Monday, September 28, 2015

Guardianship battle spills to street

TRAVERSE CITY — Sunshine from a clear blue sky kissed the brightly colored signs Erica Canfield and her friends held high in the air facing Munson Medical Center.

Their message was clear: “Free Hannah G.”

“Hannah G” is Savannah Garcia, 20, an autistic patient who passed through the hospital’s doors nearly a month ago and hasn’t stepped outside since. An ongoing legal battle in the local probate court over Garcia’s guardianship effectively kept her within the medical center’s walls.

Canfield said Garcia wants to return to her own apartment, attend Beach Bums championship games, see a movie at the State Theatre, pet her therapy dog and sip coffee at Starbucks.

“If she were home, she would be on her swing singing loudly to Green Day,” Canfield said.

But Munson Medical Center professionals are concerned Garcia’s health could suffer if her mother, Samantha Garcia, remains involved in her care. On Sept. 4, they successfully entered an emergency petition that removed Samantha Garcia as Savannah’s guardian and appointed a temporary guardian in her stead.

Documents filed with and subsequent testimony in Grand Traverse County Probate Court outlines concerns that Samantha Garcia may be experiencing Munchausen by proxy — a form of abuse in which a caregiver makes someone in their care appear ill or causes actual harm in order to gain attention.

Samantha Garcia directed questions toward Traverse City attorney Eric Phelps, who declined comment.

The specter of Munchausen by proxy in Savannah Garcia’s case arose after she checked into Munson experiencing pain on Aug. 31. Doctors later testified that Samantha Garcia blamed many of Savannah’s problems — pain, violent outbursts — on complications from a medical condition and insisted on care multiple Munson doctors didn’t agree with.  (Continue Reading

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Guardianship battle spills to street

1 comment:

Betty said...

This sounds like a case that could be solved easily by Supported Decision Making.