Joseph Pastore Jr., wanted, along with his fiancee, to care for Theresa Santoro, but the court appointed a professional agency instead.
WRITTEN BY NICOLE C. BRAMBILA
As Don Lebo maneuvered the black Yukon up the hill to Phoebe Berks' older-adult community in Wernersville, he focused on the Army training the rescue mission would require: recon, strategy, snatch, escape and evade.
The 56-year-old veteran scanned the quaint, Victorian-style campus and then, once inside, the lobby for anything that might pose an obstacle.
The Jan. 23 letter from Star High, Phoebe's executive director, cemented an already contentious relationship between the facility, which wanted to keep Santoro, and the family, which sought to take her home. She'd been admitted as a self-pay resident in Phoebe's personal care unit following a hospital stay after the death of her longtime companion in December.
The family needed a volunteer, and Lebo said he was all too happy to oblige.
"It was like, 'Who do we know with the stones big enough to do a search and rescue mission?' " Lebo said with a chuckle.
And then he added: "Somebody's got to advocate for her. The family just wanted her out."
What Lebo and the family didn't know then, though, was that taking Santoro home would be the easy fight compared to the guardian battle that was yet to come.
Santoro's family believes strongly that they can and should care for her. The court disagreed in a case emblematic of the struggle across the nation between the rights of the individual and the government seeking to protect the vulnerable.
It also raises thorny conflict-of-interest questions when assets are involved and the wider concern about guardianship abuse in a system with little monitoring.
Full Article and Source:
A Berks Man Loses Guardianship Fight for Elderly Aunt
Read the entire series, UNGUARDED