But her memory is questionable.
It took more than three months for a guardian to be appointed to the woman. Then another four to find out she was JoAnn Brown, born Sept. 26, 1941, in Rocky Mountain, N.C.
"I'm asking constantly to leave, I'm just totally ignored, as if I have some type of medical disorder."
"I was told I would come over to this place for a short stay,It has been going on for at least five months now."
"I have a lifestyle, Now I just walk up and down the halls, then right back to my room again, sitting there and looking stupid."
Mrs. Brown is an example of what happens when patients with no identification wind up in hospitals.
Dr. Joby Kolsun: "We won't discharge a patient from the hospital until we have a safe plan for that person after they leave the hospital."
Without identification, the hospital cannot get paid. Without a next of kin, medical decisions cannot be made. That's where Edward Tetelman comes in. He is with the Department of Health and Senior Services' Office of the Public Guardian.
First, the hospital must petition for a guardian, making the case that the patient is incapacitated and cannot make decisions for herself. Two doctors make that determination, then the court appoints an attorney.
She doesn't think they would keep her in a nursing home.
Mrs. Brown: "I am still functioning on my own. When I can no longer do that, they have homes for people, and I will gladly go to one. In the meantime, I will continue to function on my own and do as I want to."
Except she insists she is not doing as she wants.
She would like to return to her home, which she says is a rooming house in Capitol Heights, Md. - however, Tetelman said, she also has named Washington, D.C., as a residence.
A return to either does not look likely until she is deemed fit for release or a family member comes forward.
by LYNDA COHEN Staff Writer, 609-272-7257
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