Sunday, April 18, 2010

William L. Morris and Ada V. Morris, Neglect and Abuse under “guardianship”:

William L. Morris and Ada V. Morris, Neglect and Abuse under “guardianship”:

(Information compiled by daughter, Barbara Morris.)

It is important to note that my father was placed in assisted living, against the advice of his primary care physician, of many years, Dr. Scott Maurer. The following issues are documented in diaries and emails. Ofelia Ross is the caseworker, from the Howard County Office on Aging. She is the, primary, responsible party for the neglect and abuse.

Nutrition and Health Care:

My parents have been denied their vitamin supplements and their holistic lifestyle.

My parents lived a holistic lifestyle (low salt, low sugar, low cholesterol) for decades. They, regularly, took vitamin supplements and went to an alternative care physician. In assisted living, they are served processed food, high in sodium, sugar and cholesterol. Every dinner, I have witnessed, they are served (canned) soup and sandwich, with chips. I have never seen fresh vegetables, i.e. salad, broccoli, carrots, beans, the basic, regular, vegetables, served. Rarely, have I seen fresh fruit, served. The only “supplements” they have been given have been in the supplement beverages, which are high in sugar content. At Bryant Woods Inn Assisted Living no juices were, ever, served. “Tang” was the staple juice substitute. When my mother had a persistent sore throat, I wanted to give her vitamin C, but was, vehemently, denied. These issues are, all, detrimental to their health.

Ofelia Ross has given little more than lip service to my parents’ preference and need for their alternative care physician, Dr. Beals. I attempted to address this with her, in 2006. She did not respond to the request, until one of my brothers addressed it, a year, later. She took my mother to Dr. Beals, one time and stated that my father would, also, be going to Dr. Beals. But, it never happened. There were never any more visits to Dr. Beals; it was, only, “lip service”. My father used to get vitamin shots from Dr. Beals, which, according to my father, kept up his energy level. Further, Ofelia Ross, nor anyone in the “guardianship” system, has ever taken, either, of my parents to a geriatric specialist or a neurologist. There has been a, distinct, lack of, appropriate attention to these needs.

Medication and Health Issues:

Overmedication has been a huge issue, for both of my parents. Both of my parents have been given medication for “behavior” control, i.e. compliance, and emotional trauma. Anti-depressants, in particular, Seroquel (given to both parents), advertise warnings for those with dementia, causing an increased risk of death. Multiple, websites support this and that Seroquel elevates cholesterol and blood sugar levels. My parents are medicated for constipation, instead of natural alternatives, such as prune juice. (My mother has “safe toilet syndrome”, which I came to realize, several years, ago.) Overmedication appears to have been, repeatedly, responsible for my mother having low to no pulse readings, while at Bryant Woods Inn ALF, and required hospital emergency room care. (Number of hospital trips is unknown, by family, as we were not notified.) Previously, at Glen Hill ALF, Dr. Beth Galik realized my mother was too sensitive for anti-depressants and took her off of them. Since then, the anti-depressants have been reinstated. There are natural alternatives and other, better, solutions to these, as well as, most of the other problems.

My father has serious prostate issues. Most of my visits are filled with, repeated, trips to the bathroom. It appears nothing is being done, to address his prostate issues. There are, alternative, remedies, which are known to help with prostate problems, as well, but, under “guardianship”, I am rendered powerless to provide them.

My mother is, no longer, on the Alzheimer’s prevention medicine, Nemenda, which appeared to have been working, very well, for her. Multiple websites validate that Alzheimer’s prevention medicine, especially, Nemenda is valid for all stages of Alzheimer’s. In early 2008, under the handling of Ofelia Ross, my mother was taken off of the Nemenda. Several times, later, that year, Ofelia commented that my mother’s Alzheimer’s was getting worse. This was without foundation. Not only was a decline, not noticeable, but, it appeared Ofelia’s comments were in “anticipation” of a decline. It was not until 2009, after my mother had been off of Nemenda, for over a year, a decline, again, became noticeable, by a loss of functioning. My mother was, still, in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s and the continuation of Nemenda could, well have prevented much of the loss of functioning that she is experiencing, today. It is, well, established that Alzheimer’s prevention medicine is, both, for the purpose of slowing the progress of the disease and in the hopes that Alzheimer’s will not be the, final, cause of death. The final stages of Alzheimer’s are debilitating and cause, horrendous, suffering. That any “guardian” would allow this is, incomprehensible. There is a substantial amount of protocol, for both diet and care giving, which is considered helpful for Alzheimer’s. None of it has been implemented for my mother, which, of itself, is severe neglect. Again, due to the “guardianship”, I have not been able to facilitate any of this protocol.

More Significant Events of Neglect and Abuse:

My parents have been subjected to, on going, neglect and abuse. They have, each, nearly, lost their lives, as a result. All of it was preventable. My father fell, multiple, times at Bryant Woods Inn ALF, resulting in hospital emergency room care, and nothing was done to prevent future occurrences. This was one of many issues at Bryant Woods Inn ALF. When I became aware of, and addressed, huge, illegalities and violations to Maryland Code, at Bryant Woods, the Office on Aging was “forced” to move my parents.

My parents were moved to Pfefferkorn ALF in West Friendship, with a, newly, licensed, Mr. and Mrs. Singh, who had no prior experience in elder care. My parents were their only residents, for the first nine months (2008). For the most part, the Singh’s have treated this as, “glorified baby sitting”, while my parents sit on their couch. They have failed to provide, proper, stimulation, for my parents, especially, much needed, mental and social stimulation, for my father. Many issues exemplified a lack of experience and, further, a nonchalant attitude by Mr. Singh. My father, often, complained of his hands being numb, but Mr. Singh’s response was “that’s normal”. (I left a message, about this, for Dr. Maurer, on May 11, 2008, per my diary documentation.) A lack of experience, by the Singh’s and most of their caregivers, has resulted in, multiple, life threatening events.

My father suffered a, severe, loss of weight during the first year and a half, in assisted living. He often complained that he was very tired and his, first, request was, always, “Do you have any goodies for me?” On August 7, 2008 I spoke to Mr. Singh about my father’s, obvious, weight loss. Mr. Singh argued with me. He insisted that, not only, had my father not lost weight, but, that my father had gained weight. Although, it appeared my father was hungry all of the time, Mr. Singh seemed to believe this was, “just normal” and that my father’s constant hunger did not require any, remedial, action. I addressed my father’s weight loss, to Ofelia, which is documented, not just in my diaries, but, also, in my emails to her. (Many issues are documented in emails, to her.) I, also, learned that Mr. Singh had withheld food from my father. If my father was not hungry, at lunchtime, the lunch was discarded and my father was forced to wait until dinner at 7 pm. It, hardly, needs to be stated that this, contributed, significantly, to my father’s weight loss. This information came from caregivers and a family friend who witnessed events, including a struggle, with Mr. Singh, to give my father watermelon, which she brought for him. This friend, also, witnessed a “military type” approach, Mr. Singh took with my father, and my father’s unhappy response to it. (This is, also, documented.) Months, later, a Guardianship Review assessment deemed my father “anorexic”. Although, Ofelia denied in court, on March 2, 2009, that my father had lost weight, during this time, records from Dr. Maurer, as well as photographs, document, otherwise.

On November 7, 2008, I went to visit my parents, to find that my mother was very ill, but was being left to sleep, instead of getting medical treatment. My arrival resulted in Mr. Singh, immediately, making phone calls. Within 15 minutes, an ambulance arrived. I went with my mother, to HCGH. My mother was suffering from dehydration, which resulted in a urinary tract infection. The infection had gone into her bloodstream and was causing her to become comatose. My mother was in the hospital for an entire week, for I.V. treatment and hydration. (It was two, full, days, before she came out of the comatose, type, state.) She spent two more weeks in a nursing home, for, continued, I.V. treatment. Every nurse, doctor and technician, of whom I asked, stated that she had gotten into this condition, due to a lack of proper hydration. This was, directly, due to a failure by the Singh’s to make sure she was drinking enough fluids. It is important to note, although, the hospital recognized that my mother was under “guardianship”, the staff requested that I sign permission for my mother to receive treatment. Proper “guardianship” protocol requires a signature from the “guardian”. If “guardianship” by the Office on Aging is, so, preferable, why didn’t Ofelia Ross, or her manager, meet us at the emergency room to sign permission for my mother to be treated? The hospital gave my mother care, based on my consent. They needed permission, immediately, as my mother needed treatment, immediately, and “guardianship” requirements failed to meet the need. More, serious problems with the Office on Aging as “guardian” presented themselves during this event. The primary physician needed my mother’s health background. While I was providing it, Ofelia’s young assistant came into the room and stood at the end of my mother’s bed, inserting, into the conversation, that she was from the Office on Aging and that “we will be making the decisions”, as to what is done, for Mrs. Morris. Yet, she had no ability to provide my mother’s health and medical background. The doctor, later, commented on the difficulty the guardianship was presenting. My mother was getting continuous I.V., but I knew, and told the doctor, that when my mother came to normal consciousness, she needed someone, attending her. Once the doctor witnessed how, quickly, my mother moved, she, immediately, ordered a sitter, around the clock. One of the doctors came to see me, at my mother’s bedside, and was very upset. He stated that my mother needs a PICC line for, continued, I.V. treatment and that Ofelia would not approve it. He insisted that I call Ofelia and to tell her, “If anything happens to your mother, she will be liable! Also, during the hospital stay, Ofelia paid a brief visit. She stood by my mother’s bedside, stroking my mother’s arm. My mother did not respond. When Ofelia stopped stroking my mother’s arm, I leaned into my mother and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Although her eyes were closed, she, immediately, gave a huge smile, “ear to ear”. Ofelia, immediately, looked angry, as this had, just, shown her up, in front of her assistant. Ofelia had no interest in my ability to care for, or nurture, my own mother. (From the beginning, Ofelia has refused to take time to observe my parents, in my care. This was an opportunity for her to see my mother’s response to my nurturing. Instead, it became a source for contempt.) After the week of continuous I.V. treatment, in HCGH, my mother was transferred to the Lorien nursing facility. While making these arrangements, Ofelia preempted my visitation at Lorien with restrictions. The “report” for the Guardianship Review Board stated that Lorien required these restrictions. This, falsely, represented that the restrictions came, directly, from Ofelia. Lorien would never have implemented the restrictions, aside from normal visiting hours, except by instruction from Ofelia. Nor did my mother’s care require visitation restrictions. However, my mother, still, needed a sitter. In the hospital, my mother had stayed calm, in my presence, and I was able to keep her from pulling away from the I.V. The evening she was transferred to Lorien, it was, already, later, than the hours I was to be “allowed” visitation. The next morning, I returned, early, to check, with the staff, on how my mother was doing. I did not believe, this fell under the category of “visitation” with my mother. However, I, quickly, found out that I was not welcomed “on the premises”. (This, also, validates that the restrictions were not required for my mother’s well being.) When I meet with the director, and an administrator, they stated I should not, even, be in their office, as it was not during the restricted “visitation” hours, which had been mandated for me. They let me know that if I did not leave the property, they would call security. However, my mother’s well being was at risk, as a sitter had not been provided. I insisted that my mother needed a sitter, which became evident as my mother had compromised the PICC line. Somehow, she had pulled the needle from its, original, placement. With the compromised PICC line, the staff, finally, understood that my mother needed a sitter and provided one. However, Ofelia Ross was more interested in isolating me from my mother, than in taking care of my mother’s needs. She failed to provide, appropriate, follow through for my mother’s care. Ofelia’s agenda was, and still is, priority over my mother’s needs and well-being.

Then, on February 13, 2009, my father had a massive heart attack, which, nearly, took his life. According to documents in the court files, there was a 90% probably he would not survive. This heart attack was a direct result of severe mental and emotional trauma. Not only was he, extremely, thin and vulnerable, from the withholding of food, but, he was traumatized by living in “assisted living” and, most significantly, by isolation from his home and family. I had visited, just five days, earlier and had documented, in my diary that he was in a frantic state. He had spoken in desperate tones I had never heard, from him, as he begged me to continue my efforts to free them. He, repeatedly, grabbed at me, to prevent me from leaving. It had, long, been established that visits were filled with his concern as to how long I would stay and his begging, “Stay with me”. He had, also, often, expressed extreme loneliness. The heart attack was, totally, preventable. Heart disease does not run on my father’s side of the family, which, further, supports that the attack was stress induced. It is, also, supported by Dr. Maurer’s knowledge of my father’s mental state, which is why he recommended against my father being placed in assisted living. At John’s Hopkins Hospital, my father’s room was next to the nurses’ station in the Critical Care Unit. Severe visitation restrictions at the hospitals would have appeared questionable, however, Ofelia managed to limit my time to CCU “visiting” hours. The visiting hours were flexible, for some patients, and my father should have been one of those patients. This became apparent when my father, traumatized by the breathing tube, pulled it out, during the night, one week into his stay. He was not able to sustain breathing on his own and the tube had to be reinserted, which, itself, is traumatic. Many of the staff knew I was staying in the waiting room, near the CCU, but, no one came to get me. Visiting hours began at noon. When I arrived, my father, immediately, burst into tears. I said, “Daddy did you think you were alone?” With tears, still, pouring from his eyes, he shook his head, “yes”. The trauma, of the last several years, had, also, caused him severe dementia and he was not able to remember that I was, just, a short distance away in the waiting room. His heart attack was caused by trauma, and, now, he was, further, traumatized, by thinking he was, all alone, in the hospital, and without knowing why. Before he was transferred to Lorien, where, again, visiting hours were, severely, restricted, my father said, “Barbara, you are a great comfort to me.” I have, no doubt, had I been allowed to stay at his bedside, he would never have pulled out the breathing tube or experienced trauma, any night, during which he found himself, alone. The account, of my father’s heart attack and hospital stay, written by the Office on Aging, for the court and guardianship review, indicated he had not been expected to survive. But, it never mentioned that I was with my father, the better part of two weeks, during visiting hours, or that family nurturing could have played a role in his survival. Of such nurturing, Ofelia Ross and the Office on Aging, have, no, interest.

For, quite, some time, my father has had bruising, tares and scabs on his right forearm. The Singh’s stated it was because my mother grabs his arm. (Since she has Alzheimer’s, this is understandable, as he is the, only, person she connects to her history and reality.) On October 10, 2009, I arrived for a visit to find that my father’s arm was bandaged, so, tightly, his hand was swollen to twice its normal size. The arm muscle, next to the bandage, was very hard, as if the bandage had been on for hours. My father, also, stated that his hand was numb. It was obvious that blood circulation, to my father’s hand, was being cut off. One of the caregivers and Mr. Singh were, both, very nonchalant about it, although, Mr. Singh did, rewrap the bandage. This continued to concern me, as it was obvious Mr. Singh doesn’t know what he is doing and could cause my father to loose his hand. I called Dr. Maurer and asked him to call Mr. Singh, to make sure he understands the importance of proper bandaging. I have called Dr. Maurer on, multiple, occasions, regarding issues for my parents’ care, which can be confirmed, with him. (However, with the “guardianship”, contacts to his office have been an issue.)

On Wednesday evening, January 20th (2010), my mother fell, at Pfefferkorn ALF, and struck her head, causing a cut that needed, multiple, stitches. She was taken to HCGH, where the staff realized she, again, had a urinary tract infection. The hospital admitted her for I.V. treatment of antibiotics and kept for six days (January 20th – January 26th). The fall and the infection are, both, issues, regarding her care. However, it is, also, a huge issue that Ofelia Ross DID NOT NOTIFY OUR FAMILY. On Sunday afternoon (January 24th) one of my brothers called Pfefferkorn ALF, to check on our parents, and learned from Mr. Singh that our mother was in the hospital. He was, also, told she had been there, since Thursday evening (which misrepresented the, actual, length of time). Another brother called Ofelia and she stated she had been “too busy” to contact us. I learned from my mother’s, attending, nurse, that she had been admitted on Wednesday evening. He, also, told me that when he came on duty on Thursday morning, he realized my mother needed a sitter, but had not been provided one. My mother was, again, on I.V., and needed someone by her bedside, around the clock. Neither, Ofelia Ross or the Singh’s had made any arrangements for my mother to have a sitter. As “guardian”, Ofelia Ross should have been, both, aware of this need and addressed it. Fortunately, my mother had a good nurse who recognized the need and took care of it.

Ofelia Ross has been, directly, responsible for severe mental and emotional trauma, caused for, both, of my parents. Ofelia forced my mother to stay in assisted living, instead of considering alternatives. My mother knew she was away from her home, her husband and her family. She cried, repeatedly, to caregivers and kept them awake all hours of the night, on a regular basis. My efforts to address this, fell on deaf ears, including that my father was, also, traumatized. Yet, Ofelia insisted my mother was “staying right where she is”. (She, also, added, “until she is stable”, which shows, a complete, lack of understanding of Alzheimer’s.) In November 2006, two months after the Office on Aging and Ofelia Ross were given “temporary” control, of my mother; my father was hospitalized with his first heart episode. My father’s health continued to decline at an extreme rate. Within a few months, he needed a walker and a caregiver. Severe emotional trauma continued, for both parents, as they were forced to live, separately, for an, entire, year. My father was, then, forced into assisted living and both, of my parents, continued, to be traumatized. They were being held, against their wills, in a strange place, away from their home and their family. My mother has, repeatedly, begged to “go home”, which has been witnessed by staff, at all of the facilities.

However, the greatest source of trauma, for my parents, has been, severely, enforced, isolation, from family. This, severe, emotional isolation, is, nothing, less than abuse! This, also, has been perpetrated by Ofelia Ross. It should not be necessary to say that my parents need their family, for mental and emotional health, and to thrive. They need, the emotional connection, as well as, the connection provided by the physical presence of family. These are basic human needs and, tremendously, important to my parents. With visitation restricted of a 3-hour window, in the afternoon, we are being denied normal family time. Ofelia refuses to allow normal holidays or vacations. She, also, refuses to communicate with me, which makes any possibility of arranging for normal family time, impossible. This exemplifies, not only, a total lack of concern for my parents’ well-being (or our family rights) but, a willingness to abuse our parents, to further the agenda of the Office on Aging. It is, also, clear that Ofelia Ross and the Office on Aging staff have, no, real, experience with elder care and, especially, with the needs of those with dementia. Most, in the county system and in control, also, lack the necessary experience to make good decisions regarding elder care, or issues with dementia, including, assisted living owners, “court appointed” attorneys and the judges. No effort, of any kind, is made to encourage increased visitation; instead, the focus is to continue to isolate our parents, from their family. As recently as this January, while “justifying” visitation restrictions, differently for me, than my siblings, Mr. Singh, even, threatened me with “no visitation”.

This brings up, another, issue; hostility, against family members, by assisted living staff and owners. It is important to understand that this has been perpetrated for the purpose of vilifying family and to provide support towards maintaining an income for “care” of our parents. This began at Bryant Woods Inn ALF. At Bryant Woods, there were many restrictions, specifically, against me, where, for a number of months, I was not allowed to take my mother for a walk. Staff often spied on, as well as, repeatedly, interrupted, my visits. Staff gave orders, in front of my mother, and my mother was concerned we were “in trouble”. I was assaulted, on one occasion, as a (convicted felon) caregiver, grabbed my mother’s wrists and pulled her away from me. My diaries and emails provide huge amounts of documentation regarding hostile actions, against family members. Suffice it to say, for the purpose of this document, hostility towards family members is, also, hostility towards our parents. It creates a negative environment for our parents.

The events of October 13, 2008, when Mr. Singh left my parents unattended, are, also, vital to include with this document. I was coming up the long driveway, to Pfefferkorn ALF, and saw Mr. Singh coming, towards me, in his van. As if he had been “caught”, he, quickly, turned his van around and went back to the house. When I arrived, Mr. Singh was sweeping the back porch and had the television blaring, loudly. My parents were sitting on the living room couch, but, no one else was in site. (This was during the year, when my parents were their, only, “residents”.) All evidence indicated that no one else was in the house. He had left my parents, unattended. Soon, thereafter, Mrs. Singh returned home and the two acted out a “smoke screen”, trying to give the impression that someone else had been in the house. When I, finally, reached Ofelia, her first response was that I would have a hard time proving it. My parents had visitors, before I arrived, and a neighbor, also, observed events. These people were, significant, witnesses. Ofelia stated that she would do an “investigation”, but, no “investigation” took place. She failed to contact these witnesses, who could have substantiated much of what I told her. In essence, Mr. Singh left my parents, unattended, and Ofelia Ross covered it up.

There are a plethora of other issues; two different versions were given for a huge bruise on my mother’s cheek, my mother thinking she is being sexually assaulted, when Mr. Singh has taken her to the bathroom, lack of hygiene, including lack of bathing, teeth or dentures not being brushed, toe nails not being clipped, improperly fitting clothes, including pants being too long and creating a fall risk, clothes not, properly, laundered, and a lack of English language skills causing a lack of good communication with my parents. Then, there are the violations of religious rights, which include my mother’s hair being cut, at Bryant Woods, after I informed the owner, Carmen Collandrea, that my mother’s hair was not to be cut, for religious reasons. Ofelia failed to act on this, as well.

The Singh’s have lacked knowledge for much that should be basic care. This included bug bites on my father’s leg, for which they offered, multiple, “remedies”, which did not address the itching. The Singh’s were, also, puzzled that my father asked me for help with the bug bites, but had said nothing to them. This is, just, one example of my father asking me for help and not asking for help from the assisted living owners, or caregivers. As recently, as my visit on March 20th (2010) my father told me his little toe “is killing me”. He had a fungus, under his little toe, and the flesh was open and sensitive. A new caregiver, Helen, noticed that he had said nothing to her about it, yet, had, immediately, addressed his pain, to me, his daughter. During this visit my father expressed, multiple, concerns, to me. Several times he told me he had a “terrible back ache” and he asked me to “rub my shoulder”. He told me his heart is “aching” and that his heart hurts when he is “stressed”. He expressed his desire to live with me. Later, as my father was begging me to stay with him, I told Mrs. Singh she needs to tell the Guardianship Review Board, these things. My mother wasn’t wearing her glasses, that day, and I had to ask for them, three times, before Mrs. Singh told me that they were broken and brought them to me. She did not indicate that any action was being taken to replace them. My mother was, very, restless, so, Helen and I took her for a walk. My mother is losing her ability to talk. However, the one thing she tried to say, this day, was my name. She, kept, saying, “Bar… Bar…” Helen was very astute and recognized my parents responding to me. As I was preparing to leave, she said, “You were a great help!” But, assisted living owners, first, Carmen Collandrea, and, now, the Singh’s, will not admit this. Instead, they continue to perpetrate false statements, for monetary gain. Both, of my parents have looked to me, for help. I understand my parents’ needs and they respond to my nurturing. In spite of my mother’s Alzheimer’s, I have, frequently, been able to comfort her. She is able to sense that she is safe with me. She expressed her sense of helplessness and that she felt unsafe, at Bryant Woods. She, also, realized that my father was not in control or able to correct the situation. Her words were limited, but she expressed her fear, as she looked at me with an expression of helplessly and said, “Daddy doesn’t know, either.” For, almost, four years, my parents’ lives have been in turmoil, when they could have been, safely, and comfortably, in the hands of a loving family member, who knows their needs and whom they trust and, to whom, they look for answers.

“Guardianship” has been a great detriment to my parents’ health and well-being. My parents have been, horribly, neglected and abused under “guardianship”. Furthermore, the actions of Ofelia Ross have, far, exceeded the parameters of guardianship and she has, flagrantly, violated the laws, both, Maryland statutes and Federal laws.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am the youngest brother of Barbara Morris(the writer of this article) and I can vouch for my sister's credibility and integrity. All this information is accurate. The office of aging is trying now to get my sister for defamation of character against Ofelia Ross. Ofelia Ross and the office on aging should be charged with defamation of character against my sister Barbara.