Thursday, March 1, 2012

Benjamin Alfano's Final Weeks Spent in Isolation

Benjamin Alfano, in the end, had MS and dementia. While he never lost his passion for gnocchi, he often forgot what he ate for breakfast.

Chris Farley, his court-appointed guardian, was characteristically blunt: Ben, she wrote, was "completely unable to act in his own best interests. He lacks the judgment and insight to keep himself from harm."

Yet one month after Farley shipped the 72-year-old amputee to Park Forest Care Center for Christmas, Alfano did what anyone in his right mind would do:

He bolted.

In one last desperate grab for freedom, Ben scurried out the door of the dour nursing home on his scooter, racing down four blocks of Northeast Beech Street before the care center posse reined him in just shy of 82nd Avenue.

One week later, Alfano was locked away in the Alzheimer's unit at Powell Valley in Gresham.

Four weeks later, he was dead from a shattered heart.

The loneliness and isolation Ben Alfano endured in those final weeks still haunts his four youngest children, given that it was engineered by the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs and their father's court-appointed guardian and lawyer.

In the four years Alfano lived at Raleigh Hills Assisted Living, those children -- Steven, David, Mary and Lisa -- were faithful stewards. Judy Bridges, the Raleigh Hills administrator at the time, said the sons were particularly devoted: "They were always there. Steven always took Ben to his appointments. Steven made all the arrangements, not the VA."

Richard Pagnano, Ben's court-appointed attorney, and Farley, the guardian, didn't believe that involvement served their client's interests. In February 2009, Pagnano wrote letters to Ben Alfano's doctors warning them not to disclose medical information "to any third parties, including the former temporary guardian, Steven Alfano."

Full Article and Source:
Steve Duin: Benjamin Alfano's Final Weeks are Spent in Isolation, Cut Off from His Family (Part 2)

See Also:
The Story of Benjamin Alfano and the Debate of Who Controls End-of-Life Decisions


Thelma said...

Killed with government-sanctioned care!

Barbara said...

The cruelest thing of all is isolation.

reformadvocates said...

I can empathize with the children, especially Steven. I was my dad's caregiver, as he lived with me in my home. Although I was the one responsible for taking him to his Dr. appointments, the so called "guardian" who was in another state (and had only met dad a handful of times) was in charge of his health care decisions. I can still feel the sting, remembering how it felt to be told that the staff couldn't discuss dad's health with me because the guardian had flexed her muscles. It made absolutely no sense; he lived in my home, I was responsible for his health care needs, for arranging and taking him to his Dr. appointments, yet now I was considered so unimportant that I didn't need to be kept in the loop? How could anyone in their right mind believe that his main caregiver didn't need to be informed of his health care needs? Thankfully after years of fighting and my kid's college funds depleted, I finally became his guardian, but I will never forget the pain and humiliation my dad and my family had to endure. It was always about the money with the Public Guardian in San Mateo County, Ca. It was NEVER about what was truly best for my dad. I wouldn't wish a forced guardianship on my worst enemy (well except for the guardian because that would be poetic justice). It is greed at its worst. I hope Mr. Alfano has finally found some peace.

Sue said...

Benjamin deserved better than this cruel treatment. Who will be next? If this is an example of protection, God help us all.

Mark said...

I am praying for this family.

Anonymous said...

Praying does not help stop the corrupt guardianship abuses in this country. Guardians keep track of the elder persons finances. Once they are depleated, neither guarduans, lawyers or judges, have any interest in the welfare of the elderly patient.eb