Tuesday, January 20, 2015

FFOA EXCLUSIVE: Safety or State Sanctioned Land-Grab?



December  14, 2014

Suzanne Ohrling age 81 invited home health care workers into the home her father built nearly a hundred years ago in Milwaukie with an ie, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Approximately two and a half months later, according to Mrs. Ohrling and her family, she was taken with force from her home, and stuck into a nursing home from which she has told me she thinks she will never be allowed to leave.

Mrs. Ohring's story was the subject of my previous article 'Nursing Home Inmate: The Crime is Old Age', published here at FFOA 9/4/14. In that article I did not use any names nor even name the state as the family which had contacted me had borrowed money to remove their mother to another state. The family reasonably in light of further actions, feared their mother would not be released. Mrs. Ohrling in a telephone interview with me had stated, "I don't think they will let me leave. It is just a feeling I have that they won't let me leave." She denied that anyone had specifically told her she could not leave but her feeling was chilling. I chose not to use names though I had permission to do so, so as not to endanger the plans of her family.

Early on the morning or September 9 Suzanne's son Randy Lytle who resides in Nevada, spoke with his mother on the phone. According to Lytle who had purchased two airline tickets, his mother was anxious to fly home with him. I had put him in touch with the Oregon State Ombudsman Office which looks out for the rights of nursing home residents. According to Lytle they had warned him the nursing home might call the police if he tried to remove his mother but that the police could not do anything and it would be a scare tactic.

Mid afternoon on the ninth Mr. Lytle called me on his cell phone, telling me  he was at the nursing home, Milwaukie Convalescent Center, 12045 SE Stanley Ave., and his mother was unresponsive. Mr. Lytle described to me a horrible smell coming from his mother and said she could not stand nor be dressed. Lytle said nursing home staff had threatened to call the police and he had told them to go ahead, he had been warned about that and the police couldn't do anything. State workers appeared he said. 

According to Mr. Lytle it was decided his mother had a bladder infection and he demanded that she be treated immediately. He said the convalescent care staff had said that was not necessary, but a representative of the state said if family requested, it was OK to take the patient to, as it turned out an emergency room. Lytle wanted to have his mother drug tested but in the end this was not done and later could not be done.

That September day apparently a family member could request care for Mrs. Ohrling and family wishes needed to be acted upon. Between then and now according to Randy Lytle, the state of Oregon has, without notifying any family, appointed a guardian over his mother. Last week Lytle says he was denied medical information concerning his mother. He believed his mother was "sleeping way too much", inquired about her blood sugar numbers and was told he could not have that information as his mother had a guardian appointed! Randy said today that several family members have now received notices to appeal the guardianship with a two week filing date and a $250 fee required. He does not yet have his copy which he plans to file and pay for with his Christmas bonus from work.

Provided all this is true, how can something like this happen in America? Why is it happening in Oregon? Randy Lytle gave me some contact numbers for state workers who he notes have taken over his mother's life and shut out family. Adult Protective Services was a term I was not familiar with and a quick Google search elicited the information that APS is very similar to Child Protective Services (CPS) but that the grist for the grinding stones of APS are those who are disabled or over age 65. [1] This is frightening indeed in my opinion.

Spring of 2014 Suzanne Ohrling lived in the home her father had built, with her son Brett Lytle who has lived with his mother about 50 of his 53 years. Brett is a licensed construction worker; never married he has lived with his mother as a friend and companion. There is deep affection in this family. In the past few years his mother's arthritis and diabetes have worsened, especially the arthritis and Brett also became a care giver. Brett told me in an interview that this year he had also been seriously ill though he continued to work and care for his mother.

Brett described to me how his mother had applied for in home care and that they came about May of this year. The health workers came frequently until mid-summer when late one day the police, fire department, code enforcement and Adult Protective Services workers kicked in the door, according to Brett, and took away his mother.

Suzanne has little memory of being hauled out of her home. "People cheated me when I went to sleep, they cheated me", she explained plaintively.

Her son Brett is soft spoken like his brother Randy. His voice is even when describing horrors that would send many into rage and despair. Brett admits things were not as good as he wished they were, but he comments that he was also seriously ill at the time the home health workers came to his and his mother's home. The home was temporarily condemned. Randy says his mom saved a lot of things. There were some mice. Randy and Brett both note that the condemnation order also required the repair of one plugged kitchen sink and that ALL electrical outlets must be working. I have not seen a copy of the condemnation order but it is my understanding that the home was inspected and the condemnation lifted  within weeks.

When his mother was hauled out of her home Brett was charged with two counts of Class A misdemeanor neglect of his mother. How I wonder, was he neglecting his mother when state provided health care workers had been coming for something like two and a half months?What in the world were those workers doing in all that time? Why did not these workers work with Brett to correct any deficiencies before there were actions that appear to be draconian, heavy handed and unnecessarily cruel?

Brett claims an  female official state worker whom he named told him, "In six months you will be convicted and your mom will spend the rest of her life in a nursing home."  

The state next filed a restraining order against Brett which prevented him from even calling his mom on her birthday which occurred last month.

Suzanne never understood why her beloved son was kept from her.  "Brett has never done anything wrong. No one has talked to me about this case," she told me. "I will not go against Brett. He has been awful nice to me," she said with obviously deep feeling.

The family has always been close and affectionate. Brett and Randy have periodically lived with their mother while they worked. Suzanne also had one daughter who, when she was a young mother, was brutally beaten to death by a killer. There has been tragedy in the family and surely the restraining order that separated Brett from his mother was another.

Brett told me the restraining order came about because a couple years ago or so his mother had become very ill and the ambulance EMTs had come to the home. Brett said one EMT said, "Your mother would be better off in a nursing home." Brett said he answered that he had promised his mom she would never have to go in a nursing home and that he made a the statement, "No way in hell she's going in a nursing home." According to Brett notes or possibly a tape recording from that event was used to bring and perpetuate the restraining order that would not allow him any contact his mother for months. I have been unable to this date, to ascertain that there was anything more to the restraining order.

Mrs. Ohrling has rapidly deteriorated in the nursing home according to her sons. Fearing that she could die without being allowed to see the son who had lived with her for years, just after Suzanne's birthday and just before Thanksgiving Brett, with the urging of his court appointed attorney pleaded guilty to neglecting his mother. When he was finally allowed to see her he was shocked by her physical condition. He told me he thought the nursing home was not taking good care of her.

For me to write this story with names or even the location there was always a gamble that I would do harm. Something does not feel right and the family seems to me to be getting steamrolled by the state.Would using names cause the home to remain condemned? Would Brett's legal troubles get worse? Would the state tighten their grip on Suzanne?

I know these people and they are hardworking and decent.  They do not have money to hire lawyers though I have been told by experts that a family law attorney is needed. Whatever deficiencies may have been found in Mrs. Ohrling's home I believe there was also a great deal of love and caring and Mrs. Ohrling wanted to remain in her home. According to her and her sons no one has discussed discharge planning with her though Milwaukie Convalescent Center's web page states they, "provide discharge planning for each patient." [www.milwaukiecc.com]

Now the state of Oregon has apparently appointed a guardian for Mrs. Ohrling without consulting family. This too is a point of confusion. In a few days I will have copies of the form for the family to appeal what they apparently were never consulted about until it was too late. There seems nothing to loose in writing the story at this time, names and all.

Randy Lytle thinks his mother's home may be worth about $350,000. A civil rights expert I consulted off the record asked who was paying for Mrs. Ohrling's confinement in Milwaukie Convalescent Center. I mentioned the land value and this expert grunted uh-huh in a knowing way.

A friend of mine who works with similar issues in Idaho suggested Mrs. Ohrling's civil rights were violated because her son had been kept from her. I have been assured by sources off the record she has no other right than to be kept safe as determined by the state. If state provided home care workers were in the home for almost two months, and if the issues that seem to have led to Mrs. Ohrling's removal from her home were fixed in a short period of time, what kind of safety does the state need to provide? Why should this state mandated "safety" spill over onto other family members who now seem to be legally cut out of their mother's life decisions?

Shortly after his mother was put into Milwaukie Convalescent Center her son Randy tried to reach her long term doctor. According to him and as he understood it, the convalescent center had dismissed his mother's regular doctor and assigned her a doctor connected to the facility. He told me this was why he could not have his mother tested for drugs when she was too weak to even stand when he came to fly her home.

What of Milwaukie Convalescent Center? Their web site www.milwaukiecc.com shows pictures of pleasant one story buildings, a small manicured green lawn, flowers and a cement bird bath. Under the heading "Nursing Services" this statement appears:  We believe that a nursing home should be more than just providing excellent care. IT SHOULD BE ABOUT INCREASING CONNECTIONS BETWEEN FAMILIES. (Emphasis mine.)

On another page describing social services within the facility it is stated, "Social services maintain contact and open communication between the facility, families and the residents..." It is also written, "there is discharge planning for each patient." Also, "We stand up for resident's rights and strive to make Milwaukie Convalescent Center their home."

An article at www.katu.com [2] is titled "Looking for a nursing home? Make sure you do your research".  Citing 'Pro Publica' information about Oregon nursing homes in genera the article makes this specific statement, "The Milwaukie Convalescent Center has the highest number of deficiencies at 78." Another article at http://www.golocaldx.com  [3] also using 'Pro Publica' as a source shows that Milawukie CC is a "for profit" nursing home with 96 beds, 58 of which are filled. The date of this article is September 16, 2014. If these stats are accurate for that date we can assume that Suzanne Ohrling accounts for one of the 58 filled beds. Fines and deficiencies or not the state of Oregon has, it appears to me, decided unilaterally, this is the proper place for Suzanne to continue to deteriorate while being kept "safe". 

It is almost Christmas. Randy Lytle is counting the days until he receives his Christmas bonus check from his work. In between long days at work he must cash his check and apply it to the filing fees for the appeal of something the state did, according to him, without consulting the family. He will spend more and take time from work will fly to Portland, Oregon for whatever court proceeding will follow. He loves his mom.

"If she dies will the state even let us have her body?" he has asked me. I said I thought so. Even if the state has managed to brand his brother Brett as a criminal why is the rest of the family seemingly punished? There is an adult grandchild of the murdered daughter. She barely knew her mother and now it appears she will lose again with her grandmother. (If I was in a snarky mood I would mention that Oregon allows "Death With Dignity' which is assisted suicide. What happens when Mrs. Ohrling's likely soon to be seized assets run out?)

We at Freedom Fighters of America will continue to pursue answers in this story. If this case is what it appears perhaps we will be served a gag order such as happened in the Justina Pelletier case and that of the Diegel sisters in Phoenix, Arizona. In the meantime we will have our version of the Friday document dump with a weekend article dump. Dear friends at FFOA, share this around the world. Protect your elderly and disabled loved ones with knowledge of your state's policies.

Mrs. Ohrling has not been declared incompetent in a court of law to the knowledge of her family. Sources tell me that sort of thing is now a battle of experts and Suzanne's family cannot afford to hire the experts~or lawyers. Therefore Mrs. Ohrling's desires are not considered as I understand it. Let Suzanne's own words end this article:

"I would like to go home; to be able to go home. They won't let me because of old age. I have a right to go home to my own home" (Here she began to cry) "I'd do anything to get out of this place I haven't done anything wrong, why are they holding me here? Because of old age. The crime is old age."
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[1]  htto://www2.webster.edu ; Elder Abuse and Neglect ; a quick understanding of Adult Protective Services 
[2]  http://www.katu.com/news/problemsolver/ ; Looking fir a nursing home? Make sure you do your research, by Shellie Bailey-Shah, 4/26/13
[3]  http://www.golocaldx.com/news/oregon-nursing-homes-with-most... ;  Oregon nursing homes with the most health and safety deficiencies, 9/16/201

Full Article & Source:
FFOA EXCLUSIVE: Safety or State Sanctioned Land-Grab?

6 comments:

StandUp said...

The deception of protection at work again.

If there was a problem with the home, were the workers who worked there since May held accountable for not reporting it on Day 1? How about the home care supervisor who likely visited the home and assessed it before beginning care?

Lydia said...

What a sad story and typical too. Obviously APS started out with the intention of demonizing family.

If they really cared, they'd help the family, not separate them.

Adam said...

Good article. I hope it gets picked up and spread around. Publicity is our best chance.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a land grab to me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, I am taking care of my 98 year old father and these articles have been a real eye opener to me. I've hired an Elder Attorney after reading your articles, I never realized that I have to protect myself as well as my dad. I'm am an
early senior myself, as a result of reading your articles my husband and I have also hired an attorney to prevent such things happening to us as we enter old age and dying, God Bless You All, my prayers are with you.

Virginia williams said...

This is intrapment get u a lawyer and sue the hell out of them Noone has right to hold u against your will make arrangements for someone u can trust get them to carry u to see a lawyer