Benjamin Alfano, in the end, had MS and dementia. While he never lost his passion for gnocchi, he often forgot what he ate for breakfast.
Chris Farley, his court-appointed guardian, was characteristically blunt: Ben, she wrote, was "completely unable to act in his own best interests. He lacks the judgment and insight to keep himself from harm."
Yet one month after Farley shipped the 72-year-old amputee to Park Forest Care Center for Christmas, Alfano did what anyone in his right mind would do:
In one last desperate grab for freedom, Ben scurried out the door of the dour nursing home on his scooter, racing down four blocks of Northeast Beech Street before the care center posse reined him in just shy of 82nd Avenue.
One week later, Alfano was locked away in the Alzheimer's unit at Powell Valley in Gresham.
Four weeks later, he was dead from a shattered heart.
The loneliness and isolation Ben Alfano endured in those final weeks still haunts his four youngest children, given that it was engineered by the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs and their father's court-appointed guardian and lawyer.
In the four years Alfano lived at Raleigh Hills Assisted Living, those children -- Steven, David, Mary and Lisa -- were faithful stewards. Judy Bridges, the Raleigh Hills administrator at the time, said the sons were particularly devoted: "They were always there. Steven always took Ben to his appointments. Steven made all the arrangements, not the VA."
Richard Pagnano, Ben's court-appointed attorney, and Farley, the guardian, didn't believe that involvement served their client's interests. In February 2009, Pagnano wrote letters to Ben Alfano's doctors warning them not to disclose medical information "to any third parties, including the former temporary guardian, Steven Alfano."
Full Article and Source:
Steve Duin: Benjamin Alfano's Final Weeks are Spent in Isolation, Cut Off from His Family (Part 2)
The Story of Benjamin Alfano and the Debate of Who Controls End-of-Life Decisions