State Attorneys Office that showered him with plaques, honors just a few years earlier would now turn a deaf ear when Dr. A.J. Fernandez asked for their help in seeking his wife Clara's return.

"Some children try to acquire their parents' money before they die and beat their siblings to it," said Yvonne Zardani, secretary of the Queensland branch of the Australian Pensioners and Superannaunts League. "They use their parents to get everything they can get." Sons and daughters take money, promising to care for their parents and then abandon them.

Dr. A.J. Fernandez would endure the final year of his life under crippling stress, siting on the edge of his chair, staring at the front door , wondering why his wife had be taken from his side , his family believes contributed to the deterioration in his health and led to his death three days after Judge Richard Payne, ascertained in a 'Motion to Determine Residency' that Clara's place was by her husband in their home in Key West Florida.

It's not the total amount alleged to have been taken out of Clara's Trust or the Real Estate properties and Jewelry that disappeared that makes this case stand out. It's the impact on the victims.

It started on August 21st in 2004 , when Clara's oldest son, Adalbertol(Al) Fernandez , Jr. a social worker , and another man William(Bill) A. Hart came up with the idea to take the ailing elder who had been diagnosed with Dementia, High blood Pressure, Osteoporosis , and was taking medications for Alzheimer's to Winter Haven, Florida.

Under unbearable anxiety....Dr. Fernandez encountered health problems and refused to eat until he saw his wife, and had to be given steroids shots, in order to induce him to eat and keep him alive.

He started coping with bouts of depression and had to be hospitalized several times for dehydration, depression, and anxiety . After a year of anxiety-driven sickness, Dr. Fernandez 's condition worsened after traveling 10 hours to Winter Haven, and being denied the chance to see his wife.

Dr. Fernandez's family who had been caring for Dr. Fernandez and his wife Clara had never heard of elder Abuse before and started calling local police agencies and the Florida Division of Children and Families, (DCF) which according to Florida law, requires DCF to make a reasonable attempt to keep families together, unfortunately visits by adult-protective care workers during 2004, in Winter Haven , Florida failed to prevent Clara's over medication and subsequent falls and incapacitation.

The unwillingness of the authorities to enforce Florida Statue 415.102 and defines "Exploitation" means a person who stands in a position of trust and confidence with a disabled adult or elderly person, and knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use the funds, assets, or property of the elderly or disabled person for the benefit of someone other than the victim.
This led his family to start ElderAbuseHelp.Com and ElderAbuseHelp.Org in the hope that other elders, their families, or perhaps yourself, can be spared the incredible suffering and devastation of elder abuse.

It has been very costly for Clara Fernandez to get back to back to Key West, where she wanted to be , near her friends, family and husband. Clara is still suffering from the legal trauma in progress, with the legal delays .

During the time that Clara was in Winter Haven, Florida Clara was heavily over medicated and forced to turn over all the assets that her attorneys had set up in her 'Trust ' to take care of her and her husband during their old age.

There is No Police Elder Abuse Unit or Prosecutors that specialize in elder abuse to turn to for help in Florida , as in other states and Clara's expenses continue to climb.

Dr. Fernandez and Clara's case as reported to the authorities is not being prosecuted because police and prosecuting attorneys historically have view them as civil matters, and according to CAtherine c McNamee of the National Institute of Justice, "Police officers are rarely trained to investigate elder abuse and thus may not know how to interview an older adult, work with a person who has dementia, collect forensic evidence, or recommend that criminal charges be brought when responding to reports".

"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.

The Fernandez's family believes fighting through the pain is worth the heartbreak if other elderly people can be warned about scam artists hounding society's most vulnerable citizens.

Your help is needed to persuade legislators to do something about this problem. Please share this information with family members, friends, neighbors, legislators, and other acquaintances.

The reality is it's very easy to steal from sick and old people."

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