Saturday, March 17, 2012

MA Hospital Locked in Battle Over Patient's Guardianship

A lawyer representing North Shore Medical Center filed a motion Wednesday to remove two women as legal guardians of their brother, a patient at Union Hospital, after one of the women caused numerous disruptions in the hospital, the lawyer said.

“(The woman) has interfered with the treatment of her brother... and interfered with the treatment of the other patients,” attorney Robert Ledoux told Judge Spencer Kagan at Middlesex Probate and Family Court.

But the accused woman, Lauren DeCruz, 65, of Lynn, said she is concerned about the way hospitals, including Union, have treated her brother, Richard Bianchi, because he is a diagnosed schizophrenic.

“I just think Richard has the right to be treated the same way someone without mental illness is treated,” DeCruz told the judge.

Ledoux said nurses in the Intensive Care Unit at Union called Lynn Police on DeCruz last week after she caused a disruption in the ICU following an ethics consult regarding Bianchi’s care, and she was given a no trespass order.

“Families of other patients had to be removed because she was so loud,” Ledoux said.

DeCruz said she argued with Union Hospital personnel over their treatment of Bianchi after he stopped breathing. Bianchi, 56, has Stage 4 lung cancer and other ailments in addition to his mental illness. She maintains the police did not issue a no trespassing order, but said she has been sending her husband in her place to prevent more disruption.

“There’s no piece of paper that says I can’t go on the property,” DeCruz said.

Ledoux said his clients believe there is a “do not resuscitate” order in effect for Bianchi, but admitted to Kagan that he isn’t sure where it came from. DeCruz said her brother never signed the order, and, as a mental patient, it should be invalid if he did.

“The (order) was very much misinterpreted, falsified and kept from the family,” DeCruz claimed.

DeCruz, who was a nurse for 35 years, said she plans to take care of Bianchi at her own home with the help of hospice care if she maintains guardianship.

Full Article and Source:
Hospital Locked in Battle Over Patient's Guardianship

Keep the Courts Out of Hospital Rooms

Advanced-care directives are instructions about end-of-life care made by an individual to determine the course of treatment in the event that he or she is near death and unconscious or mentally incapacitated, or in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for improvement. In an age when medical science can keep comatose people alive for years, such directives allow people to end life as closely as possible in accordance with their wishes.

Two bills sponsored by Republican Rep. Dan Itse of Fremont would make the use of advanced-care directives more difficult. In some situations, they could potentially countermand the wishes of a dying individual. They both deserve defeat.

The use of advanced-care directives has increased slowly and steadily over the two-plus decades they've been in use. Having a directive on file makes decision-making far easier for loved ones and medical providers. Everyone would be wise to fill one out, have it witnessed, copied and filed with important papers and medical providers. But the reality is, people procrastinate. House Bill 1216 would punish them for it by taking power away from their loved ones and needlessly giving it to the courts.

Full Article and Souce:
Keep the Courts out of Hospital Rooms

Friday, March 16, 2012


To: All friends and victims of Senior citizen abuse, and Financial

March 14, 2012

By now, you should be aware that after a large number of complaints were filed with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission complaining about the antics of the two guardian ad litem and the attorney for the plenary guardian, the commission determined that they should prosecute me and call me a 'liar.' The ARDC elected to prosecute me for complaining that the Civil rights and the Human Rights of Mary Sykes and Gloria Sykes were violated by attorneys appointed by the Court to protect the rights of Mary Sykes.

The complaint that was filed against me should be available on the ARDC website. I have prepared a Motion to Dismiss the complaint as the complaint while replete with distortions and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ conclusions fails to state a claim. Indeed, had the author of the complaint done any due diligence – such as reading the numerous communicates from ordinary citizens the complaint would never have been filed. That said, Mr. Chambers has forwarded to various active groups copies of the Motion and the exhibits. It is hoped that they post the Motion and the exhibits so as to energize everyone who is concerned with ‘substance’ and not ‘form’ to join in the effort to ‘save’ both Mary Sykes and Gloria Sykes. (see Gloria’s affidavit attached to the Motion) Gloria Sykes made the error of attempting to ‘fight’ for her mother’s liberty, right to own and enjoy her property, and to fraternize with her friends, and family. The consequences are a series of Court orders that have rendered her homeless and unable to access her property. Mary is just deprived of all her liberty, property and human rights. While all this is going on Mary’s substantial estate (estimated at a million dollars) has been reported to have been dissipated.

I have filed a ‘human rights’ complaint with the United Nations. I expect absolutely nothing from the effort, however, it has had one consequence. I have been called a liar pursuant to the new definition. A lie is any combination of words and phrases that does not advance the agenda of the political elite. The word and the concept of accuracy and/or truth are irrelevant to the new definition.

As I am in the middle of my seventh decade of life, I am a word conservative. I find it very difficult to refer to a chattel mortgage as a ‘hard loan,’ or a guarantee as a ‘credit swap.’ The concept of a liar being a person who tells the truth about of quasi or de jure public official is just too much for me. I am hoping that some of the blogs will post this appeal to all ‘word conservatives’ to join arms and protest such radical changes in the English language. In the meantime, I would like to urge everyone to raise their voice and join the hue and cry to reject ‘form’ and demand substance, i. e . ‘free Mary Sykes while she still has time to enjoy some her life!

I had a terrible thought just now – can you imagine the guardian ad litem in the Sykes case being judges! This type of travesty is entirely possible if you take democracy for granted. It is not a spectator sport. The political elite feed us ‘form’ and are vague as to substance. The recent harassments of Gloria Sykes will limited and directed to harass and deprive her of her civil rights are a stark reminder that it was not too long ago men in ‘brown shirts’ took over a country and plunged the world into a nightmare. Elder Abuse is doing the same one senior at the time – that senior could be me! Ergo ****.

Ken Ditkowsky

See Also:
Mary Sykes, Illinois Victim

In the Matter of Kenneth Karl Ditkowsky

OOPS...Britney Spears' Conservator Did It Again

The once-troubled pop star sure has been in the news a lot lately. Settling lawsuits, postponing her wedding, negotiating to be a judge on The X Factor, putting one of her mansions up for sale. It makes you wonder … is Britney Spears making any decisions about her life, or does her father, as her Conservator, decide everything?

Several months ago, we wrote how her father, Jamie Spears, was using the conservatorship to insulate Britney from lawsuits, including one by a company called Brand Sense. The company had sued Britney for breach of contract, after Team Britney cut Brand Sense out of profits from her perfume deal with Elizabeth Arden. Because Britney had been declared mentally incompetent, which justified the conservatorship, her father and their attorneys were able to keep Britney from being questioned under oath in a deposition for the lawsuit.

The downside to this? They can’t have their cake and eat it too. If Britney is not competent to answer questions in a deposition, then can she be competent enough to be married? Likely not, which is why her wedding date is being postponed until the Lufti lawsuit ends.

But, that’s not the only problem. Most recently, newspapers report that Trawick is negotiating with Simon Cowell’s The X Factor for Britney to be a judge on the show. Reportedly, they’ve offered Britney $10 million, but she wants $20 million. She’s even said to be ready to undergo media training to get ready for her judge-ship.

This of course raises the question. If she’s competent enough to serve as a talent judge on a major TV network television show, how in the world can she be so incompetent that she can’t make her own decisions?

Full Article and Source:
OOPS, Britney Spears Conservator Did It Again

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jury Trial Expected in Jeffrey Schend Case

A former Appleton guardian accused of stealing from his elderly and disabled clients is expected to go to trial in July.

Jeffrey M. Schend, 45, appeared in Outagamie County Court today for a status conference on six felony counts of theft and one misdemeanor theft count.

Judge Gregory Gill Jr. told attorneys the case would likely go to trial in July, though didn’t immediately set dates for the trial, which is expected to last a week.

As a guardian, Schend was appointed by county judges to handle finances for elderly and disabled people deemed incompetent to manage their own affairs.

Officials weren’t able to account for about $500,000 from the estates of his former clients.

The trial had been scheduled to begin [March 12], though was delayed based on the continuing investigation. Outagamie County hired a forensic accountant to review Schend’s finances.

The review was recently completed, and attorneys are expected to meet with the accountant as soon as next week.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Melinda Tempelis said it’s still likely prosecutors would file additional charges against Schend before the case reaches trial.

Full Article and Source:
July Trial Expected in Case of Jeffrey M. Schend, Former Appleton Guardian Charged with Theft of Elderly, Disabled Clients

See Also:
The Jeffrey Schend Case

NH: House OK's Advance Directive Bills

Lawmakers are poised to change the state’s advanced-directive laws which govern a person’s wishes if he or she is incapacitated or near death.

The House approved House Bill 1216, which would prevent hospitals and other health care facilities from removing life-sustaining services or nutrition without a court order, unless the person has a living will or designated guardian.

And the House approved HB 1217, which would allow advanced-directive forms, including those from other states, to be valid in New Hampshire.

HB 1216 was approved on a 206-118 vote, and HB 1217 on a 214-110 vote.

Directives include such things as hydration, nutrition or life-sustaining treatment such as ventilation or kidney dialysis.

Under current state law, such treatment may be withheld if the directive is included in a living will, or the person has a designated guardian or court order, or if it is a facility’s standard protocol.

House OK's Advance Directive Bills

Iowa: Elder Abuse Remains a Grossly Under Recognized Social Injustice

Elder abuse is grossly under-recognized and under-reported. It’s estimated that 84 percent of elder abuse cases go unreported and that 40 percent of all elder abuse involves some form of financial exploitation.

Research also has shown that elder abuse can dramatically shorten the life of a victim. The types of elder abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, financial exploitation, denial of critical care by caretaker, self-neglect and verbal/psychological abuse.

Iowa is one of five states that does not have a law specifically addressing the unique needs of older adults. Iowa has a Dependent Adult Abuse Law, which is overseen by the Department of Human Services. Under this law, in order for DHS to intervene in cases of suspected abuse, there must be the following criteria: a dependent adult (a person age 18 or older), a caretaker and an allegation of abuse recognized by Iowa Code 235B or 235E.

This current law does not address the needs of victims who are experiencing abuse from someone who is not their caretaker, nor does it address an older adult who is experiencing self-neglect due to mental health issues or dementia.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse Remains a Grossly Under Recognized Social Injustice

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jeffrey Schend Case Investigation Drawing to Close

Attorneys say an exhaustive investigation into a former guardian accused of stealing from his elderly and disabled clients is drawing to a close.

An upcoming review of a forensic accountant's findings could result in additional charges against Jeffrey M. Schend, of Appleton. Schend, 45, appeared Monday in Outagamie County Court for a status conference on six felony counts of theft and one misdemeanor theft count filed against him last year.

As a guardian, Schend was appointed by county judges to handle finances for elderly and disabled people deemed incompetent to manage their own affairs. Officials weren't able to account for about $500,000 from the estates of his former clients.

Schend, who is free on a signature bond, faces more than 54 years in prison if convicted on each of the current counts.

Appleton Guardian Theft Accounting Completed

See Also:
District Attorney: Jeffrey Schend Could Face New Charges

Former Atty Sentenced to 5 Years Probation for Stealing from Elderly Client

If you have power of attorney over a 94-year-old woman who lives in a nursing home, has no relatives, and suffers from dementia, how should you handle her in her vulnerable position? From the year 2000 onwards, Jeffrey Elverman, decided to rob her. Elverman, 52, a former lawyer for Quarles and Brady, was sentenced Thursday to five years probation, with seven months to be spent in jail, and to a fine of $325,000 to recompensate Dorothy Phinney for the more than $370,000 he took from her.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen regretted he wasn’t putting Elverman in prison, but he was more concerned with letting him work so that he could pay Phinney back. Elverman must pay $1,400 a month this year towards restitution, $2,000 next year, and $3,000 in 2014.

“You’re a smart guy,” Conen said to Elverman. “I think you know the ramifications if this doesn’t work out.” With such a direct gesture at a five year prison sentence, Conen also said “The forefront of this case is restitution. We want Ms. Phinney to be made whole – as quickly as possible.”

Full Article and Source:
Former Attorney Sentenced to 5 Years Probation for Stealing From Elderly Client

Few Complaints Against Federal Judges Lead to Disciplinary Action

Complaints about the conduct of federal judges are not uncommon, but few lead to disciplinary action and public reprimand is rare, legal experts say.

Even rarer are cases in which federal judges are removed from office by Congress through impeachment.

Montana's Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull is facing possible disciplinary action by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a racist and sexist email about President Obama that he admitted forwarding from his office computer to several friends last month.

Cebull has publicly apologized and has asked 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski for a review of his actions.

At least two organizations, the Montana Human Rights Network and Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog group, have filed formal complaints against Cebull, saying his conduct has violated codes of conduct. They called for Cebull to resign.

Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at the New York University School of Law, said this week that Cebull's conduct appears to violate Canon 2 of the Code of Conduct, which says a judge should respect and comply with the law at all times "in a manner that promotes confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."

Gillers said Cebull is subject to discipline by the 9th Circuit's judicial council, which is a group of appellate and trial judges with the authority to discipline judges.

Sanctions available include private or public censure or reprimand, Gillers said.

"Public discipline of federal judges is exceedingly rare," Gillers said. "This case deserves it."

Full Article and Source:
Few Complaints Against Federal Judges Lead to Disciplinary Action

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Early Death in Nursing Homes

Elderly folks ages 65 and up who are living in a nursing home and taking certain antipsychotic medications for dementia could be hastening their death.

The Harvard Medical School undertook the largest study ever among US nursing home residents, researchers looked at 75,445 older nursing home residents from 45 US states between 2001 and 2005. All nursing home residents studied were at least 65 years of age. Risks of mortality were examined over a 6 months period.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in 2005 that atypical antipsychotic drugs are associated with an increased risk of mortality in elderly patients with dementia, but questions still remain on the differing risks of each drug. This warning later included conventional antipsychotics in 2008. The authors report that despite these warnings, the use of these drugs is likely to continue because of the "continued growth of the dementia population" and the need for some type of intervention.

The study assessed death risks linked to individual antipsychotic drugs including aripiprazole, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone and ziprasidone.

Out of the 75,445 nursing home residents, a total of 6,598 died within the six month study from causes other then cancer. Patients treated with haloperidol had twice the risk of death compared with those taking risperidone, while those taking quetiapine had a less of a risk. The effect of haloperidol was strongest during the first 40 days of treatment which did not change after a dose adjustment. Almost half of deaths (49%) were recorded as due to circulatory disorders, 10% to brain disorders and 15% to respiratory disorders.

Full Article and Source:
Early Death in Nursing Homes

Not All Antipsychotics are the Same According to Study

A number of studies have shown that antipsychotics raise the risk of death in patients with dementia, but a new, large study suggests that the risk differs substantially depending on the drug.

The study, published online Thursday in the British Medical Journal, examined some 75,000 nursing home patients with dementia for risk of death within six months of their beginning to take an antipsychotic drug, including haloperidol, quetiapine and risperidone.

The results showed that patients who used haloperidol showed a doubling in their risk of mortality compared to those who got risperidone, while quetiapine users were significantly less likely to die compared to risperidone users. There weren’t significant differences between other types of antipsychotics and risperidone. (Risperidone was used for comparison because it was the most widely prescribed antipsychotic in the study population.)

Antipsychotics are regularly used for dementia patients with agitation or disruptive behaviors, though the FDA issued several years ago a black-box warning describing the increased risk of death for this patient population.

Full Article and Source:
Not All Antipsychotics are the Same, Study

Monday, March 12, 2012

Attention Texas Advocates! Notice of Public Hearing


TIME & DATE: 10:00 AM, Thursday, March 15, 2012
PLACE: Austin, TX Capital, Rm. E2.010
CHAIR: Rep. Jim Jackson

The Committee will hear invited testimony on the following interim charges:

Study the potential effects on victims of family and domestic violence in the judicial process if courts are allowed to issue agreed protective orders without a finding of violence.

Study and make recommendations regarding the discrepancies in guardianship and child custody statutes. Review potential solutions to the problems surrounding "arbitrary and capricious" findings by trial court judges.

GRADE - Guardianship Reform Advocates for the Disabled and Elderly

OR: Legislation Aims to Protect Seniors From Financial Abuse

Before adjourning, the Oregon Legislature passed a law making it easier to investigate abuse among people over age 65. House Bill 4084 allows investigating agencies to look at the financial and medical records of seniors, extends the statute of limitations on certain elder abuse crimes (including theft and robbery) from two years to six years, and removes the ability to expunge these crimes from a person’s criminal record.

Cosponsored by Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Eugene) and Rep. Vic Gilliam (R-Molalla, Silverton), the bill passed the Houseafter a work group looked into how the state could modernize elder abuse investigations.

“There’s a perception that the tools to tackle elder abuse are at least a decade or two behind models to tackle child abuse,” said Fred Steele, manager of the Department of Human Services.

Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) was the only dissenting vote in the House after raising privacy concerns about requiring healthcare providers to inspect medical records of elderly patients (without their consent) in the event of an abuse investigation. It also allows the Department of Human Services to release names of victims or witnesses to law enforcement agencies.

Full Article and Source:
Legislation Aims to Protect Seniors From Financial Abuse

Sunday, March 11, 2012

GA School Secretary Accused of Numerous Charges of Abuse Against Disabled and Elderly

A DeKalb County school secretary faces numerous charges of abuse against disabled and elderly people.

Cedar Grove Middle School secretary Bobbie Neil Ward was arrested at the school Thursday afternoon. She faces 29 charges including abuse of disabled adults, aggravated assault, identity fraud and exploitation of an elderly person.

Police said Ward is also charged with physical abuse against a client.

“She’s charged with burning one of the disabled adults with a curling iron and beating him with extension cords,” said Nicole Marchaud, a lawyer with the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. “We can see a trend of her taking advantage of these poor folks in various ways through financial means, physical means, verbal abuse…any means necessary for her to get what she wants to get, which ultimately is their money.”

Marchaud said prosecutors will seek maximum prison time for Ward.

Full Article and Source:
DeKalb School Secretary Accused of Elderly Abuse

MO Senator Wants to Expand Law on Elder Abuse

A Missouri senator wants the state to expand its law on elder abuse by adding language to protecting older citizens from financial exploitation.

Sen. Kevin Engler is proposing to make it a crime for those with authority over an elderly person to take advantage of the older person's state of mind for financial gain. The legislation would apply to people who have guardianship, power of attorney or some other financial management role for seniors.

Full Article and Source:
MO Senator Seeks to Expand Elder Abuse Law

Group Home Employee Arrested for Assault

A 49-year-old group home employee has been arrested after police say he assaulted one of the residents, a vulnerable adult.

On Wednesday night, police were called to a group home for disabled adults, located at 3701 W El Camino Drive.

The supervisor of the group home called police to report an employee witnessed another employee assaulting one of the patients.

The witness told officers he had just observed 49-year-old La Marcus Dixon slap the victim in the face, the back of the head and neck. When the witness coworker tried to stop Dixon, he allegedly continued slapping.

The victim, who is known to react to stress by banging his head on objects, started hitting his head against the bathroom wall.

The victim has a mental impairment which includes autism and mental retardation.

Dixon denied touching or assaulting the victim. He was placed under arrest on one count of vulnerable adult abuse.

Caretaker Accused of Adult Abuse