Sunday, October 31, 2010

Studies Confirm Financial Exploitation Is One Of The Fastest Growing Forms of Elder Abuse

By John North, Better Business 
Bureau Saturday, October 30, 2010

A bank called Montgomery County Adult Protective Services concerning unusual activity in a 92-year-old man’s bank account. It was discovered he was writing checks totaling $2,000 a day to neighbors. He had signed the checks, but the neighbors were writing out the rest of them. More than $700,000 was lost. Stories like this happen in our community daily.

Financial exploitation is one of the fastest growing forms of elder abuse. A study estimates there is $2.6 billion in senior financial fraud annually. An Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services report estimated more than 2,500 reports of senior exploitation in Ohio and APS reported more than 210 local cases in 2009.

Exploitation is the unlawful or improper act of obtaining or using a vulnerable adult’s funds, credit, assets or other property with intent to deprive them for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult. Signs of exploitation include:

• Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices, including unexplained withdrawals by people accompanying seniors.

• Suspicious activity on credit cards.

• Abrupt changes in wills or financial documents.

• Forged signatures for financial transactions.

Seniors are targeted because they account for 70 percent of U.S. households’ net worth. They’re polite, trusting, fear losing their freedom and physical harm. Many are ashamed of being scammed or don’t know they’ve been scammed.

The best defense is knowledge. The Better Business Bureau advises seniors to:

• Get advice from trusted family members, friends, lawyers or bankers.

• Never give out personal information to unfamiliar people or companies.

• Get everything in writing.

• Be sure blanks are completed and review and understand contracts before signing.

• Use direct deposit for checks to prevent interception.

• Beware of unsolicited notifications with phony checks claiming you’ve won.

• Avoid high-pressure or scare tactics.

• Review bank, insurance, credit card and medical bill statements regularly.

Locally, the BBB is represented on the Collaboration Against Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation, a multi-disciplinary team formed to prevent and eliminate elder abuse, neglect and the exploitation of older and vulnerable adults through education, advocacy, intervention and services. Contact the BBB for more information on elderly fraud. Visit or call (937) 222-5825 (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301

John North is president and CEO of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

Ila Swan: Effective Protector of Patients in the USA!

From Brenda Durant:

Here are some articles about Ila Swan:

The article below article appeared in the Medical Journal in Australia.
Dear member,

Ila Swan is a very remarkable lady. An ordinary (really extra-ordinary) member of the US community with no medical knowledge. She discovered what was happening through her own experiences, became intensely involved and put her heart and mind into doing something about it. She marched, she carried placards, she went out and gathered information herself - thousands of death certificates - photographs - hidden video cameras. She went to political hearings, interrupted and aggressively challenged politicians with the funding they received from nursing homes and the protection which they gave the industry. She commenced a Qui Tam action on behalf of the government. The information she provided was sufficient to convince influential people. Several GAO investigations and federal senate hearings followed.

Citizens in states across the USA took up the challenge and forced investigations and hearings. The revelations and much of the material I have supplied you about nursing homes are a consequence one way or another of her efforts. She was a motivating force behind the recent CBC news investigation and the focus of one of the segments. She has appeared on Japanese television explaining what happens in a for profit system and urging the Japanese people to reject it. She wants a citizens movement to force the United Nations to confront the stark facts of US corporate nursing homes and address it as an international human rights issue.

It is people like this, not government regulators who expose what is happening and take action. There is a vast pool of motivation and human concern to be tapped. The community nursing home where Mrs. Bishop's father is a resident is an illustration of the contribution which the community can make and an illustration of how much more effective they are than any formal government backed oversight or accreditation process. We ignore the human potential and humanity of our citizens at our peril. If we are to provide a caring service for those in need then they must be intimately involved, honest, trusting, cooperating, assisting, criticizing, monitoring, suggesting, even being difficult and disruptive.

This is simply not possible in a competitive market system where successful detection of problems and their containment is dependent on every one involved, patients, relatives and regulators being distrustful and suspicious - shopping around. In the market the disclosure of failures is a threat to economic survival and every effort is made to hide deficiencies. How can we build or maintain a society in this way? We are a community of human beings and not an impersonal marketplace driven by market principles and competition. The logic of deliberately driving a system with severely disruptive competitive pressures and then expecting to stop the problems by regulation and policing escapes me. In such a system unintended and undesirable side effects and outcomes are inevitable.

I include the text of a letter written to the Calgary Sun by Ila warning Canadians not to adopt the US system. The Sun, once a supporter of health care reform, has done its homework and is now critical of government conduct. The letter is "pure Ila" in expression. It may be difficult for an editor to publish because of its length. It would not be published in any Australian newspaper until it had been edited to extinction. It reflects the kindness, concern and humanity of the American people. Those of you who have travelled in that country will have experienced the warmth, responsiveness and kindness of the people - the willingness to be helpful, the smiling "you're welcome" to any word of thanks.

You will also be aware of their pride in America, its history and its way of life - their sense of who they are. What is happening in that country today is a profound challenge to "self" - the sort of people they really are - a very disturbing experience. Ila's letter reflects the anguish of identity in the community as it is faced with this problem - a challenge to their sense of being a "decent" people - a challenge to their strongly held historical views of the benefit of the marketplace and its role in democracy. They are finding that this great free country selling democracy to the world is no longer a democracy. It is governed by large dishonest groups with money - the buying of politicians, the control of peoples minds by marketing and buying advertising. The market has become a threat to democracy.
It is a great credit to Americans that instead of closing ranks, ordinary citizens rather than leaders have been open and self critical. I have never had to explain what I was concerned about. They have known immediately and with few exceptions have supplied me with information and assistance knowing that I would use it to attack the US health system and this would reflect on their country. They have been more concerned for our welfare and the threat which their system poses for us. These, not the multinationals are the real "global citizens" - our hope for a human world.
US people are better equipped than any other to lead the way into a shared global society. They are open, honest and very willing. At the grass roots level they are ideal global citizens. However until they reform government and harness their corporate system to the will of the people they remain a threat to the rest of the world. With their wealth and technology, and this wonderful resource of human feeling they are in a better position to lead in developing participatory democracy and then a global community than anyone else.

Ila never loses an opportunity to spread her message. I am sure that she will not mind my sharing her letter with you.

Ila's important message to Canadians is in her last paragraph. It is expressed in her usual style.

"I will tell you, like I told Japan, DO NOT ALLOW US NURSING HOMES IN YOUR COUNTRY. Do not allow your wonderful non-profit system to be taken over by for profit hospitals and health care industries. The US is a sorry example of what happens when money is involved with your health care. The minute these for-profit companies move in, they start shoving money into your governments pockets, then they become obligated to this killer industry and your citizens will be the ones that suffer. If for profit health care is allowed in your country, it will be a terrible injustice for your citizens."

This is the message from someone who has walked through hundreds of nursing homes documenting what happens. She has looked more closely at the US for profit aged care system than anyone else in the world. We should listen.

J Michael Wynne
Physician and Editor

Ila's Swan Demands


Ila Swan


It is my opinion that Ila Swan's wishes will be no more respected than Leona Helmsley’s wishes were , it's all hinges on how much cash there is to be made , if there is a sizable sum of money to be made, and any disgruntled family members who feel left out of the picture then the odds are not good for Ila .

In the case of Clara G. Fernandez she planned for this by a pre planning package that included a Trust,POA's, Health proxies, under the pretension that this would avoid the mental anguish a guardianship would bring in the case of her incapacitation and that this would hold up in court to avoid the decimating of her estate to her legitimate heirs.

Clara was under a guardianship at guardian=$400/hr guardian's attorney=$450/hr=$850/hr.

The guardian and their attorneys are always paid off the top, Clara got $400/month to survive on which sum is made to a third person in order to humiliate the victim's family in a situation in which NO effort is spared to further intimidate the victim or their family either directly or indirectly.

Clara's family get a bum rap, accusations of abuse, cruelty, theft and the most unproven and unfounded of accusations. They have been accused,tried and convicted without the benefit of a trial or even the most basic of investigations, thereby summoning totally innocent citizens who have never been convicted of any wrongdoing criminally or civil to court and forcing them to empty their bank accounts to people they have neither hired for services they have requested nor received becomes the norm in what Dr. Diane G. Armstrong, Ph.D. in the and many others consider criminal.

The Guardianship game as it is played today everyone loses and loses big except for the players who line their pockets with a lifetime of savings intended for the heirs that inherit a very vivid memory of the worst kind of betrayal and backstabbing by the very same people that he/she trusted for protection.

It's all a very traumatic situation , a hellish nightmare . Dante could not have done any better.

Related Stories: Guardians for Profit

Ila Swan: Effective Protector of Patients in the USA!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Probate Court abuses found across the U.S. (Surprised?)

by Robert Anglen and Pat Kossan - Oct. 28, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

A federal investigation into elder abuse has found that Probate Courts nationwide are failing to protect vulnerable adults from exploitation by the guardians appointed to look after their health and finances.

In a report released Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office reported instances of abuse in 45 states, including Arizona, where courts failed to conduct background checks or monitor those it put in charge of an incapacitated adult.

"It is fair to say from the report that the administration of probate issues in states is spotty at best," said Ashley Glacel, spokeswoman for the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which requested the investigation. "The GAO is saying that there is a good-old-boy network with courts and judges in some states."

For years, the committee has been receiving a flood of complaints from "desperate people" who have lost their life savings or suffered physical abuse while under the protection of state courts, staff members and committee investigators say. Glacel said the committee wants to use the findings to push for additional training for guardians, judges and others involved.

Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., committee chairman, is considering holding hearings next year

Much of the GAO report mirrors findings by The Arizona Republic, which reported that the Maricopa County Probate Court has allowed the assets of some vulnerable adults to be drained to pay fees for lawyers and private fiduciaries who serve as guardians. The fees can add up quickly to tens of thousands of dollars, especially in cases involving family disputes. Judges, who approve the fees, seldom take significant steps to end the disputes or stop the billing.

An Arizona Supreme Court committee began meeting earlier this year to consider reforms in the probate system. Among initial proposals is requiring training for relatives who serve as guardians.

The GAO identified hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation by guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia over the past 15 years. Investigators focused on cases where a judge appointed a family member, agency or private business as a guardian.

According to the GAO, guardians appointed and approved by courts in 20 cases stole $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated adults. Investigators found the courts failed in three common areas:

- Screening for criminal convictions and significant financial problems. In four states where guardians are required to be certified, investigators were able to obtain guardianships using two fictitious identities, one with bad credit and the other with a Social Security number from a dead person. The states were Illinois, Nevada, New York and North Carolina.

- Overseeing guardians once they are appointed.

- Communication between state courts and federal agencies. If a federal agency or state court uncovers abuse by a court-appointed guardian, they rarely share that information, allowing the abuse to continue.

The report was compiled from cases that have already gone through the court system. Investigators said they couldn't determine whether the abuse was widespread and added that they could not find a single website, advocacy group or federal agency that compiles comprehensive information on the subject.

Nancy Swetnam, director of the Arizona Supreme Court's certification and licensing division, which regulates private fiduciaries in the state, said the GAO findings are not surprising.

"What it is saying is there are problems across that nation," she said. "That is very consistent with what we've been saying for many years now. There have been cases of abuse by licensed fiduciaries. Some of those people are sitting in prison. Unfortunately, there is also abuse by family members."

Arizona was the first state to require private, for-profit fiduciaries to attend training, get a fingerprint background check and a credit check before being licensed. Private fiduciaries also are subject to random audits. But no such standards exist for relatives.

Two Arizona cases detailed by the GAO underscore the problem.

- A Pima County court appointed Anita Heller's niece to manage her aunt's affairs as her guardian but failed to tell the Social Security agency when it discovered the niece was misappropriating money. The niece continued to receive over $18,000 in Social Security benefits in one year. The niece was later indicted and served probation for misappropriating more than $200,000 from her aunt's estate, which the niece used to give loans and gifts for her children.

- A Cochise County court appointed Lucrecia Pacheco's niece as guardian despite the fact that she twice filed for bankruptcy and had numerous convictions for writing bad checks. A judge appointed the niece over the objections of Pacheco's attorney and allowed the niece to sell her ranch. The court later found that the niece misappropriated $150,000, leaving her incapacitated aunt in danger of losing her housing and unable to pay for medicine. The court ordered restitution and damages of $596,165. In May, the guardian still owed $397,443.

In Arizona, relatives appointed as fiduciaries are required to submit an annual report on the well-being of the ward and an accounting of the ward's finances. At Maricopa County Superior Court, an accounting office reviews the financial reports. Most states, including Arizona, have no system of oversight to make sure the ward is being well-cared for once a court appoints a relative or private fiduciary as guardian.

We been saying this for years, a better question to put to Senator Kohl and his fellow lawmakers would be. " What are you going to do about it"?

" could not find a single website, advocacy group or federal agency that compiles comprehensive information on the subject." Is this the best you could do after acknowledging the problem? I can think of dozens of sites that write comporehensively about the problem, EstateOfDenial.Com, NASGA,StopGuardianAbuse, and many others....

In many cases I hear about the abuse committed by the courts and attorneys involved
I don't think they are sacrosant and need to be focused upon as they are parties to the crime.

Ray Fernandez

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Letters to Editor from Irene Masiello

Dear Ray,

I hope you are well. I'm so sorry to hear that this fight for the seniors of our country has left you drained. I completely understand as it's what compelled me to drop the issue.

Having taking over 10 years to research, write and publish my book, "Paradise Costs-A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse," I recognize that God has granted me the peace to accept that I cannot change anyone but myself. Having done that,I realized that continuing the battle is fruitless.

I've had people from all over the country mistake me for their therapist and take hours of my time for their catharsis. I have found that most people need a member of the clergy to talk with and I have experienced their demands for my time as burdensome.

Everyone thinks their situation is unique. It's not. Everyone thinks their need to vent is a priority in my can't be. I have found people think that because my father was a victim, so am I. It's not so. I have found that people want me to listen but they don't want to buy my book.

Writing Paradise Costs was my took years and years and great personal sacrifice. I was also blessed so deeply with help and love from many including Dr. Bennett Blum who contributed so much through his generous heart to make readers aware.

At the core of elder abuse is greed...think big pharma, big oil, health insurance,the tobacco's the mantra of today's society....get more and do anything to get it. It's the transfer of wealth from the babyboomer's parents and transfer it to anyone who can steal it and, like the above, it's a big business.

Fundmentally, as I look back, I see that people don't want's easier to "marry their victimhood" and dump their issues on to someone else.

Since EA is number one in search engines I want to offer you my deepest respect for a job well done. I want to offer your readers a passage from my book and a warning. Just the way other social ills and big businesses have eventually fallen, so will this. There is a universal law that addresses this: "what goes around comes around"

To those who abuse, let this serve as a warning and let those who think they can get a free pass in their "victimhood" remember that you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Ray and I chose to be part of the solution but you won't listen...
therefore, here's reminder:

"No matter what the laws of the land are regarding elder abuse or exploitation,understanding and correcting the complex dynamics of these types of crimes will involve taking action while increasing education, improving mental health and examining one of the vast social ills that lie at its core…greed.

Materialism and its mantra–“dying with the most toys"—has reached the saturation point having generated nothing but hatred, frustration, social unrest, war, near destruction of our planet and,now, economic chaos. It’s a dangerous and endless spiral leading to an abyss of human misery and spiritual degradation—a murky, meaningless blind alley of unconsciousness leading humanity and the earth to the brink of annihilation. It’s imperative that we expand our perspective to a more universal understanding of a transcendental tapestry where we are united with each other and, ultimately, nature.

And as a society,it is our moral responsibility to weave the treads of empathy, compassion,
decency, equality and human rights into every fiber of our civilization to create a future safe rom exploitation or abuse for every citizen.

Meanwhile, the painful reality remains…predators stalk the innocent and the most vulnerable
are their victims. Those at risk or victimized, especially the elderly, cannot understand the lurking dangers, walk a picket line of protest, tackle the issues of crime and violence
aggressively nor lobby in Washington.

In view of the above, it may make sense, as suggested by a reader of the first edition of
Paradise Costs whose deceased brother was a victim, that elder abusers be legally compelled to register like child abusers.

Sadly, the elderly serve to remind us of our own mortality with so few of us comfortable
with this inevitable fact of life. The peripheral issue of denial (another deadly social ill)deepens the complexity of the issues.

And in the meantime, victims die ignored, quietly stripped of their dignity and right to life and, often times, in plain sight. Too many line up for the spoils of crimes and dignify their participation with a litany of excuses after what is, realistically, looting the assets of the vulnerable. Accountability must be put in place in a system that fails for 
too many reasons with those proven responsible facing harsh penalties including criminal charges, incarceration, suspension of professional licenses, fines, restitution, etc.

It’s vital that the issues mentioned above and demonstrated throughout the pages that
follow be viewed as a violation of human rights and solutions be vigorously pursued as
such. Paradise Costs is a social and humanitarian movement in book form urging evolution
of consciousness to address serious issues now before a worst case scenario manifests the projected numbers and beyond into reality we as a civilized nation cannot nor will not tolerate.

It is to that end this book was written. This is a proactive rally against the painful
lessons taught by my own personal history, one many of us can relate to, and by other catastrophic world events that are remembered as blights upon humanity.

Apathy and denial always costs in this “paradise” known as democracy and everywhere else on our planet.

As President John F. Kennedy once said, 'Let us resolve to be masters,not victims, of our history….' "

To all you who read this or find this on the Net...aging is the great equalizer.

Victimhood is a choice (see JFK's quote above). Do nothing and you are part of the problem.
Do something and you are part of the solution.

Donate to the Elder Justice Coalition TODAY and maybe you won't be a victim in the future. Complain? Do it to you local politician otherwise get ready, you just might be next victim.

Thinking it can't happen to you is DENIAL and it's not a river in Egypt.

(c) October 2010 - All rights reserved -Irene A. Masiello Author: Paradise Costs- A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse Afterword by: Bennett Blum, M.D.

"Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has"

Court-appointed Guardian Abuse Report Released by GAO

As posted by our friends at EstateOfDenial.Com

The Government Accountability Office has released a report detailing allegation of abuse by legal guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia. For readers of, this is hardly news. Same goes for legal industry insiders and government bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, read the full report here: GAO-Guardianship-2010. Highlights of the report are available here.

EoD will have its own analysis on the report contents and associated political posturing in the near future.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"So Sue Them, Janet"

After weeks of trying to reach California Assemblyman Dave Jones' aide, Kayte Fisher, I finally found her in today. After my numerous calls to her went unresponded to, I had appealed to others to email her with their concerns about the report to that office concerning the brazen disregard for the law evidenced by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau. The report is archived at and at

The PFB was set up by an act of the California Legislature in 2006, following public outcry concerning revelations of conservator abuse, published in the 2005 L.A. Times series, "Guardians for Profit--when a family matter becomes a business." The funding for the PFB was stalled as for two years running Governor Schwarzenegger line item vetoed the funding for the new agency. The Bureau opened its doors for business in 2008 and began to accept complaints from members of the public at that time.

The concerns in the report to Jones office focus on two issues--the revelation that the PFB has illegally closed complaints and made misstatements concerning the law to complainants and also that the PFB had ignored Public Records Act requests in violation of the law and thus isobscuring from public oversight the functioning of the Bureau.

Kayte Fisher´s response was curt: "So sue them, Janet."

She denied any capacity in which Assemblyman Dave Jones could act. "He has termed out," she explained. "You can talk to (assembly)members all day long," she stated. She denied that the California Legislature had any impact on the enforcement of the laws they constructed.

Upon further inquiry, she admitted that there was a Legislative Audit Committee which accepts requests for investigation from assemblymembers only. Members of the public must submit requests for investigations through their Legislative representatives.

She repeatedly attempted to state that the ignored public records act requests were improperly submitted. She failed to respond to the fact that the same PRA requests were promptly attended to when submitted by ElderAbuseHelp editorRay Fernandez nor to the fact that this reporter received assurances that information requested back in August,as to the cost to the state of the Melodie Scott matter, would be delivered shortly and then was never supplied. Subsequent Public Records Act requests were also ignored.

The PFB, through its press officer Russ Heimerich, has expressed displeasure that this reporter has maintained that the Bureau has fallen victim to "regulatory capture" and is violating the law to the detriment of those whom it is mandated to protect. After Heimerich sent an email complaining about this to my editor at the San Bernardino County Sentinel, the Bureau stopped responding to any and all Public Records Act requests tendered by this reporter asking for disclosure of information as to how it is handling complaints and also refused to supply information previously requested which the Bureau had already agreed to supply.

In the past week, further information has surfaced revealing that the PFB has routinely closed complaints in the absence of a legal basis to do so. Its first annual report reveals it has conducted no investigations and has made no referrals to law enforcement.

Janet Phelan
October 25, 2010


Sepsis: A deadly disorder you’ve never heard of

By Anya Martin, MarketWatch

Doctors say greater awareness, faster treatment will improve survival rates

DECATUR, Ga. (MarketWatch) — Sepsis is a leading cause of death in American hospitals, but ask most people what sepsis is, and they’ll give you a blank stare.

About 750,000 Americans get sepsis every year at a cost of $17 billion to the U.S. health-care system, and about 200,000 die from it, according to the Global Sepsis Alliance, a coalition of 250,000 intensive- and critical-care physicians.

Calgary weighs private options for health care
In Canada, rising health-care costs are prompting a call for changes to the country's popular public program. The Chamber of Commerce is making its case for a greater role for the private sector. MarketWatch's Kristen Gerencher reports from Calgary, Alberta.

But 60% of Americans are unfamiliar with sepsis, and 30% who have heard the word can’t define it, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Manhasset, N.Y.

Sepsis is a global medical emergency with 18 million cases internationally every year, according to 150 medical professionals, researchers and policymakers from 18 countries, who attended the Merinoff Symposium, an international sepsis conference, in September.

As a key first step to increasing public familiarity of sepsis, the group ratified a new definition of the disease. “It’s a major problem when the leading killer can’t even be described,” said Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, president of the Feinstein Institute, which hosted the symposium. “People need to know what it is in order to incite the response necessary to cure it.”

Tracey urges doctors, media and other stakeholders around the globe to use this definition routinely: “Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.”

That is, you contract another disorder, such as flu, pneumonia, cancer, bladder infection, appendicitis, skin infection, trauma, or any other bacterial, viral or fungal infection, including MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections, but it’s the body’s severe protective reaction to that infection, not the infection itself, which may lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death.

Complicating and often delaying diagnosis, initial symptoms of septic patients resemble those for other disorders, including low blood pressure, fever or chills, trouble breathing and general weakness.

Surgical patients who develop an infection and then sepsis stay in the hospital almost 11 days longer, at a cost of $32,900, and one in five die, according to a study of 1998-2006 discharge records reported in the September 2010 issue of Infection Control Today.

At Ohio State University Medical Center, one third of the patients on the intensive care unit at any given time have sepsis, said James M. O’Brien, an ICU doctor at the Columbus hospital and a board member of the Global Sepsis Alliance. More public awareness of sepsis can only improve doctor-patient communication, he said.

“A big part of my job is giving people bad news and telling them that their loved one is dying or has died,” he said. “It’s difficult in all circumstances, but it’s even more difficult when their loved one is dying of something that the family has never heard of.”

Even the healthy are susceptible
Chances are someone you know has had sepsis, but even the patient may not know because many physicians avoid the term, O’Brien said.

A 2004 survey of 1,000 physicians in Europe and U.S. found agreement that sepsis is a leading cause of death in critical-care units and that similar symptoms to other conditions may lead to under-reporting. However, only 10% called the diagnosis “sepsis” when speaking to patients’ relatives, while 85% referred to sepsis as a “complication” of another condition.

You may be more susceptible to sepsis if you have a weakened immune system due to an illness such as cancer or AIDS or because of medical treatments such as chemotherapy, steroids or an organ transplant. Seniors and babies, whose immune systems are not fully developed, are also at greater risk.

But healthy people of all ages contract sepsis, O’Brien said. “In all honesty, we don’t know why when you take 10 people and expose them to an infectious agent, [such as] a bacteria, some of them never get the bacteria, some get the infection and get better, and some develop sepsis and die from it,” he said.

A year ago, Jennifer Ludwin, a 23-year-old Ohio State University graduate student, ran daily and was completely healthy. Then in October 2009, she developed a severe sore throat and high fever and began coughing up blood.

On her first emergency room visit, Ludwin received fluids and was sent home. A few days later, when her symptoms worsened, she returned and was admitted with H1N1 flu so severe her body triggered septic shock.

Ludwin remained hospitalized for 100 days. Her sepsis was so invasive and fast-spreading that to halt its progress, surgeons had to remove her gall bladder, perform a thoracotomy on her left lung, and amputate her legs below her knees, all her fingers on her left hand and partial digits on her right hand. She has had 18 surgeries to date with more to come.

“It’s a weird feeling because you realize you came so close to dying, but you have no memories of it,” Ludwin said. “In a way you don’t believe it. My parents even had to discuss funeral arrangements for me.”

Fast treatment crucial to survival
Research studies have found that hospital deaths from sepsis could be reduced significantly by the simple practice of administering antibiotics and fluids sooner, O’Brien said.

“With septic shock, delays of antibiotics by even 30 minutes can prevent someone from dying,” he said. “The chance of dying goes up 8% per hour of delayed antibiotics.”

At Ohio State University Medical Center, an investigation of antibiotic orders by emergency physicians found an up-to-four-hour delay between prescription and patient delivery. Now if a patient comes into the emergency room with low blood pressure, a key indicator for septic shock, antibiotic orders default to a high priority category for immediate dispensing, O’Brien said.

Attendees of the Merinoff Symposium issued a statement calling for initiating antibiotics, fluids and other emergency actions “within one hour of suspicion of sepsis.” Meanwhile several large U.S. health-care systems are speeding up procedures for patients with sepsis symptoms, including North Shore-LIJ, which operates 28 facilities and services in New York state.

North Shore-LIJ’s program launched last year and already the system saw its mortality rate for septic patients drop to about 19% in June 2010 from 26% in 2008, said Dr. Kenneth J. Abrams, the health system’s associate chief medical officer.

His dream is that soon early intervention for sepsis will be as routine as that for heart attacks. “Today, a patient feels chest pain, self-administers an aspirin at home, then oftentimes therapy begins with an EKG transmitted to the hospital from the ambulance,” Abrams said. “A team is waiting to care for the patient upon hospital arrival and he’s in the cath lab within 60 to 90 minutes.”

About $100 million in U.S. research dollars is spent on sepsis annually, compared to about $700 million for breast cancer and about $300 million for stroke or prostate cancer, according to National Institutes of Health data.

Anya Martin is a freelance writer, based in Decatur, Ga.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why I'm Depressed

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel, "Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land."

Nearly 75 years ago,(when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, "Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land."

Today, the government has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of camels and mortgaged the Promised Land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Care Plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc . . . called a Suicide Hotline. I had to press 1 for English. I was connected to a call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal.

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck......

Call To Action !

The report to Assemblyman Dave Jones´ office (archived here =>>ElderAbuseHelp.Org and at JanetPhelan.Com) reveals a disturbing level of complicity by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau with the crimes that the Bureau is pledged to investigate and curtail.

The issues that have been uncovered so far are summarized here:

1) The Bureau has been caught lying to complainants in order to illegally close down complaints.

2) The Bureau has evidenced a brazen disregard for sunshine laws and has been violating the public records act in order to obscure its own functioning.

3) The Bureau, through its attorney, has lied to the press in order to obscure the nature of its activities.

The PFB was set up to protect vulnerable elders in the State of California from unscrupulous and predatory conservators. It is not only failing to do so, but its contempt for the sunshine laws reveals that this Bureau appears to believe itself to be above the law.

I am requesting the recipients of this message to take immediate action and contact Dave Jones´ office and state your concerns in an email to Jones´aide Kayte Fisher. Her email is

Thank you. The elderly and disabled of California deserve better. If you have any questions, please contact me at


Janet Phelan

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Janet Phelan's Radio Show,This Monday

I will be on "The Truther Girls" from 5-6 pm CT this coming Monday. The show is widely syndicated (check American Freedom Radio´s website for a station near you). Alternately, you can listen off the web at :

The subject is conservatorships as a systemic issue--who is protecting this process and why?

Janet Phelan

Elder Abuse: America's Dirty Secret

Ken Connor

The plight of elderly Americans has been a top concern of the Center for a Just Society since our inception in 2005, and as senior citizens comprise an ever increasing percentage of our nation's population, the need is greater than ever to draw attention to a little discussed, little known epidemic in American health care. According to a new study released this month by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), eldercare abuse in America has escalated from a shameful problem to a full-blown humanitarian crisis. As the report illustrates, our nation's looming demographic boom will pose more than a financial challenge for our society – it will pose a moral challenge that is just as important: What kind of care and treatment does our society consider appropriate for its most vulnerable members?

As an attorney I have spent decades representing elderly men and women who have endured unspeakable abuse and neglect in nursing homes. Often, these conditions were so reprehensible and so degrading that – were they unearthed at daycare centers or even federal penitentiaries – members of Congress and the media would be crusading for reform. The AAJ's report is rife with illustrations: A nursing home resident whose leg was amputated after becoming infested with maggots; an Alzheimer's patient who died trapped in a freezer; a Florida nursing home resident who suffered from multiple falls, severe weight loss, multiple pressure sores, infections, dehydration, and eventually death by starvation; patients at a home in Illinois who were given antipsychotic drug injections "assembly-line style" as a means of "chemical restraint;" and an elderly nursing home resident who was sexually assaulted in the middle of the night at the hands of an orderly who was an ex-con.

If something major doesn't change, and change soon, this is the kind of fate that awaits multitudes of Americans expected to join the ranks of the institutionalized elderly in the coming decades.

One of the major reasons why these reprehensible acts occur is because a culture of ruthless profiteering pervades much of the eldercare industry. Many nursing home operators are little more than real estate developers posing as health care providers. Large publicly owned companies and a consortium of private equity groups are finding the industry increasingly attractive. Their "rental units" are beds rather than apartments or condominiums or offices, and their "rental stream" is guaranteed by the federal government through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Patients with many needs (typically Medicare patients who have been just discharged from the hospital) are their target "market" because Medicare provides a higher reimbursement than other government entitlement programs. A filled bed represents a guaranteed income stream. An empty bed generates no revenue. Hence, the facilities engage in aggressive marketing campaigns to ensure high "occupancy levels." And since labor accounts for the largest expense in the nursing home budget, operators often understaff their facilities in order to maximize profits. While these practices may be good for the bottom line, they are devastating for the patients. From the AAJ report:

For-profit nursing homes have on average 32 percent fewer nurses and 47 percent higher deficiencies than their non-profit counterparts. . . . This increased emphasis on profits has led to a distressing rise in neglected and abused seniors. Between 2000 and 2008, instances of "immediate jeopardy" – violations likely to result in serious harm or even death – rose 22 percent. More than 90 percent of all nursing homes were guilty of at least one violation.

How have we allowed this to happen? In addition to the demographic and economic factors at play – the ranks of the elderly are swelling, the birthrate is declining, and our entitlement programs are on the brink of collapse – there is an underlying cultural component to the elder abuse crisis in America. Over the last several decades American society has gradually shifted from a "sanctity of life" to a "quality of life" ethic. Increasingly obsessed with youth and utility, we have come to evaluate the net worth of human beings based on cost-benefit ratios and quality of life calculus. And not surprisingly, the elderly (who cost more to maintain than they produce, whose functional capacities have deteriorated because of old age or illness, and who serve as unwelcome reminders of our own mortality) do not score well using these standards. In the next 20 or 30 years, when our expanding elder cohort is consuming valuable resources and is no longer deemed "useful," one shudders to imagine what "solutions" might be devised to deal with the growing problem of eldercare.

The crisis of eldercare abuse, then, is one that begs for our attention and demands a solution. First and foremost, it is critical that the American people begin to view eldercare as one of the great moral problems of our generation. For too long we have viewed the coming Senior Tsunami solely in abstract economic terms while ignoring the "human factors" at stake. For the younger generations in particular – those expected to bear the fiscal brunt of replenishing our anemic entitlement infrastructure – it is easy for a sentiment of bitterness to prevail. However, we must remember that the elderly – no matter how disabled or helpless – are human beings who deserve to be treated with the full measure of dignity and respect. America's senior citizens should not become victims of a sliding scale that erodes their humanity as their faculties decline. Those of us who care about the creation of a just society must be willing to defend the rights of the elderly no less vigorously than the rights of the unborn.

For Christians, the Bible is quite clear on this point. Most folks know that the Ten Commandments call upon us to honor our parents, but the Scriptures also tell us that we have a responsibility to care for our elders with willing hearts, in gratitude for the care they showed to us. St. Paul's first letter to Timothy tells us that children and grandchildren "should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God." (1 Tim. 5:4) Paul is adamant on this point: "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim. 5:8)

The Apostle Paul’s message runs against the grain of modern American culture, which places a significant value on the immediate family but focuses little on the moral and civic obligations we have to our extended family and community elders (so few of us, after all, even identify with a discrete community anymore!). All the more reason, then, why a targeted campaign to ensure justice for the infirm and the elderly is critical. Next to the battle to secure the rights of the unborn, protecting the rights of the elderly in America may well turn out to be the most important civil rights movement of the 21st century.


Famous Quotes.- In times of Deceit

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act,” George Orwell
Democracy isn't about talking pretty or playing paddy cakes all day , it is about telling the truth and the truth is sometimes ugly, often times people do not want to hear it, but we are going to tell it here and we are going to expose the people that feel that can profit from the misery of others and operate in the darkness with inmunity.

The war against elder abuse is going to be fought with tears and suffering also with facts, statistics and truth and we are going to fight it one battle at a time and we are are not going to be intimidated into silence.

Friday, October 15, 2010



The California Professional Fiduciaries Bureau was established by an Act of the California Legislature in 2006, following public outcry over the revelations in a Los Angeles Times investigative series. Entitled "Guardians for Profit--When a Family Matter Becomes a Business," the Times series detailed corrupt and abusive practices by California conservators for the elderly and disabled. The population impacted by conservatorships constitute some of the most vulnerable and at risk citizens of the State of California.

As a source for the Times’ articles, I was in regular contact with the lead reporter for the series, Robin Fields and was personally aware that the Times did not publish details of some of the worst abuses. Nor did the series attempt to scrutinize the systemic accommodations which allowed the abuse to flourish. Some of these details were imparted to me by Fields in telephone conversations in late 2002. In a phone conversation which took place in September of 2003, Fields also disclosed to me that the articles, which were originally slated for publication in Fall of 2003, were being "sat on" by the editors of the Times. The series kicked off in November of 2005.

Governor Schwarzenegger line- item vetoed the funding for the PFB two years running and the Bureau finally opened its doors in 2008.


Recent revelations as to the functioning of the PFB point to considerable irregularities and support allegations that the PFB is violating not only the law which brought the Bureau into exitence, but is violating other laws as well, including sunshine and transparency laws.

According to its own statistics, published in its annual report, the PFB has done no
investigations and no referrals to law enforcement. When this reporter requested information relating to law enforcement referrals, I was told by DCA Legal Counsel Gary Duke that this was nondiscloseable information (Exhibit 1)

In fact, this information is clearly available in the annual report, which is online.

On September 1, 2010 this reporter requested the following information (email in its entirety below):

I would like to request the following stats:

1) the number of applications for license received by the PFB

2) the number of applications for license denied by the PFB

3) the number of complaints referred to law enforcement by the PFB/DCA

As this request only asks for stats, it is my understanding that the privacy concerns in the PRA are therefore honored and that you should have no problem --legally--fulfilling this request.

No response or acknowledgement to this PRA request has been received as of today, October 7, 2010. Per the CPRA, the Bureau has ten days to acknowledge the request and is in legal default.. A follow up email was also sent to Russ Heimerich, Press Officer for the DCA (Exhibit 2).

On August 16, 2010, this reporter memorialized in writing a previous verbal request, made to Legal Counsel Gary Duke, asking for the cost to the State of California on the Melodie Scott matter (Exhibit 3). Although Russ Heimerich assured me that my request would be responded to, the request has not been fulfilled as of October 7, 2010.

On July 24, 2010, this reporter had queried of Legal Counsel Gary Duke if either the PFB or DCA could possibly contact law enforcement concerning Melodie Scott's continuing to advertise herself as a Professional Fiduciary on her public website, in the face of being denied a licence (Exhibit 4a). Duke had previously informed me that this is a misdemeanor. This request was specifically made due to the repeated failure of law enforcement to act on reports alleging criminal activity by Melodie Scott. As a matter of fact, Gina Rilke, a resident of Riverside, California, had contacted the Redlands Police Department attempting to file this report on August 16, 2010,

Officer Eric Strobaugh informed Rilke that no charges would be filed against Scott based on her allegations and that the report needed to be tendered by the PFB. He did supply her an incident number,

Gary Duke has declined to state whether or not the agencies have contacted law enforcement in this matter. A follow up call to the RPD in mid-August confirmed that no report had been entered by the DCA or PFB concerning this issue.

Gil Deluna, the head of the PFB, did respond to a PRA query on August 5, 2010 in which this reporter requested statistics (see Exhibit 5). When another PRA was filed requesting a further breakdown of the stats he provided, detailing the disposition of reports, DeLuna failed to respond.

The issue of disposition or resolution of reports is most troubling. On June 16, 2010, PFB analyst Angela Bigelow informed complainant Janis Schock that the PFB would have to get a court determination of wrongdoing before the PFB would investigate (Exhibit 6). This is a gross misstatement of the Professional Fiduciaries Act. Legal Counsel Gary Duke agreed that Bigelow wrote "erroneously" in her email to Schock. When this reporter questioned Duke as to whether Bigelow had closed other complaints "erroneously," he refused this information, stating that Bigelow's behavior was a personnel matter and thus not discloseable. The previously mentioned email to DeLuna (in Exhibit 5) was issued as an attempt to ferret out what is happening to complaints tendered to the PFB.

And that brings us to the question of how these complaints are being resolved, a question which remains unanswered. A number of complainants have contacted this reporter and stated that their complaints seem to have vanished into the bowels of the PFB, without any evidence or notice of resolution. No complainant has contacted this reporter stating that he or she has received a notice of resolution.

This reporter submitted her own complaint on September 26 2010 and I have not received an acknowledgement letter. At the time of submitting the report, I withdrew my previous report, which was over a year old and had not been acted upon.

Following the failure of the PFB to respond to my PRA request of September 1 and follow up emails (see Exhibit 1), I requested a blogger, Ray Fernandez of, to cut and paste my request and submit it to the Bureau (Exhibit 7). Fernandez received a reply within twenty four hours When I emailed Duke to ask him why he failed to respond to the PRA when it was first submitted by me, he again failed to respond (Exhibit 8).

It should be noted that the PFB's response to Fernandez contains the link to the annual report, which contains many of the stats I had requested and was previously told were nondiscloseable.

I have made it clear to the DCA that I believe that the Bureau is accommodating abuse and patently illegal practice by conservators and fiduciaries and that the Bureau's adherence to its mandate to provide oversight is nearly non- existent. This perception is increasingly buttressed by the following factors: The Bureau's own statistics; The Bureau's brazen disregard for sunshine laws; by the disturbing and quite illegal disposition of Janis Schock's complaint; as well as by the Bureau's failure to process other complaints.

The fact that the PFB does not "like" the viewpoint held by this reporter--a viewpoint which is appearing more and more to be supported by fact--does not give the PFB the latitude to ignore the Public Records Act. In fact, the continued denial of bonafide requests for information only supports the perception that something is very wrong indeed at the PFB.


The evidence is growing that the PFB is operating under a veil of secrecy and is doing so with contempt for the laws of the State of California. The PFB has violated its own process for handling incoming complaints and has demonstrated contempt for inquiries into its functioning. Of added concern is that a lawyer for the DCA, Gary Duke, has misstated the PRA and thereby inhibited release of information that is clearly available to the public in the annual report.

A thorough and public inquiry into these matters is therefore requested. The vulnerable citizens of the State of California are not being protected by such shoddy practices as detailed herein. The oversight promised by the PFA has not come to fruition; indeed, it appears that all that has been accomplished is that another layer of bureaucracy is now in place and California’s vulerable elders and disabled remain at risk to predatory and unscrupulous conservators.

Submitted this 7th day of October, 2010

Janet C. Phelan

258 A Street 1-15

Ashland, Oregon 97520

(541) 603-0514

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Last Patrol

Few people are aware what our young men and women in uniform have to go through and the sacrifices they make to make sure that our liberties are not trampled upon as they often are by the same people who should know better!

In an un usual deviation from our subject matter this is a story of amazing courage and wits that is worth telling, please read it!

In September 2009, the second platoon of Charlie Company arrived in Afghanistan with 42 men. Ten months later, nearly half had been killed or wounded, mostly in the Arghandab Valley—a key to controlling southern Afghanistan. Now these 82nd Airborne troops were getting ready to leave the Arghandab behind. They had one more dangerous job to do: a joint mission with the untried artillery unit that would replace them patrolling the fields, orchards, and villages they called the Devil’s Playground.

Brian Mockenhaupt

Read this amazing story here =>> The Last Patrol

Monday, October 11, 2010

Attention – Concerned Citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland

Calling all citizens concerned about human rights and justice in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Maryland. Ria Rochvarg and her cronies are at it again! This time, it is with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Aging and Disability Services and Peggy Odick, associate county attorney. Jeffrey Benjamin Shapiro is the 27 year old, autistic son of Daniel Noel Shapiro and Sandra Jean Shapiro. Jeffrey has three siblings, one a twin, all of whom care, very deeply, for their brother. Since March of this year, Jeffrey’s parents have, only, been able to visit him seven times, i.e. approximately, once a month. Daniel Shapiro informs me that his family has been restricted from communicating with the management at the group home, where Jeffrey resides, in Silver Spring. Furthermore, visitation with Jeffrey takes place at the offices of Montgomery County Health and Human Services through a glass window. The Shapiro family believes Jeffrey is being overmedicated, based on Jeffrey’s appearance, when they visit. Daniel and Sandra were Jeffrey’s appointed guardians, until the county stepped in, earlier this year, and took control. Jeffrey has, also, been challenged with epileptic seizures, which occur, rather, frequently. Daniel shared with me that, during one of these seizures, Jeffrey was, particularly, violent and was hitting him. Daniel attempted to restrain Jeffrey’s violence; however, his efforts were misinterpreted as violence against Jeffrey. As a result, criminal charges were filed against Daniel, the father. He was charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult by the custodian, reckless endangerment and second degree assault. Daniel insists these are false allegations and that he would never hurt his son. Common sense would dictate, unless one is familiar with the extent of the flailing that can take place, during a full on seizure, such an eyewitness can, hardly, be considered reliable to interpret efforts to help the victim; instead, as violence, as has taken place, against Daniel, the father. Yet, this is the foundation for Jeffrey being isolated from his family and severe restrictions, against the family, for visits. They want to see their son, more frequently, but, according to Daniel, those in the system make it, extremely, difficult, to do so.

From my own experience, with the Office on Aging, in Howard County, and with court appointed attorney, Ria Rochvarg, working against the best interest of my parents, false allegations and severe visitation restrictions are a familiar M.O.! It is from my own experience that I have learned to question the intentions and the monetary conflicts of interest of those in the system, with these, so-called, “guardianships”. It is from my own experience that I suspect that this is, yet, another fixed case with false allegations.

With this, I’m calling all concerned citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland. A three day hearing is set for 9:30 A.M., tomorrow, Tuesday, October 12, 2010 and continuing through Wednesday and Thursday, October 13th and 14th. Although it appears to be a guardianship “hearing” the court is referring to it as a “trial”. This, greatly, concerns me, as to the intent. Generally, Ria Rochvarg violates Maryland statutes and waives the rights of the elderly or disabled to have a jury hearing or to be present at their own hearing. Calling it a “trial”, instead of a “hearing”, while having a jury, gives the, distinct, impression of a “criminal” court, although this is, certainly, taking place in the Montgomery County Circuit court and not the District Court and is a guardianship “hearing”. If you are a concerned citizen and will attend these hearings, please locate the courtroom by the case number 72641FL (Guardianship hearing for Jeffrey Shapiro).

Maybe, just maybe, with enough eyewitnesses in the courtroom, the Shapiro family can have a fair hearing. Otherwise, I fear the outcome is, already, etched in stone. Ria Rochvarg has a history of intimidating family members, with threats, and colluding with the other players in the system, i.e. social services and “service” providers, against the family and against the best interest of the elderly or disabled person. Isolating an elderly or disabled person from their family is mentally and emotionally devastating, to both the disabled person and to their loving family members! These crimes against humanity and the racketeering scheme that is behind them MUST STOP! If you care about your own rights and freedom in Montgomery County, Maryland, please, attend the hearing/trial, this week at the Montgomery County Circuit Court, 50 Maryland Ave, Rockville, MD.

Thank you and God bless!

Barbara Morris

Advocate and daughter of William and Ada Morris, falsely, imprisoned victims of the Howard County Office on Aging, Ria Rochvarg and the entire justice system in Maryland

Monday, October 4, 2010

Come To Philly Today: Let your Voices Be Heard







Police Provide Muscle for Social Workers to Seize Children/Elders

Police is often the muscle that Social Services agencies need to rip children and elders from their un suspecting families, who then write and say that they "Did not think this could happen to them"

Eleven days ago a Kent mother noticed a small mark on her five-year-old son’s ankle. He couldn’t say what had caused it. She dabbed on some antiseptic cream and thought no more about it. Two days later his school noticed the mark and contacted social services. The mother was summoned to hospital and told to sign a form allowing her two children to be kept in care by social workers until she had been interviewed by the police. She was driven 15 miles to Folkestone police station where she was interviewed and held in a cell until midnight. The police then confiscated her BlackBerry, saying it was needed as evidence, and told her she would have to walk home.

Read it all here=>>telegraph

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Please Write the County Commissioners by Monday

Please make a difference, their fight is our fight!

WE NEED TO CHANGE THE INQUEST PROCESS! They meet next Tuesday, October 5th. Please email all of the County Commissioners listed below by Monday. If you do not live in Las Vegas, tell them that you will not vacation or retire in their city simply because you don’t feel safe. You can use the template letter below or write your own. Please email this template to as many people that you know that may have an interest in this situation. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!!


Dear County Commissioners,

I respectfully request that you change the Clark County Coroner's Inquest process to ensure ALL facts surrounding the death of any victim killed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers are presented fairly at the deceased's hearing. To that end, I request your immediate action to ensure the family's attorney can:

Cross-examine all witnesses presented by the District Attorney, including the Metro officers involved.

Challenge evidence presented by the District Attorney.

Present witnesses on behalf of the victim's family.

Present additional evidence.

Require the Coroner, District Attorney and Metro police officials to disclose key evidence to the family's attorney prior to the inquest hearing, including homicide investigators' reports and the coroner's autopsy and toxicology reports.

Further, the District Attorney must not be involved in the inquest process, because the DA is not an independent party.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives should not be allowed to investigate officer-involved incidents that result in death. Instead, an independent third party, which has no relationship or involvement with any Police Protective Association (PPA), should investigate all officer-involved shootings, accidents, etc.

All findings of the third-party investigation must be shared with the victim's family, its attorney and representatives of the PPA at a pre-inquest meeting, prior to the formal hearing.

The PPA should have its attorney at that meeting to assist in reviewing evidence and facts.

In addition to the jury, members of an independent citizen's review board should be present at all inquest-related hearings, empowered to make inputs and evaluations. Its primary objective would be to ensure better training and avoid the use of excessive force by Metro officers.

Jury instructions must be written and presented to jury members prior to the initiation of the formal inquest hearing.

The inquest hearing should always be televised and video-streamed via Internet, enabling interested parties in the community to monitor all hearing proceedings.

Not implementing these changes virtually guarantees that a victim's hearing will be extremely one-sided, only carefully selected "facts" and data will be presented, and the DA's and Metro's focus will be on assassinating a victim's character, not on answering questions surrounding how and why the person was killed.

As it stands today, the ordinance governing the conduct of any Clark County Coroner's Inquest proceeding violates any reasonable interpretation of constitutional "due process." Thank you for ensuring it is changed immediately.


your name here

Related: America is Not Safe for Elders, for Anyone?

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Message For Senior Society

Since no one will come out and say the truth, I have a message for senior society. You did good. You did too good. You were born in the depression-Post depression days. You served your country, worked hard, initiated Unions, bought homes, raised children, and saved your money.

That was the mistake that will cause your misery now.

Your children got caught up in an era spending money without working for it. Over extending themselves financially, not worrying about paying it back. Credit cards, no income check adjustable rate morgages, Junk bonds, Hedge funds, Ponzi schemes. What a mess.You kept your money in the bank, or real estate. That makes you fair game now, for your debt ridden bankrupt children.

Is this what the President means by redistributing the wealth? Put the old people in barracks and keep them numb while courts allow your life's work to be plundered. Well, take heart, it will bring them no good. They can't resist their gambling addiction, they'll be sure this is the right investment, or this times an adjustable rate will go down or some other nonsense. I'm real sorry for you, and and all of ours moms, you should be legally protected, but instead your are hung out to dry.

Mary Destefano

Observations Regarding the Adele Chris Act

by Tom Fields

Holly Peffer's efforts to rescue her mother, Rita Denmark, from an abusive guardianship in Florida prompted PA Congressman Sestak to write several letters like that posted online at

Now a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday, October 8, 2010 at 2:30 P.M. at the McKean County Pennsylvania Orphan's Court. I don't know how this hearing in PA can compel Florida to return Rita to PA, but let's all show Holly our support and send the state of Florida a message that it needs to hear loud and clear.

Meanwhile, everyone needs to realize that despite the efforts of numerous others, including Joe Roubicek, John Caravella and Congressman Sestak, opportunists in Florida are still able to take advantage of the elderly. With this in mind, I applaud the effort of John Caravella and others to address the need for federal legislation. What I now ask is that everyone join in to make sure that the proposed legislation, the Adele Chris Act, does not let us down. For example, as I've observed for those who communicate directly with me, this legislation still needs to establish a sound evidentiary threshold that must be met before the petitioner can be granted standing. Without such a threshold, we will still be vulnerable to those who would compel us, against our will, to undergo and pay for evaluations and hearings. Without such a threshold, some members of the Bar will take advantage of this legislation so as to initiate even more lucrative jury trials. Personally, I am wary of any legislation which the Bar and/or Judiciary supports. I have seen the Bar and Judiciary advocate too much harmful legislation and oppose too many efforts to legislate reasonable safeguards against legal abuse.

Elders Can Have Zero Rights But is Hiding Out in Puerto Rico the Answer?

When friends or relatives start guardianship cases, the target can often end up losing basic rights we often take for granted. Tonight investigative Reporter Carmel Cafiero is on a case with an unusual ending.

WSVN -- Stewart Rosenkrantz finally feels safe in his Fort Lauderdale home again. For more than a year, he was afraid authorities would come and take him away.

His brother filed a petition in court claiming Stewart was being unduly influenced by his roommate. Stewart says his brother was really only interested in taking control of his money and that brought Stewart before general magistrate Alan Methelis.

Across the table from Stewart, his brother Bruce from New York who testified he just wanted to protect Stewart.

Bruce Rosenkrantz: "Because I've seen Stewart being taken advantage of and I felt I had to act."

As a result of the petition, several court appointed experts examined Stewart and after spending only a matter of hours with him determined Stewart could own a gun drive his van but not manage his property.

Stewart Rosenkrantz: "I didn't even know what the guardian program was and all of a sudden I'm going to be subjected to that?"

Stewart was injured in an accident years ago. He won a court settlement for his injuries and has managed his finances ever since.

He hired attorney Ed Dinna to help him fight off his brother.

Ed Dinna: "He's on top of his affairs and he is financially sound, and that's the man that this brother is destroying. He's destroying his health."

Stewart paid for three more evaluations, which all concluded he is competent contradicting that court appointed committee, and his personal doctor testified in a deposition that she never met with one committee member despite the fact that one doctor's report to the court quoted her.

Dr. Anne Blenke: "I've never had a consultation with him."

Stewart was so afraid of how this case would end that he spent months at a home he owns in Puerto Rico hiding out.

Stewart Rosenkrantz: "I was there in constant fear that something would happen. That they would seize my assets, take my home."

And his fears are not without foundation.

Lucille Gitten: "Leave me alone."

Last year, 95-year-old Lucille Gittens was taken from her son's home by a court court appointed guardian after living with him and his family for 30 years. Other family members claimed the son was taking advantage of her. She died not long after in a nursing home. When guardians are appointed, a person can lose all rights.

Scott Tuckman: "It's been many, many times over many years."

So when his brother testified, Stewart had been the victim of exploitation and his future was on the line.

Scott Tuckman: "No one's trying to lock him up. No one's trying to say that he must have constant care. We're saying that someone should manage his property and his affairs for his own protection."

But in the battle of the Rosenkrantz brothers, Stewart won. The magistrate didn't buy Bruce's case.

Stewart Rosenkrantz: "Well I'm very relieved that we won and it's something that other people don't have happen very often."

The court denied his brother's petition and for stewart it is as if the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders. He's back to playing with his parrot and taking still photos, but he may never forgive his brother.

Stewart Rosenkrantz: "I won't talk to him, what good would it do?"

His victory is also bittersweet.

Ed Dinna, who fought so hard for Stewart to keep control of his life passed away shortly after winning the case.

Miami-Dade: 305-627-CLUE
Broward: 954-921-CLUE


Letters to Editor:From Bad to Worst to Worser

Hello Ray;

Bad to worst to worser, soul crushing. I wish it were last year when I was 10 years younger. Remember me? I don't. Last year at this time, my sister (gag reaction) petitioned for guardianship of our mother, a capable woman, enjoying the first anniversary of her retirement. The night before I arrived from Florida to visit her, she suffered an almost fatal Head Trauma and lapsed into a coma. She survived, rehabilitated, and agreed to try an assisted living with no commitment, before deciding if she would rather return to her home with assistance, or relocate to the assisted living, Jefferson's Ferry Life Care community in South Setauket NY. Haldol was administered at high levels before the Incapacity Tests were administered. Before we knew it, mom was a prisoner.

Her lawyer was appointed by the judge, who is Vice President of the NY Bar Association. Adjunct Professor of the Tauro Law School Pro- Bono Dept., who the Suffolk County Dept. of the Aging now contracts with for free legal services for the county's Seniors, instead of Legal Aide. My sister's $400 an hour attorney was paid out of mom's money as allowed in NYS Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 under which this travesty proceeded.

Being of the same personal financial status as my sister, unable to pay an attorney myself, and being frozen out by both attorney's, I cross-petitioned pro se'. Arguing the co-incidence of the Haldol and the date of the Incompetence Test. Offering documentation that mom, with a heart condition, should not be on Haldol, or at least, the smallest effective dosage as stated by the AMA. Objecting that mom did not receive the physical Therapy ordered in her release papers from the Rehabilitation. Cross examining and prevailing over a mis-statement submitted to the court about mom's required level of care, and ensuing mis-billing. Now spell check caught those words, but the judge used them to deny perjury and fraud.

We may finally have come to the truth of the matter, when I cross examined the petitioner's testimony that mom was not a Madoff Victim, as I had implied to the court. I asked if mom had an account with First Allied Securities. The attorney screamed object, the judge yelled sustained. I said why? The judge said sustained. I looked around the closed court and realized, it would never show up on the transcript and there's nothing I could do about it. Yeah, the court examiner was there, but he's the President of the Nassau County Bar, and if he and the judge didn't see anything wrong with the deaf mute sitting in the defense attorney's chair, why would this be wrong?

I made it the SEC's problem. I just wanted them to verify the documents I found to substantiate the Madoff victim claim, back in July. Well if it took them 8 years from being informed that Madoff was a Ponzi, how long will I wait? I called last week, September 21st, and they're investigating. I investigated, I needed verification. I went on the SEC's 606 rules of routing disclosure and found FAS, a diversified entity, one third funded by Madoff Securities. I sent a copy of mom's receipt from FAS. Yes or No? Is it hopeless? Does anyone care that the petitioner became unemployed when her investment layer boss of 25 years closed his office the week Madoff became public, and mom received her Head Trauma? Will the Office of Federal Thrift, which oversees Federal banks, confirm if mom was receiving monthly direct deposit from FAS until December 2008 when Madoffs Assets were frozen? Is there something else I can do?

Labor Day Weekend I got a short brutal message from the petitioner, who has not communicated with me since she petitioned. It said mom had fallen out of her wheelchair and was at Stony Brook Hospital. I had to explain to the doctor that mom's Health Proxy does not speak to me, we're in court. The doctor said mom sustained no apparent injury from the fall, but that they found multiple blood clots in her chest. They don't really know what's causing them, but they think it might be her pace maker. They put her on blood thinners, to hopefully clear the clots. The doctor found mom to be in need of some physical therapy, which she would prescribe. I told her, I already complained about that to no avail The doctor said that for some reason mom didn't want to take the blood thinners back at the assisted living. She implied mom might be wrong in the head. I asked the doctor if the Health Proxy had informed her that mom had a massive Head Trauma and coma two years ago with severe inter-cranial bleeding? She had not. Would the blood thinners effect that? It was written down. I explained that this is the third injury mom suffered at this facility, once a bruise to the spot of the original trauma, and once when a worker ran into her with his cart, raising a bump, to the same spot. Mom is afraid there and knows she will bleed to death twice as fast if she's injured again. Does that sound crazy? Mom was returned to the facility on blood thinners anyway.

I'm on my way back to the hospital today because a friend e-mailed me an alert from the FDA that Haldol effectively, causes blood clots in the chest. There's your answer doctor. I'll drop one off with the director of the facility, and the in house doctor, who prescribes it for virtually all residents too. If they have to stop administering it, the zombies will wake up.

I don't expect any fairness, or justice or concern, even from people who get paid to administer it. You can print this anywhere without fear, because I can prove it all and more. But I expect all I can do is continue to be there for mom so that she doesn't fight alone, and share in her horror.

Maryann Destefano