Friday, October 19, 2007

Son Uses Hammer to Admit Father to Nursing Home

Foster City -San Francisco- John Coté, Chronicle Staff Writer A Foster City man is being held for allegedly hitting his father in the head with a hammer because he mistakenly thought the 81-year-old man had to be hospitalized before he could be admitted to a nursing home, prosecutors said Monday.

Jayantibhai Patel, 57, is being held on $500,000 bail, despite requests from Patel's father and other relatives that he be released.

Patel lived with his father but wanted to return to India, where has lived off and on, Foster City police Capt. Jon Froomin said. The father, who uses a wheelchair, did not want to move, authorities said.

Patel then decided to place his father in a nursing home. "He was under a belief, we don't know why, that you can't go straight into a nursing home without being in the hospital," said Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County's chief deputy district attorney. "He thought, 'I can overcome that problem. I'll put him in the hospital.' "

Patel allegedly struck his father in the head with a hammer Oct. 6 while the elderly man was in the bathroom. Patel waited about an hour and a half to call paramedics hoping that his father would lose consciousness, according to police.

On the way to the hospital, "the paramedics were saying, 'Sir, we understand that you fell,' " Wagstaffe said. "That's when the father told them, 'Absolutely not. My son hit me over the head with a hammer.' "

The father suffered two cuts on his head and has been released from the hospital, said Patel's attorney, Thomas Gray.

Gray called the case "bizarre" but disputed the notion that there had been an argument about returning to India.

"There's a lot more to the story than that," Gray said. "The father has required constant medical care. And he needs constant medical care. And it's more than one or two people can do."

Patel has been "grossly overcharged" and is facing a bail amount twice that typically given in cases of felony elder abuse resulting in death, Gray said.

"You've got a number of statements that indicate that there was absolutely no intent to kill or even seriously injure," Gray said. "The father is putting up all the equity he has in his Foster City home (to post bail) on behalf of his son."

Patel has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse. The attempted murder charge will probably be dropped, Wagstaffe said, but Patel still faces a maximum of 10 years in state prison if convicted of the other charges.

E-mail John Cote at

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