Saturday, December 3, 2011

Terri Schiavo's Legacy: The Value of a Life in a Nation That Cheapens It

Terri Schiavo would have been 48 this December 3 … not a major mile-marker among we, the living, but a cause for reflection for those who loved her, and for all those who fought so valiantly to save her, in those terrible years and months and days before she was starved to death, by court order, in March, 2005.

A cause for reflection because, as so many observed and warned us at the time, her death – court mandated, despite the express wishes of her parents and siblings and the best efforts of the President and Congress of the United States – marked a crucial turning point in our nation’s cultural attitude toward life. Perhaps no judicial action since Roe v. Wade has done more to convince ordinary Americans that individual lives are expendable to those pushing for an increasingly callous medical establishment.

In a medical arena where humanity is increasingly supplanted by multi-million-dollar economic interests, life and death decisions become all too easy. Soon, it’s cheaper to pull a plug than to fill a prescription.

Of course, the pressures aren’t only financial. As the lists of patients awaiting transplants grow longer, pressure is mounting in many medical circles to speed along the process of dying, the better to harvest organs for those in need. Rob Stein of The Washington Post reported a few months ago on the increasingly aggressive efforts by the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) to rewrite the rules on when a patient is “dead” and his organs can be removed.

Full Article and Source:
Schiavo's Legacy: The Value of a Life in a Nation That Cheapens It

Pastor Accused of Financial Exploitation of Elderly Man

Earlier this month, it was reported that a 78-year-old disabled man in Minnesota was financially exploited by his friend and pastor. The elderly man suffers from Parkinson's disease, diabetes and paranoid schizophrenia, and the 31-year-old pastor had apparently befriended the elderly man when he came to his church.

He soon became the man's health care proxy and then obtained a power of attorney over the man's finances, which gave the pastor control over the disabled man's finances and bank account. The pastor then placed the man in a total-care nursing home in which all of the man's needs were supposed to be met.

While he was in the nursing home, from June 2010 to February 2011, more than $16,000 in withdrawals were made from the elderly man's bank account. Several of the withdrawals appeared suspicious, including 130 cash withdrawals from ATMs. Other suspicious activity included fast food purchases, cable television payments and cell phone payments.

During that time period, the disabled man's nursing home's bills were not being paid. He currently owes almost $13,000 and could be evicted for non-payment.

The pastor has been charged with four felony counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

California residents who need help with their finances, or whose loved ones need financial management, need be aware of just how critical it is to have a trusted person take care of those responsibilities. As this story shows, however, even a person with a background that encourages trust can turn out to be untrustworthy, so family members and residents should always carefully verify the actions of those in positions of financial trust.

Full Article and Source:
Pastor Accused of Financial Abuse of 78-Year-Old Disabled Man

Couple Accused of Taking $100K From Elderly Man

Sheriff Sam Craft of Vernon Parish has announced that two people were arrested this week, and they're accused of scamming an elderly nursing home resident out of more than $100,00.00, and then spending the money on cars and other elaborate purchases.

Morgan Elizabeth Walker, 24, and Steven Briggs, 26, both of Rosepine, were arrested by Vernon Parish deputies after a complaint lead to the start of an investigation on November 22nd.

According to Craft, the victim was an 87 year old man from the Leesville area, and the suspects had been taking money from him since June.

Investigators said the allegations revealed that the victim became associated with Walker when she was a caregiver for his wife at an area nursing home facility. Investigators said numerous purchases of large ticket items took place between June and November, including the purchase of two vehicles.

Morgan Walker was charged with six counts of Exploitation of the Infirm, with a total bond of $80,000.00. Steven Briggs was charged with one count of Principal to the Exploitation of the Infirm, and his bond was set of $5,000.00.

Full Article and Source:
Vernon Parish Couple Accused of Taking $100,000 From Elderly Man

Friday, December 2, 2011

Judge in Mollie Florkey Case Recuses!

Highland County Probate Judge Kevin Greer has recused himself from a case involving a dispute over the guardianship and care of a Hillsboro woman. The recusal occurred following a Nov. 22 hearing regarding the case, according to court documents.

Greer's recusal comes after Jane Branson filed suit in U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio against Greer, her brother, her mother's attorney, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Representing herself, Branson claimed in her suit that her mother, Mollie Florkey, should be released from a nursing home in which she was placed, and also claims she has been denied proper access to Ohio's courts.

Greer said Monday he could re-qualify himself to continue hearing the case based on how, and how quickly, Branson's federal lawsuit is resolved. In the meantime, he has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to appoint a judge to hear Branson's ongoing challenge to the care and guardianship of her mother.

But if the federal suit is resolved, Greer will likely re-qualify himself to preside over the case, because "I have a duty to the taxpayer to do my job" rather than paying a visiting judge to preside.

Branson has attempted to overturn Greer's decision, as well as asking Greer to remove himself from the case, which he refused to do until now.

Also named in the suit is Hillsboro attorney J.D. Wagoner, who is Florkey's attorney.

Full Article and Source:
Greer Recuses Himself From Case on Guardianship

See Also:
Jane Branson Files Suit on Behalf of Her Mother

How to File a Complaint...The Fatal Shot Heard Round the World (part 2)

Mr. David Callahan, III, Guardian Ad Litem in The Conservatorship of Robert Thurman, has an oath and legal obligations to adhere. Considering the egregious nature of the Thurman conservatorship, it’s important that this be made public. The Thurman case also shows a pattern of illegal activities, not to mention ethics violations, in Judge Randy Kennedy’s probate court that are routinely carried out on a day-to-day basis.

Again, Mr. Callahan, III, in my opinion, is the least deserving of this public scrutiny, but he did and does have a legal obligation to report to the various authorities what he has witnessed and been made aware of. He also had the obligation as Guardian ad Litem to protect Robert Thurman from the atrocities that followed the Petition for Conservatorship.

Another thing to keep in mind, the probate courts are the biggest business in America, dwarfing any business, because the wealth of the nation eventually passes through probate. See what I’m getting at? So, that’s why they do their actions in such a self-contained manner. In order to maintain “ownership” of the biggest business in the world, they can’t “out” themselves on what is going on.

Full Article and Source:
How to File a Complaint...The Fatal Shot Heard Round the World (part 2)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to File a Complaint...The Fatal Shot Heard Round the World (Part 1)

Now here’s the zinger and the power “we, the people” possess but are kept in the dark: If the attorney, with knowledge of, DOES NOT report the violation of The Rules of Professional Conduct or the Judicial Code of Ethics, WE, as observers, have the right to file a complaint against the attorney who has not reported the violation as well as the attorney(s) who committed the original violations. In other words, if the attorney witnessing the violation does not report (file a complaint, charges, etc.), he becomes, in fact, an accessory (co-conspirator) to the breaking of the rules of violation of ethics (if the BPR does their job and takes appropriate action according to the rules and their standard of discipline).


If you, as an observer and citizen of the United States, witness or are made aware, and can prove unethical and/or illegal conduct on the part of an attorney or judge, and if the attorney(s) involved in the matter have not corrected the error/breach/rule-breaking, then you, as an observer (you don’t even have to be involved in the case or “have a dog in the fight”) can report the violation to the appropriate governing body, including the attorney(s) who have failed in reporting the misconduct.

Full Article and Source:
How to File a Complaint...The Fatal Shot Heard Round the World (part 1)

Scan Reveal PVS Patients are Aware

Scientists have used a portable device that tracks changes in brain waves to communicate with people in a vegetative state, some of whom have been locked in their bodies for more than a year.

In a study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers showed it was possible to communicate with and detect awareness in people in a vegetative state using functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI.

The researchers instructed 16 people in a vegetative state to imagine they were making a fist with their right hand or wiggling their toes, and then measured brain activity while electrodes were attached to their scalp.

"It was possible to detect that these patients were actually aware" despite being diagnosed as being "entirely unconscious" using standard clinical assessments, said Professor Adrian Owen of the Center for Brain and Mind at the University of Western Ontario. Findings from the newer study were published in the British journal Lancet on Wednesday.

Patients in a persistent vegetative state have periods of wakefulness, but they are completely unresponsive and are thought to be unaware.

"We don't actually know how many vegetative patients there are. It's now possible to find that out," said Dr. Damian Cruse of the University of Western Ontario, who led the study.

Full Article and Source:
Scans Reveal Vegetative Patients Are Aware

'Overprescribed: The Human and Taxpayers' Costs of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes'

Today, U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing examining the widespread inappropriate use of antipsychotics among nursing home residents suffering from dementia, high costs to taxpayers and the efforts to find safe and effective alternatives.

“When properly prescribed, antipsychotics can offer beneficial treatment for individuals suffering from mental illness,” Kohl said. “However, we have a responsibility to patients and their families to ensure that elderly nursing home residents are free from all types of unnecessary drugs, and we have a responsibility to taxpayers to be certain that they are not paying for drugs that are not needed.”

The hearing highlighted two recent investigations by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) that looked at the prevalent use of atypical antipsychotics in the face of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “black box” warning and the high costs to taxpayers.

In examining medical records over a six-month period, Daniel Levinson, Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, testified that 14 percent of all nursing home residents, or nearly 305,000 patients, had Medicare claims for atypical antipsychotic drugs and that half of these claims should not have been paid for by Medicare because the drugs were not used for medically accepted indications. He said that for one in five drug claims, nursing homes dispensed these drugs in a way that violated the government's standards for their reimbursement.

Full press release and source:
Alternatives to Overuse of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes Focus of Senate Hearing

Watch the Hearing

Wife of Missing Doctor Seeking Conservator for Husband's Funds

The search for a missing Nashville surgeon in Dekalb County has long ended, and now a court document shows his wife holds out little hope for his return.

Dr. William Coltharp, a 55-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon at Saint Thomas Hospital, went missing Oct. 2 while kayaking on Center Hill Lake. He last told his wife he’d be home for dinner, but didn’t show up. His kayak was found the next day about a mile from where he was last seen.

Dekalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray said the search has been called off, but they’re not yet giving up hope he might be alive.

But according to documents filed in Davidson County’s probate court, Coltharp’s wife isn’t as optimistic.

“He is believed to have died on Center Hill Lake, but his remains have not yet been found,” reads a line in paperwork Nicole Coltharp filed to begin dealing with more than $120,000 associated with her husband’s estate. She’s asking a conservator be appointed on his behalf.

Full Article and Source:
Wife of Missing Doctor Seeking Conservator for Husband's Funds

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When Family Abets the Heartbreak of Guardian Abuse

Since both of Diane’s parents felt that out of their three children, she was the only one they could trust to give power of attorney, healthcare proxy and ultimately the executrix position, automatically one would have to assume that the eldest and youngest sibling did not warrant that respect. While I have had to write the previous articles based on witness statements, court transcripts, e-mails and comments to my writings, much of the information had been given to me by Diane. Until I started researching what she was telling me, I had to trust that everything she told me contained no falsehoods, regardless of how unbelievable some of what she shared was. While I never had reason to doubt her, seeing things in written words only validated her truthful demeanor and approach. It is remarkable to see that family members who are supposed to love their mother could team up with a seemingly corrupt judge, law guardian, healthcare manager and even Dorothy’s court appointed attorney to propagate, extend and expand the abuse.

What should have been a simple project and favor for Diane, turned into a wasted day of everyone’s time. While my friend and I were in the basement trying to figure out the easiest way to hoist a very heavy piece of exercise equipment up a tight flight of stairs, Diane’s brother stormed into the house. To ask for simple pleasantries was immediately out of the picture, as his attitude was as nasty and narrow-minded as some of the e-mails and comments he had sent me. I said hello to him when he came downstairs, and he started asking what we were doing, even though he had already been told upstairs. I have learned that the best way to see the true demeanor of a person is to let them speak. Virtually every word that came out of his mouth was either antagonistic or a straight out lie.

My intention had been to keep Diane’s siblings out of any further articles, but after this incident they both earned their way back in. Law guardian abuse cases are difficult enough. Judges will seize on family dissension as an excuse to wrestle control away from the person who should be the rightful guardian. When you have someone like the brother in this case, then it becomes even more difficult because they will align themselves with the corruption, rather than with what should be done in the best interests of the person put into guardianship.

Full Article and Source:
When Family Abets the Heartbreak of Guardian Abuse

Huguette Clark Signed Two Wills!

A newly publicized will by an heiress to a Montana copper mining fortune leaves most of her $400 million estate to her family, while a will signed just weeks later left nothing to relatives.

The childless Huguette Clark died in May at age 104 – a last breath of New York's Gilded Age that produced the Rockefellers, Astors and Vanderbilts.

Her relatives brought the new will to light on Monday: They filed court papers asking a Surrogate's Court judge to involve them in proceedings about how her money was spent – and by whom – while she was alive.

Clark's relatives accuse her co-executors, attorney Wallace Bock and accountant Irving Kamsler, of plundering her fortune. The two were among the few who for years had access to the reclusive Clark in her Manhattan hospital room. Clark had left her 42-room Manhattan home – the largest residence on Fifth Avenue – decades earlier, choosing to live undisturbed at the hospital.

A court-ordered accounting of the Paris-born heiress' finances as overseen by Bock and Kamsler in the last 15 years of her life is "a chilling report of the mishandling, misappropriation and mismanagement" of her assets, the relatives' lawyer, John R. Morken, wrote in papers filed Monday.

While Clark was confined to a hospital room, her spending amounted to about $1 million each month, Morken said, citing the figures.

Monday's filing, which was first reported by, included a will signed in March 2005, about six weeks before another will that Bock and Kamsler filed shortly after Clark's death.

Full Article and Source:
Huguette Clark, Montana Copper Heiress, Signed Two Conflicting Wills Before Death

See Also:
Huguette Clark Left $34mil to Nurse

FL: Some ALF's Pay Kickbacks for Residents, Task Force Told

When assisted-living facility owner Linda Cole phoned another owner in the hope of buying his Internet domain name, the man told her he found new residents the old-fashioned way: He paid for them.

“You do realize that’s illegal,” Cole said she told the man.

But his response was blunt: He was forced to pay for bodies, otherwise he wouldn’t fill his beds, she recalled.

During the final meeting of the state’s ALF work group Monday afternoon, owners and advocates for residents — many from South Florida — said the practice of paying kickbacks to fill their homes was rampant throughout the state, even though so-called “patient brokering” has been illegal in Florida since 1996.

The problem was among dozens recounted during the packed session at Florida International University before the task force members, who are expected to offer solutions to an industry that has been under fire with revelations of squalor and abuse in assisted-living facilities across the state.

Full Article and Source:
Some ALF's Pay Kickbacks for Residents,Task Force Told

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pauper V Probate: Children as Pawns for Judicial Retribution

Throughout the course of The “Temporary” Conservatorship of John Daniel Tate, my daughters have been shamelessly used as pawns, not only by the court, but especially in cooperation with my ex-wife, Katerina Kazokos Tate, who has used our daughters as pawns without giving second thought. I have kept my ex-wife out of the press for the sake of the children, but there is no depth to this depravity, so now I must expose her, for she is causing great harm to my daughters.

This post will lay out, document by document, just one recent example of this egregious action, and by the time you’re done reading, you should be outraged at what lengths a court will stoop to harm in order to protect itself.

In a recent post, I’ve made reference to how Tennessee Homeland Security has, in effect, caused my ejection from the state of Tennessee. In this on-line pleading I will demonstrate what this entails, how it happened, and all parties involved in this illegal, fraudulent and malicious action. You will be outraged and, I would hope, further compelled to join me in my effort to have Judge Randy Kennedy impeached.

Judge Phillip Smith is involved, 4th Circuit Court, Davidson County, TN, whose divorce/child support courtroom is right down the hall from Judge Kennedy’s, and whose abuse of robes appear to be marching orders of retribution, and this allegation was also suggested to me by attorney Michael Hoskins, but will outrage the reader by the time you’ve “followed the paper trail”, and see how these illegal practitioners will unconscionably use children as pawns in their acts of judicial retribution, in cooperation with DCS and especially Child Support Services.

Full Article and Source:
ImpeachRandyKennedy: Pauper V Probate - Children as Pawns for Judicial Retribution

Impeach TN Judge Randy Kennedy

The Surprise Ending!

Yesterday we posted a new conservatorship/guardianship abuse story about a Nashville woman named Jewell Tinnon. Today we call your attention to analysis of that piece as posted at Impeachrandykennedy’s Blog by Nashville’s own adjudicated-pauper-by-probate-court Danny Tate.

In Pauper v. Probate: THE SURPRISE ENDING!, Tate discusses the “trademarks of abuse and corruption represented in this story” and connects the dots of players involved. Estate of Denial® encourages you to check out the great reporting on this story by WSMV Channel 4′s Nancy Amons as well as Danny Tate’s experience-based analysis.

The cast and mechanics have been seen before and this Nashville crew has counterparts in large and small counties across this country. In her reporting with regard to probate actions, Amons says “One woman ended up losing everything, and it could happen to anyone.” She’s right.

Danny Tate Analysis of Newly Exposed Jewell Timmon Nashville Probate Case

See Also:
ImpeachRandyKennedy - Pauper V Probate: The Surprise Ending

Monday, November 28, 2011

Woman's Death Raises Questions

Don Esco sought skilled nursing care at a Placerville facility for Johnnie, his wife of nearly 61 years, when she was recuperating from a bout with pneumonia. She died 13 days later. Esco sued, alleging that the medical charts lied about Johnnie's treatment.

After nearly 61 years of marriage, Esco's Texas-born dream girl – nicknamed "Sunshine" – died after a 13-day stay at the El Dorado Care Center in Placerville. Recuperating from a bout with pneumonia, Johnnie Esco, 77, was expected to return home with her husband after some rest and skilled-nursing care.

Don Esco buried his wife instead.

The nursing home and its former owner, Horizon West Healthcare Inc. – a Rocklin-based company with a history of licensing violations and run-ins with regulators – would soon be at the center of another legal storm.

Johnnie Esco's death on March 7, 2008, led to a contentious civil lawsuit, investigations by California's Department of Justice and Department of Public Health – and the exhumation of her body from Arlington National Cemetery.

Last week, amid inquiries from The Bee, the state Department of Justice reopened its criminal investigation into Johnnie Esco's treatment at the facility.

The case also raised questions about an aspect of nursing home care that many patients and families take for granted: the integrity of medical records.

"They were just penciling in what they wanted to," said Esco, who obtained his wife's medical records after her death.

He summed up his findings during the lawsuit in one word: "Fabrications."

Esco's suspicions about his wife's care at El Dorado Care Center mushroomed into a broad lawsuit filed in 2009 against the facility and its owner, alleging elder abuse, wrongful death and fraud. An integral aspect of the suit, filed by Esco and his three grown children, accused the facility of falsifying, altering and improperly handling the woman's medical charts as far back as her day of admission.

"It's really one of the most egregious cases I've ever handled," said the family's Sacramento attorney, Lesley Ann Clement.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Woman's Death Raises Questions

Falsified Patient Records are Untold Story of California Nursing Home Care

On September 18th and 19th, the Sacramento Bee published an alarming series on the common complaint that nursing home records often have little to do with reality. The two-day series examined cases involving falsified nursing home records, including fabricated records that played a role in the death of a resident. In addition to pointing the finger at nursing homes for creating fake records, the articles illustrate how little the California Department of Public Health is doing to address this problem.

The series included the following tips from CANHR on monitoring nursing home records.


• Nursing home residents and their representatives have a right to review the individual's medical records.

• Review the resident's written assessment, known as the minimum data set, or MDS. Also ask to see the resident's care plan upon admission, and each time it is updated. Ask the nursing home to make changes and corrections as needed.

• Review medication records periodically to make sure the resident is not being given any drugs, especially psychoactive drugs, without knowledge and consent.

• Check routine nursing records, such as bathing ledgers, if neglect is suspected.

• If a resident is injured or abuse is suspected, review the nursing notes during the period in question and ask for copies of any official reports.

• If therapy services are being discontinued, denied or are otherwise in question, examine the therapy notes and physician orders to evaluate if the resident's therapy needs and services are appropriately documented.

• Social service notes can be a good source for learning the resident's overall status and care needs.

• If the doctor has ordered lab work, review test results and whether the staff and doctor have taken appropriate action.

• If you have concerns about the content or accuracy of any records, request copies immediately.

Falsified Patient Records are Untold Story of California Nursing Home Care

See Also:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Investigation Reveals Failures in Protecting Oklahoma Nursing Home Residents

Nurses who used to work at Rest Haven Nursing Home in Tulsa describe it as a house of horrors.

"There was verbal abuse, physical abuse, lots of things reported," said Rita Rodriguez, a former nurse at Rest Haven.

She says Rest Haven was an unsafe environment that, even after complaints, never got better. She listed some of the worst offenses.

"The rats, the roaches, the filth," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez had been a nurse at Rest Haven for a couple of years when another veteran nurse, Toby Dale, began working there this year.

"I've seen patients that were covered in maggots, that you know was taken to the showers, tub area, and put into a vat of water with half a cup of bleach and dipped, kind of like a dog," said Dale.

Both nurses say Rest Haven was the worst nursing home they've ever worked in and say it should have been shut down years ago. They called the Oklahoma Impact Team after they were fired from Rest Haven, they say, for alerting the state to patient abuse.

"They really don't care about the residents," said Dale. "They just, they belittle them. They make fun of them. They talk about them. They cuss them."

"It was just a whole lot of patient abuse that never was dealt with," said Rodriguez.

Inside Rest Haven, nursing home staff told our undercover producers Rest Haven was a happy place where residents were well taken care of. But the hallways and facilities were dirty and smelly and at one point, an employee blocked off a patient room to keep our producers from looking inside.

Full Article,Video and Source:
Investigation Reveals Failures in Protecting Oklahoma Nursing Home Residents

Watch News Video

Warning! Medicaid Phone Scam

Alabama Medicaid officials warn that a telephone scam has been reported aimed at obtaining personal and banking information from Medicaid recipients.

Medicaid Deputy Commissioner for Beneficiary Services Lee Rawlinson said Alabama residents have reported receiving phone calls from people pretending to be Medicaid eligibility workers. Rawlinson said the callers ask for bank account numbers and other personal information so they can send out a new identification card.

She said Medicaid workers would never call and ask recipients for bank account numbers over the telephone.

Suspected fraudulent activity should be reported to the agency's fraud hotline at 1-866-452-4930.

Full Article and Source:
Alabama Medicaid Officials Warn of Fraudulent Phone Calls Seeking Personal Information

The (Elderly) Mob Rules

"If it's hot, there's a lot of booze and somebody named Big Daddy. You're on pretty firm footing."

Perhaps not what you'd expect to hear walking into the Santa Monica Senior Center on Ocean Avenue, but professional actor Brian Hamill is not emceeing Tuesday afternoon bingo.

Most Tuesdays between the hours of 12:30 and 2 p.m., Hamill transforms the northern end of the center into an improvisational comedy workshop for one and a half hours of mind-bending activities that keeps his troupe of senior actors on their toes.

Hamill, and other dedicated volunteers like him, do their work through the nonprofit organization Mob Rule, Inc., a loosely-bound coalition of community-minded individuals who run free workshops throughout the Los Angeles area.

The beauty of Mob Rule, Inc. is that anyone with an idea and some energy can get a class going with all the tax benefits of working through a nonprofit and none of the overhead.

Full Article and Source:
The (Elderly) Mob Rules