Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bret Bohn Case Puts Spotlight on Alaska State Guardian Program

A high-profile case involving the appointment of a state guardian for a 27-year-old Wasilla hunting guide hospitalized for nearly five months with a brain infection is getting attention from a well-known crusader against forced psychiatric drugging.

An Anchorage Superior Court judge last month appointed a state guardian to make medical and all other decisions for Bret Bohn at Providence Alaska Medical Center over the objections of his parents and other family members.

State officials couldn't release any information about the guardian assigned Bohn due to confidentiality restrictions.

It's pretty clear he or she is busy.

The state's adult guardians work with an average of 80 clients each, according to Elizabeth Russo, supervising attorney for the public guardian sector. In a hospital setting, they rely on national medical decision-making standards and try to make decisions based on what their clients would want.

A judge must assign a guardian, Russo said.

"You can't just walk into a room and say I'm now your guardian," she said. "The individual has due process rights that are taken into account. Courts don't make these decisions lightly."

But Jim Gottstein, an Anchorage attorney and co-founder of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, said the Bohn case illustrates an "incestuous" relationship between the state and hospitals when it comes to the guardian process.

A guardian rarely, if ever, questions a hospital's decisions, he said.

Full Article and Source:
Wasilla Guide Case Puts Spotlight on State Guardian Program

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Thelma said...

The problem is growing because people have due process rights which are too often NOT taken into account.

Anonymous said...

"You can't just walk into a room and say I'm now your guardian," she said. "The individual has due process rights that are taken into account. Courts don't make these decisions lightly."

Actually, you can.

It happens all the time.

In our area, the hospitals blast into court with no notice to any family members, a hand-picked guardian ad litem "for" the incapacitated person who is best friends with the hospital attorney, and fewer than the seven days' notice required by LAW.

No matter what the incapacitated person tells the GAL, he or she is not allowed to come to court. The courts are permitted to communicate with the incapacitated person by other means, like video, but never, ever do so, because the GAL doesn't relay to the court the incapacitated person's request to attend the hearing, request for an attorney, or objection to the guardianship petition.

The only people at the five minute court hearing are the hospital's attorney, her best buddy the GAL, and a representative of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, ready to scoop up the court order right after the judge rubber stamps it and walk out the door, all in fifteen minutes or less. Then, it's off to a rancid adult home for the unfortunate victim, whose family and friends will be barred as "disruptive" when they complain about the dangerous, filthy conditions.

This is just a sophisticated form of patient dumping, grounded in a legal and medical malpractice scam. My prediction: someday soon, it will collapse in a flurry of lawsuits.

Rhea said...

I have a lot of respect for Jim Gottstein and his work.

Anonymous said...

Hospitals are being watched by Medicare but not by private insurers for abuse. They can look people up for Mental illness for 15 days without any oversight they if they follow the rules 30 to 60 days with the approval of a judge with no guardianship. With a guardianship it gives them the ability to fill beds with no questions asked

Finny said...

Hospitals and doctors have too much power. It's as if it's forgotten that these are human beings capable of making mistakes or wrong judgments, etc.

Anonymous said...

I hope this case does shine a light so bright, reform is jumpstarted in Alaska.