David Rector has been my friend for over 25 years.
And now he's dying in a dump in San Diego, lying in his own filth, neglected and abused in a so-called health care facility.
18 months ago, David suffered an aortic dissection and stroke. It left him brain damaged and briefly in a coma. At first he received excellent care. His fiancee Roz -- who has been by his side constantly, from the moment of the attack in their home, through all the initial surgery and rehab -- kept me updated regularly. He was treated at UCSMDC (University of California San Diego Medical Center). Then he was moved to a Long-Term Acute Care Facility called Kindred, where he also -- initially -- received excellent care. His trach was eventually removed, and he started, slowly, to regain function.
But then David's cousin stepped in. Said cousin suddenly decided he didn't want Roz in the picture anymore. Roz is "just" the love of David's life. She isn't a blood relative. And in the infinite wisdom of our legal system, blood is thicker than water, and Roz is water. [T]hough Roz offered repeatedly to fly him out to San Diego on her own dime, he has never taken her up on her offer. In fact, he's done worse: he's tried to get her legally barred from even visiting David, let alone make any medical decisions for him.
Roz continues to spend every day with him, cleaning him up, especially around his colostomy bag, which she's not allowed to change, even when it's overflowing, communicating with him -- orally as well as in writing, on a chalkboard -- doing all the things the staff refuses to do. She has been spending gobs of money trying to fight this in the courts, she has contacted every legal, policy, and advocacy organization out there, every elected official, every everyone who might possibly be able to help, and has been stymied at every turn by the legal system.
David has since been moved to "Care With Dignity." The photographs Roz has been sending me all along have changed from images of progress and hope to images of filth and despair. Anything Roz has brought in to help David has been stolen. Radios, TVs, CD player, iPod, headphones, earbuds, computer with language-assisting software, you name it. David gets no rehabilitation anymore. The progress he made early on is rapidly eroding. He's being neglected and abused, just like hundreds of thousands of other patients in similar hellholes around the country.
Bottom line: she's not a blood relative. She doesn't count. Her evidence of David's abuse doesn't count. Her evidence of his progress -- stunning given the circumstances, and thanks only to her efforts -- doesn't count.
She's afraid he's going to die in there. So am I.
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They are Killing David Rector