For all family victims of guardianship abuse, if you have not, yet, called the Government Accountability Office, please, do, so. If this is new information, to you, the GAO is doing an "intake" on guardian abuse and they want your calls. Please, asap, call Sandra Moore at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C. @ 202-512-4910. This intake is on behalf of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, with the office of the Committee Chair, Senator Herb Kohl. We are anticipating hearings, as a result of this intake. It was precipitated, as a result of many complaints, so, please, make your call, as soon as possible. Thank you, and keep in touch, for updates!
Senate Special Committee on Aging, with Senator Kohl's office. PLEASE, understand that "Guardianship" (or Conservatorship) issues are, currently, being investigated. This intake period will, soon, come to an end and, depending on the complaints, may or MAY NOT result in Senate hearings on Capitol Hill. If these hearings do not take place, we will have missed a, crucial, opportunity to have our voices heard! It may be the last opportunity, in a long time!
Monday, April 26, 2010
It is with a heavy heart that I write this post, as we all have attended many hearings together, fighting for our mothers freedom from bondage. Our mothers were all, deprived of their civil rights, stripped of their wealth and dignity, drugged and denied those precious last years and moments with their loved ones.
* Yvonne Sarhan with her grandson enjoying time together before they were forcefully separated.
Robert, we regret that your son was denied spending time with his grandmother, something that no child should ever have to go through, especially during their formative years. And we regret that you too were kept from spending time with the mother you bonded with for so many of your formative years as she was a hostage of the people that drugged and isolated her. No one has that right to keep any child from spending time with their mother or grand mother during her most precious last days on this Earth. We consider this very criminal that she was taken and isolated from the people most important to her life, and that she was kept in a haze with the forced administration of antipsychotic drugs.
Dr. Robert Sarhan writes in his blog =>>Dr.Sarhan's Blog
"My mother, Yvonne, Sarhan was murdered by Judge Celeste Muir on February 2, 2010 she allowed the Guardian Vicki Brail and Dr Steven Leslie Kaplan to poison my mother with 400 mg of Seroquel a day until she was dead, why because the guardian and attorney's already took all the money from our family.We believe since our since our Governor Charlie Christ has allowed this to happen in our State, our Congressmen the Balart brothers have allowed this to continue for years."
Robert, we all did our best to retrieve our mothers from the "Jaws of Hell", which was a life of isolation, drugging and fleecing so terrifying, that people who have not had their relatives isolated, drugged and interned against their will, could never begin to fathom what we have all been put through. Yes, our mothers as well as other peoples parents, have been all been robbed and discarded or left in a hallway to rot. It is truly a shame that people who hide behind a veil of secrecy claiming 'privacy laws' don't even have the decency to offer these loved ones left behind an explanation of how or why their loved ones even died.
Robert, as you know, my mother Clara G. Fernandez was also interned against her will in a nursing home while being administered drugs intravenously, and according to her medical records, Clara was being given a poisonous cocktail of Darvocet , Ambien and Lorazepam and all of this in spite of the manufacturers warnings that " Narcotics may increase the effects of this drug , and could decrease breathing to the point of unconsciousness and or coma. The labels clearly state; "Do not take this drug with any other drug" as it might slow down the central nervous system, other drugs and sedatives such as benzodiazepine, sleeping pills, monoamine oxidase inhibitor, antipsychotics and the like. The warnings are there, just not heeded by persons looking to do harm to the elders they have inprisoned and robbed.."
I guess when pillage and plunder is a way of life, when the money runs out, (which it often does very quickly at these rates), all too often the medical care of the AIP is terminated and death surely results, oh but we can't let details like these get in the way, as our elders are only precious to ourselves, our children, and our grand children, and to these vultures, our elderly are only a 'meal ticket' who in their eyes are useless eaters who would die any way.
To all of the people who have helped and offered me support, too many to name, I thank them whole heartedly, and with that support I was able to get my mother on a plane and off to the safety of another country, far away from the 'tainted system' than would have surely been her unfortunate demise had we not all fought tooth and nail to free Clara from the forced guardianship that isolated her from her loved ones. I will forever be grateful for the fact that my mother survived this ordeal and is no longer forced to take drugs, intravenously or otherwise, and now, as we all watch her thrive in the company of family, I know this is as "it should be". The time we now spend with her, is priceless, and worth more than all the money that the greed driven criminals were able to take away from us.
*Clara is now reunited with her great grandson Alex and enjoying quality family time together
*P.S. - In the five year battle to liberate my mother Clara, we went through 5 Judges and scores of Attorneys, and thankfully there were some good Judges and Attorneys along the way. It took the hard and relentless work of one very wonderful and caring attorney, Mr. Adrian Phillip Thomas , who stood up to the Judges and opposing Attorneys to free Clara. Mr. Thomas did not give up until he knew that my mother Clara was on a plane heading out to safety. I highly respect Judge Teagan Slaton who refused to be deceived by the lies perpetrated by the greedy attorneys, guardians and their cronies and granted Clara her freedom and restored her civil rights and dignity.
We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy Clara's freedom, and our hearts go out to the elders and their families that do not have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy their parents their freedom and are suffering in silence and feeling powerless to stop the abuse of their elders destined to die in isolation, while being denied the most basic of human rights.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
There has been substantial international concern voiced about the tarnished human rights record of the United States. Much of the concern relates to the treatment of those implicated in the “war on terror.” There has been little attention paid to the fact that the United States Government is now targeting its own citizens in manners both brutal and patently illegal.
The reports ITHACA submits to the UNHCHR focus on two issues where the United States has systematically deprived its own citizens of their inherent rights, property and in some cases, their lives. We will be addressing 1) the issue of court authorized conservatorship and 2) the attacks on human rights defenders.
ITHACA is a grassroots independent association of advocates for the protection and restoration of constitutional and human rights. ITHACA has a special focus on elder justice and reform of the mechanisms which oversee the licensing of judicial agents in the USA. The aims of this association are to promote the rights and protections of individuals at risk on a national and international level. Since its foundation in 2010 it has been involved in research, activism, advocacy, and lobbying for legal reforms through the promotion of human rights according to treaties and conventions of the United Nations. ITHACA seeks to deliver a statement to the U.N. each year on the progress of reform regarding the rights of elderly in the USA. ITHACA has an integrative approach towards the issue of human rights through collaboration and cooperation with NGOs and governments advocating the rights of the elderly and their families for social justice and equality before the law. Dr. Catherine O’Loughlin and Janet Phelan sit on ITHACA’s board of directors.
The possibility for inherent human rights violations when any individual is declared to be incapacitated is profound. When this is coupled with a financial incentive, the possibility for abuse heightens and oversight needs to be provided. What is occurring now in the U.S. in terms of conservatorship constitutes multiple human rights violations of the elderly and disabled through the courts.
ITHACA has been collecting information on conservatorships. At one point in the data collection, two months were spent in a single courthouse going through hundreds of conservatorship files. In depth interviews with conservatees and their family members have been conducted , as well as review of hundreds of newspaper articles on this topic. ITHACA has concluded that the problems in court authorized conservatorships are severe, ongoing and point to systemic human rights violations.
Conservatorships are generally launched through court proceedings when there are allegations that an individual is becoming forgetful or otherwise lacks capacity to care for himself. The terms “conservatorship” and “guardianship” are interchangeable, as some states reference one term and other states use the other. For the purposes of this report we will use the term “conservatorship.” There are two types of conservatorship—the first is conservatorship of person, whereby the court appointed conservator makes personal decisions for the alleged incapacitated person (AIP). These decisions may include where the AIP may live, whether or not the AIP may marry or have family and friends visit. The second is conservatorship of estate. Upon the initiation of a conservatorship of estate, all assets are then transferred to the “care and protection” of the conservator, who charges hefty fees for services. This introduces a profit motive which now appears to have become paramount.
We cannot emphasize enough that these conservatorships are launched on allegations. There is often no capacity hearing to determine the truthfulness of these allegations. We have seen cases where fully competent individuals are funneled into conservatorships on nothing more than unproven innuendo.
The court is mandated with providing oversight. Adult Protective Services is also charged with investigating allegations of elder abuse, whether it be by family or by a professional conservator. What we have found is that when there are allegations of elder abuse by a court appointed conservator, they are too often not investigated by APS. When conservator abuse is reported to the police, we have found that such complaints are not being investigated by that agency as well. Judges are increasingly prone to rubberstamping the decisions of conservators and ignoring or squelching attempts by family members to point out abuses. In some cases, protective parties, such as family or friends, have been threatened and jailed. Several of the herein mentioned cases, including that of Silvia Tessadri, Raymond Horspool and Amalie Phelan, substantiate that this is a tactic used to isolate the elder from oversight by a concerned family member. In numerous cases we have seen where protective parties have been issued restraining orders and are unable to provide oversight as to their loved ones’ care. We have come to the conclusion that the elderly and disabled, who are the two groups that are impacted by conservatorships, are being systematically denied their rights to be protected from abuse by their court-authorized conservators.
Conservatorships tend to be very expensive. In some states, such as New York, the private professional conservator may charge as much as $300 an hour. The conservator also employs a lawyer, at the expense of the AIP. When the money runs out, which it may very quickly at these rates, all too often the medical care of the AIP is terminated and death results. A further issue of concern is that frequently the elderly person is inappropriately drugged with an atypical antipsychotic. These drugs are contraindicated for the elderly and may result in diabetes, stroke or sudden death. We have also seen where elderly conservatees are funneled into hospice without a terminal diagnosis, and plied with morphine until death results, such as in the case of Corinne Bramson in Palm Beach, Florida.
We have also attached an article, published in the San Bernardino County Sentinel in September of 2009, revealing a disturbing pattern in financial records of many California judges, including the probate judges. The issue revolves around the number and size of loans taken out by the judges on their personal property, in excess of what they could feasibly repay on a judge’s salary. Further work needs to be done to determine the source of the payments going to pay off the loans on the judges’ properties, as it appears to be a pay-off/bribe scheme.
Reports of conservator abuse are now nation-wide. Several grassroots groups have sprung up to address this issue, including Advocates for National Guardianship Reform and Ethics and Elder Abuse Victims Advocates. Latifa Ring of Stop Guardian Abuse and a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and Janet Phelan, a board member of ITHACA, coauthored a document (attached in Appendix) which was submitted to the Platform Planning Committee of the DNC. Through some unfortunate maneuvers at the DNC, the document was not submitted to the appropriate planning committee by the individual in charge and the issue of conservator abuse was never included in the Democratic platform.
The violations of the Declaration of Human Rights generally involve violations of Article 3, Article 12 and Article 16, in terms of rights of privacy, security and freedom of association. Conservatees are often remanded to what amounts to lock-down facilities and deprived of visits from family and friends. Their legal rights are denied as they lose their “personhood” through the allegations of lack of capacity, which are often never determined through a hearing to be valid allegations. The loss of legal rights are violations of Article 6, 7, 8 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Property rights are regularly denied the AIP, as the professional conservator may dispense with their homes and their assets without consulting their wards. This could be termed as violations of Article 17 (2). An entire generation of adult children who could have stood to inherit are also being impoverished through these conservatorships, as their parents' money is drained off by the conservators and their attorneys.
In more than one case we see where the courts have violated international treaties and have denied the enhanced time for service mandated by the treaties. Sadly, we have seen many cases in which the lawyers for conservators fail to serve papers at all, both to parties living abroad and to parties living in the U.S. The Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention) provides for the channels of transmission to be used when a judicial or extrajudicial document is to be transmitted from one State Party to the Convention to another State Party for service in the latter. The Convention provides for one main channel of transmission via a central authority. The USA is a treaty member and a signatory party of the Hague Service Convention. The US judiciary is in violation of private international law in its refusal to enforce or comply with this Convention. The State of California violated civil and probate code on notification of service and even special request for notification of service by a US citizen in the member State of Greece and also for a US citizen residing in the member State of Canada.
The U.S. is not only violating international covenants in which they have been a signer. The state courts are now regularly violating U.S. law when it serves to advance the conservatorship. Due to what is termed the "probate exception," wherein probate matters are deemed best heard by the State courts, we find that the US Supreme Court has been refusing to hear these matters. Appeals to the United States Department of Justice, which have been launched by a number of parties who have been denied justice in conservatorship proceedings, are also been sloughed off. Over twenty complaints were recently sent into the Federal Trade Commission, which is mandated to investigate mail fraud. The complainants alleged that the FTC should look into their complaints as the use and misuse of U.S. mail was a fundamental part of the fraud being perpetrated by the conservators and their attorneys. The FTC did not respond to a single complaint.
The tragedy underlying elder abuse and financial fraud is the absent liability and accountability of the regulated professions who readily enter into the lives of vulnerable citizens. To reform the current culture of fraud and institutionalized corruption of the legal profession and conservators there must be a citizen- driven initiative under the auspices of a public body which can operate to audit the conduct of professions. To put it bluntly, the professions cannot be overseeing themselves. This includes lawyers, judges and medical professionals who are making decisions that impact the elderly and disabled. At present, the plight of the conservatee is so severe that we strongly suggest a moratorium on all conservatorships until the problem can be ironed out. Simply adding more layers of bureaucracy to an already cancerous system will not suffice.
The reports that are attached are of two types—media coverage and individual statements by those who have personally been involved in a conservatorship. We have also attached the previously cited platform proposal to the DNC.
The reports heavily weigh in on Southern California, and particularly scrutinizes one conservatorship company, C.A.R.E., Inc. We have reason to believe that the actions reported by this conservatorship company are duplicated across the U.S. but are going unreported or underreported, due to the reluctance of the media to cover this issue. Nevertheless, we have culled media coverage from recent months from Connecticut, Missouri, Georgia, New Jersey, Arizona, Tennessee, Nevada and elsewhere. These articles follow the coverage in the San Bernardino County Sentinel, which pertain to C.A.R.E., Inc. The actions of C.A.R.E. have been reported to city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies and there have been no prosecutions launched. The article “How The California Justice System Covers up Crimes,” (http://www.scamraid ers.com/profiles /blogs/how- the-california- justice) reveals the methods used by law enforcement to detour their mandate to prosecute such crimes.
We have provided a number of individual statements as to what happened to family members in a conservatorship. More stories can be found at The Elder Abuse Victims Advocates site--http:/ /www.guardianshi pgonebad. com/ and at the website of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse--http://stopguardian abuse.org/ victimsandtheirs tories.htm. The Platform Proposal to the DNC is attached at the end of this document.
It needs to be noted that the reporter providing much of the coverage of C.A.R.E., Janet Phelan, has left the U.S. for reasons of personal safety and security. A television reporter, Mary Garofalo, who was covering conservator abuse for Fox 5 TV in New York City, was summarily let go the day in 2006 after the second in her hard-hitting series on this issue aired. Garofalo was the senior member of the investigative team at Fox 5 and had been twenty years on the job at that station.
ATTACKS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Attacks on human rights defenders in the U.S. are generally not covered by the main stream press. We therefore believe there to be numerous situations which have not come to our attention and profoundly apologize to those we have been unable to mention, through lack of awareness of their plight. We also understand that Human Rights Alert is submitting information concerning some Human Rights Defenders who are under attack.
The nature of these attacks are either legal or personal (i.e., physical assaults). The plight of attorney Richard Fine will be submitted by Human Rights Alert. Briefly, Fine has been subjected to legal persecution for his attempts to legally controvert issues pertaining to California judges’ “extra benefits.” These monies are received from the counties in which their bench is seated. These county payments to judges, who are state employees, have been deemed unconstitutional (Sturgeon). Fine was challenging the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County judges to hear cases in which Los Angeles County was a party to the case when he was jailed for contempt of court. It is a clear conflict of interest for a judge to receive payment from a party to the case. Fine has been in jail for over a year.
The reports we are including follow. Each of these individuals has suffered grave revocation of constitutional rights by the justice agencies as a result of attempting to advocate, inform or to protect human rights:
Susan Lindauer, a former CIA asset, held in confinement for eleven months, following her attempts to testify at Bush’s Commission on Pre-Iraqi War Intelligence, a testimony which would have belied the official story of the reasons we launched a war against Iraq.
Elena Sassower, a judicial reform advocate, who was imprisoned for six months on charges of “disrupting Congress.” At a Congressional Hearing to determine a judicial appointment, Sassower had inquired if she could testify and was arrested and jailed.
Rickie Ritch, a J.D., who was physically assaulted by the police and jailed while attempting to address the conservatorship of his father-in-law through appropriate legal channels.
Dr. Rebecca Carley, an M.D., whose medical license was rescinded by the State of New York as she attempted to protect her only son from an abuser. Dr. Carley is also in the forefront of the anti-vaccination movement and has a syndicated radio show. In the absence of any medical misconduct by Dr. Carley, the New York State Medical Board rescinded her medical license stating she had a “delusion of conspiracy.”
Janet Phelan, a print journalist, who was attacked by the police in a nearly fatal sting operation following her attempts to free her mother from the grips of a conservatorship through appropriate legal channels.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The State Department is taking public comment for a report it is preparing on Human Rights within the United States. (H/t: Secrecy News.)
Those who wish to comment on how they perceive their human rights being affected by the government may send email to:firstname.lastname@example.org
Two things to remember: First, this report is for international consumption, and nations like China will be critiquing how sincere and honest we are with the process. It's important that we not whitewash any issues, so if you have concerns, send them in. Second, this is an opportunity to show nations like China and Iran that there may be human rights they aren't adequately considering. These are only two suggestions; feel free to write about anything that matters to you.
It's important that we, the citizens, and not only the government be involved in determining just what human rights are.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
IMPEACH RANDY KENNEDY
FDT has asked you to write Governor Bredesen on my behalf asking for his intervention in my case. Governor Bredesen has received hundreds of communications on my behalf. I’ve written him myself. There has been NO response.
Governor Phil Bredesen appointed “Judge” Randy Kennedy to the bench and I hold him accountable for the actions of Randy Kennedy.
I’m asking you to contact Governor Bredesen and ask for the immediate removal of Randy Kennedy from this bench. He is not qualified legally, ethically, or intellectually. Randy Kennedy brings the entire TN judiciary into disrepute.
IMPEACH HIM NOW!!!
With the information we have about Randy Kennedy his actions as a sitting judge are the most deplorable, incomprehensible, that can be perpetrated on “we the people”. Not one vote has ever been cast by “we the people” to have this judge sitting on this elected bench. He was appointed by Governor Bredesen and the buck stops there, with the Governor. Randy Kennedy is a threat to our society. He leads a court of legalized organized crime. His lack of knowledge of the law is an embarrassment to the judiciary. There needs to be public outcry with a volume that cannot be ignored. His unethical alliance with attorney Paul Housch is enough, in itself, to incriminate anyone. The 7th Circuit Court, Davidson County, Tennessee, has become a deplorable joke, and for it to be ruled over by Randy Kennedy one more day is an affront to our legal system and a sitting threat to anyone that crosses it threshold.
What Randy Kennedy has allowed to happen in my case is just the tip of the iceberg. What he has done, and is doing to others dwarfs the actions in my case. Do not let him ruin the lives of others. It will go on unless Governor Bredesen is called into accountability. Unless Governor Bredesen takes immediate action, his appointment of Randy Kennedy to the bench will forever taint his legacy. I believe it will define his legacy. I think it SHOULD define his legacy. His alliance with Randy Kennedy suggests that he is a party to the legalized organized crime. This is his one chance to set the record straight.
Understand readers, a Probate Court is where estates worth millions are run through. Take pause and consider this. There is a lot of money at stake and the probate bottom feeders are lining their pockets while the descendants are left with nothing. Just a little education so you will know what is going on. Randy Kennedy runs a one man fascist state where the fortunes men and women have worked their lives for are plundered by the probate bottom feeders under the guise of law. Under Randy Kennedy, this court is an abomination. And its actions are perpetrated with arrogance and a certain attitude of “teflon” because Randy Kennedy thinks he is protected by Uncle Phil. But he’s not protected from “we the people”.
I’m calling you out, Governor Bredesen.Take action…or let your legacy be tainted.
We full agree with the folks at EstateofDenial.com who said that while probate reform may involve some passing of new laws, a critical first step should be to increase accountability regarding the conduct of both lawyers and judges. Trolling-for-dollars lawyers who contrive legal actions so as to generate billable hours should face real consequences - both professionally and criminally. Judges who ignore or, worse yet, abet such actions should share in similar consequences. A recent posting by Danny Tate at FreeDannyTate.com echoes similar sentiments.
One other little EoD fun fact. Bredesen served as mayor of Nashville from 1991-1999. During his tenure, Nashville was awarded a National Hockey League franchise and the Nashville Predators were born. What irony. With Bredesen ignoring Danny Tate’s case, this team name appropriately describes local actions both on and off the ice.
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.
Elderly Millionaire Is Destitute After Payment of Fees for Lawyers and Care
Today the 88-year-old woman, Marie Long, is destitute after a judge approved $786,000 in attorney, guardianship and companion-care fees for the woman, columnist Laurie Roberts writes in the Arizona Republic. The woman’s onetime guardian, the Sun Valley Group, had assigned itself as Long’s caregiver, charging $235,000 for companion care and $182,000 for guardianship duties, Roberts wrote in a separate column last month.
Itemized charges included $32.50 to go to the bank for Long, $106 to pick up hearing aid batteries, and $62 to discuss a kitchen grease fire caused by a Sun Valley employee, Roberts says.
Judge Lindsay Ellis blamed Long’s court-appointed lawyer, as well as two lawyers for Long’s sisters, for driving up costs, Roberts says. The judge said the lawyers’ “venomous” and “hateful” attacks on the trustee, the guardian and their attorneys resulted in costly litigation.
But Roberts says it’s wrong to blame the three lawyers challenging the fees and instead points the finger at Ellis.
“The court that is supposed to be protecting people like Marie Long is doing no such thing,” Roberts writes. “Instead, the court is allowing a cozy group of lawyers and fiduciaries who are appointed to help vulnerable people help themselves to a nice pile of cash—until the money is gone, at which time the ‘ward’ is dumped onto the taxpayers.”
Now the Sun Valley Group is seeking sanctions against the two lawyers who represented the sisters, alleging they had no standing to sue for breach of fiduciary duty. The lawyers’ suit had contended Sun Valley had a duty to investigate whether the Arizona Department of Veterans Services could have served as Marie’s guardian, at a cost of only $75 a month.
Roberts decries the turn of events, especially since the lawyers worked for free. “This, apparently, is what you get in probate for trying to advocate for a defenseless widow,” she writes.