Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Bret Bohn Case Puts Spotlight on Alaska State Guardian Program
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