This column will establish a pattern of elder abuse and give you an understanding of how a state like Florida and its guardianship system can keep a family at bay while making life-and-death decisions of questionable legal authority.
Beverly Newman in late October 2009 had to hire an attorney, as required by Florida law, to represent her in her highly-contested court fight to obtain guardianship from the State of Florida of Al Katz, her father.
According to Beverly, who had court-ordered visitation rights, her father was begging daily to return home from the nursing facility, which he hated. He appeared broken-hearted, and Beverly noted signs that he was being neglected to the point that he developed pitting edema of the lower extremities and cellulitis, for which he was hospitalized. In December 2008, Beverly had filed a petition in Indiana to care for her Father as his guardian. Until September 2009, no one else ever filed a petition to care for Mr. Katz as his guardian.
However, Beverly’s request to be her father’s guardian was opposed by Ms. Jackie Steuerwald, Al’s nurse. It should be noted that on September 10, 2008, Jackie Steuerwald took Mr. Katz, suffering from dementia, to his attorney in Indianapolis to have Mr. Katz’s will and advance directives changed.
In September 2009, with the assistance of Jackie Steuerwald, the Florida public guardian put Al into the lockdown unit in the basement of a metropolitan hospital, under a no-contact order from family and friends, for three weeks. From this confinement and isolation from his family, Al had constant flashbacks to the Holocaust and wandered the halls night and day until he was released.
The Florida court on November 23, 2009, appointed Beverly Newman as Guardian of the Person of Al Katz, but not of his property. The court granted restricted health care powers to Jackie Steuerwald and gave guardianship of the property to a professional guardian. Beverly discontinued all narcotics and psychotropics administered to her Father, and he began to regain his strength.
After weeks in the hospital, being put into hospice against his advance directives, Al Katz was taken home by Beverly and Larry, the son-in-law, who cared for him around the clock. Al’s condition gradually began to improve, while he was surrounded by his loving family.
Full Article and Source:
Al Katz: The Story of a Holocaust Survivor - part 4
Al Katz: The Story of a Holocaust Survivor
Al Katz: Part Two: Road to Perdition
Al Katz: Part Three: There's No Room for Common Sense in the Eyes of Government Regulation
NASGA - Al Katz: Indiana/Florida Victim