Saturday, January 10, 2015

Detroit judge deemed too mentally ill to sit on bench

Judge Brenda Sanders suffers serious mental illness, making her unfit to sit on Detroit's 36th District Court, a fact-finder ruled. Her attorney says she should keep her seat and seek treatment.

The state's Judicial Tenure Commission will decide next month whether to seek removal of Detroit District Court Judge Brenda Sanders, deemed too "psychotic" and "delusional" to sit on the bench, following a disciplinary hearing.

"Sadly, the evidence clearly proves that (Sanders) is psychotic and clearly seriously mentally ill," retired Wayne County Michael Sapala said in his ruling issued earlier this week. Sapala sat as the fact-finder during a three-day hearing in December on the troubled judge.

"Her mental disorders render her unfit to sit as a judge. Her illness prevents her from being able to properly perform judicial duties."

The nine-member judicial tenure commission will hear final arguments Feb. 9 and issue their findings in March. The Michigan Supreme Court will make the final decision.

Sanders, who has been on the 36th District Court bench since 2008, came under scrutiny in December 2013 when she wrote U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade a rambling letter, insisting that her fellow judges were being murdered for bringing attention to wrongdoing at the court.

"I believe they were murdered because they spoke out against some of the wrongs that were committed at the court," she wrote in her letter, now part of the public record. "A newspaper tried to name me as a suspect in one of the murders. I was at work on the day of the crime."

She later identified the newspaper as the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper has never written about Sanders as a suspect in a murder.

She also alleged that the Michigan Supreme Court was targeting her and had evicted her from her home.

A psychiatrist who examined the letter determined that "her insight and judgment are too impaired because of her delusions to render opinions not only in court, but elsewhere, but particularly in court as a judge." The tenure commission sought to have her examined by the psychiatrist but she failed to show up for three appointments.

Sapala also ruled that Sanders violated court rules when she took a lengthy medical leave in September 2013 saying she was "100 percent" disabled because of knee problems that required surgery. That surgery never took place. She did not return to the bench, and she was suspended without pay in July 2014.

Paul Fischer, the commission's executive director who presented the evidence against Sanders, called it "a very sad case."

It's unclear what impact, if any, Sander's illness might have on cases she handled before she left the bench. Fischer said the discipline was based on the letter to McQuade and other matters unrelated to her court docket. Litigants who might want to challenge her rulings would need to follow the appellate process and take their cases to higher courts.

Sanders is living with family in South Carolina and did not attend the hearing in December. She could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Cyril Hall, said Sanders was "amenable" to treatment for her mental illness and should not be removed from the bench.

"There are a number of judges out there taking medication," Hall said. "This is a person we're just going to throw away because of mental illness. That's just totally wrong."

Should she be removed, Gov. Rick Snyder would appoint a replacement.

Full Article & Source:
Detroit judge deemed too mentally ill to sit on bench

Girl's guardian charged with welfare fraud, theft

Steve Sells
ANDERSON — Charges of welfare fraud, theft and perjury were filed against Steve Sells this week.

He’s the 58-year-old grandfather and legal guardian of a 16-year-old teenage girl who was found starved and severely abused at a home in the 3400 block of Forest Terrace early last month.

The latest charges stem from an investigation by the Social Security Administration into how Supplemental Security Income Program, or SSI, benefits collected by Sells were spent.

From January 2008 to December 2014, he allegedly collected more than $55,590 in SSI benefits to care for the girl who suffers from undisclosed physical and developmental disorders. Investigators say the money was deposited in accounts at the Madison County Federal Credit Union, Independent Federal Credit Union and Mainsource Bank.

“Due to the condition in which the beneficiary was found, these benefits were misused by Sells and not used for the care and support of the beneficiary,” according to a probable cause affidavit He was charged by local officials with two counts of Class C felony welfare fraud, two counts of Level 6 theft and one count of Class D felony perjury, according to court documents.

The girl was found by medics on Dec. 1 not breathing and without a pulse, weighing less than 40 pounds and covered with feces. She’s currently recovering at St. Vincent Indianapolis Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.

Jennifer Sells, the girl’s biological mother, said the girl is awake, alert, and can get out of bed, Fox59 reported Wednesday.

Sells and his wife, Joetta, are currently being held responsible for her condition.

Steve Sells was charged with 12 felony counts ranging from neglect to battery for his alleged role in the girl’s abuse. Authorities say the girl was kept locked in a room at  the home day and night since 2011. She was fed little and the conditions were unsanitary, police records show. Witnesses told police that Sells attacked and battered the girl, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Full Article & Source: 
Girl's guardian charged with welfare fraud, theft

Wichita police: Scammers bilk thousands of dollars from elderly couple

A couple in their 80s is out several thousand dollars after scammers convinced them to part with money in exchange for a “jackpot” of more than $20 million, police said Thursday.

An 81-year-old woman called police Wednesday to report a check they had received wasn’t honored by their bank, Lt. James Espinoza said. She said she and her 82-year-old husband had been corresponding since October with a business calling itself American Family Publishers.

The scammers used telephone conversations and official-looking documents to persuade the couple to send several checks totaling more than $9,000 in exchange for a purported $20 million, Espinoza said.

“This wasn’t one of your ‘one phone call trying to get your money’ ” scams, he said.

Robbie Namee, trade practice specialist with the Better Business Bureau, said the case sounds like a classic lottery scam: The caller says the recipient has won a large sum of money, but they need to send a small fee so the money can be released. Or to pay taxes on the prize. Or for some other reason.

“It breaks my heart,” Namee said when she learned how much money the couple had lost.

Scammers hunt for victims, she said, and once they find someone who falls for their pitch, they look for other ways to extract additional money.

“People preying on the elderly is very shameful — very wrong,” Espinoza said.

An investigation into the scam is in its early stages, he said.

The scam is a reminder of an old but valid statement, Espinoza said: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Residents with elderly parents should keep an eye out to make sure they’re not being victimized by scammers, he said.

“Any time you’re contacted regarding a contest you never entered to begin with, it should be a red flag,” Namee said. “If you have to pay a fee to win money, that’s another red flag.”

If you’re being asked to send money out of state or out of the country to someone you don’t know, she said, “check it out.” Chances are, it’s a scam.

If there’s a quick deadline for accepting the money, she said, it’s another red flag.

“I hate seeing seniors getting caught up” in scams like this one, Namee said.

Read more here:

Full Article & Source:
Wichita police: Scammers bilk thousands of dollars from elderly couple

Friday, January 9, 2015

2 Years After Car Crash, Man in 'Minimally Conscious State' Suddenly Speaks

A man in Italy who was in what doctors call a "minimally conscious state" for nearly two years unexpectedly regained full consciousness and the ability to talk, according to a new report of his case.
The man woke up after he was given a drug normally used as a sedative before surgery and other medical procedures, the case report showed.

The 43-year-old man was admitted to a hospital after a car accident, and was in a coma for 40 days. People who are comatose are completely unconscious — they have no sleep/wake cycles, and do not respond to their surroundings in any way.

The man awoke from the coma but remained in a "minimally conscious state," which means that although he remained largely unable to communicate or move, he was able to voluntarily open and close his eyes, and reach for and touch objects. He also had a sleep-wake cycle.

When he was discharged from the hospital 10 months later, he still did not talk or communicate with other people, nor did he respond to simple commands asking him to, for instance, close his eyes.
Over the next year, the man's cognitive ability started to decline; his movements became abnormally slow; and he began to engage in aimless, repetitive behaviors, such as clapping.

But then, about two years after the accident, the man's doctors wanted to examine his brain using a CT scan. To do the scan, they gave the man a mild sedative called midazolam. [7 Mind-Bending Facts About Dreams]
A few minutes later, the man began to talk and interact with others.

"He talked by cellphone with his aunt and congratulated his brother when he was informed of his graduation; he recognized the road leading to his home," the researchers who treated the man wrote in the case report. However, the man did not remember the accident, and he was not aware of the way it had affected his health, they wrote.

This is the first report of midazolam having an "awakening" effect, the researchers said.

However, the effect wore off after about two hours, and the man returned to his previous state, unresponsive to the environment, according to the study.

To see whether it was indeed the drug that caused the brief improvement in the man's condition, the researchers gave the man midazolam again. Several minutes following the administration, the patient began to interact with his brother and answered questions the researchers asked him. He was also able to calculate simple math problems, such as 100 minus 7, as well as read and understand simple sentences, such as "Close your eyes."

This time around, the researchers scanned the man's brain before, during and after the administration of midazolam, and identified the locations within the brain that were affected by the drug. They found that those regions previously had been linked to the symptoms of catatonia, which is a state of unresponsiveness to stimuli that is often associated with schizophrenia.

Moreover, the researchers noted, patients with catatonia have been reported to respond to midazolam in the past. The symptoms of the man in this report were similar to those of catatonic patients, which may mean that he was indeed catatonic and therefore responded to the drug, according to the study.

However, it is not completely clear whether the patient did indeed suffer from catatonia or whether his condition merely included certain catatonic symptoms, the researchers wrote.

Although midazolam was effective as a short-term method of treating the man's symptoms, the researchers said they could not keep giving it to him. Usually, the drug is given only to people in intensive-care units, where they can be monitored continuously, said Dr. Maria Chiara Carboncini, medical director of the Brain Injury Unit in the University Hospital of Pisa's Department of Neuroscience in Italy, who treated the patient and was a co-author of the report.

The researchers tried treating the man with another drug called lorazepam, which belongs to the same class of drugs as midazolam but can be administered more easily, as the patient does not have to be monitored continuously, Carboncini told Live Science.

However, after several days of therapy with lorazepam, the man became agitated and aggressive. His doctors switched him to carbamazepine, a drug used to treat people with epilepsy. This drug allowed the man to "maintain the improvement of his ability to interact and communicate with people," Carboncini said.

The study was published in the November issue of the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

Full Article & Source:
2 Years After Car Crash, Man in 'Minimally Conscious State' Suddenly Speaks

Connecticut Supreme Court upholds ruling that teen must undergo chemo

The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld a prior ruling Thursday that a 17-year-old cancer patient cannot refuse chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The state argued that the teen lacked competency extended to maturity and that they did not believe she understood the severity of her prognosis. Her mother and her mother's lawyer said they expect to go back to trial court to more fully explore the mature minor argument.

The teen, who is identified in court documents as “Cassandra C.,” but was identified by police as Cassandra Callender in a November missing persons report, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September. At the time, doctors at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) recommended she receive chemotherapy.

Cassandra ran away after two treatments in November and, with the support of her mother, refused any more when she returned. After the hospital reported Cassandra’s mother, Jackie Fortin, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) took temporary custody of the teen, and her mother was ordered to cooperate with medical care administered under the agency’s supervision.

The teen believes the chemotherapy will do more damage to her body than the cancer will, according to the Hartford Courant. Doctors have said the teen has an 80 to 85 percent chance of living -- with six months of chemotherapy treatment, according to Fox News’ legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr.

After the arguments Thursday, Fortin said she would not allow her daughter to die. The single mother said she and her daughter want to seek alternative treatments that don't include putting the "poison" of chemotherapy into her daughter's body.

"This is her decision and her rights, which is what we are here fighting about," Fortin said. "We should have choices about what to do with our bodies."

Fortin and her lawyer said they are considering the next step after losing the case.

The teen’s doctors testified at a trial court hearing after which the DCF was authorized to make medical decisions on her behalf. The teen and her mother appealed the ruling, claiming it violates their constitutional right and that the state should recognize the “mature minor doctrine.”

The doctrine permits a minor who exhibits the maturity of an adult to make decisions reserved for those who attained the age of majority, meaning 18. Cassandra turns 18 in September. Johnson, who himself battled Hodgkin's disease at age 18, disagrees that it should apply to Cassandra.

“The family is wrong on the law, and wrong on the ethics, and wrong on the humanity,” he told Fox & Friends’ Peter Doocy.

“Wrong on the law, first of all, the state of Connecticut has an obligation to preserve life of an infant. The state of Connecticut has an obligation to prevent suicide. If she does not get this treatment, this is a form of suicide, and frankly the American Civil Liberties Union is complicit in her death if she dies,” Johnson said.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the body’s lymphatic system, specifically the white blood cells that help the body fight infection and disease. A form of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of the two is typically used to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

Prior to the ruling, Johnson said the state’s Supreme Court will have to decide whether to send the case back down to a lower court for another hearing to determine the competency of the mother and of the child in terms of making the decision to halt treatment.

“Do 16- and 17-year-old children have the judgment, the perspective, the discretion, the experience to be making these life and death decisions? I say they do not,” Johnson said.

Fortin told the Hartford Courant that even prior to her diagnosis, Cassandra would have opted not to undergo chemotherapy.

“This is her decision, and she’s very intelligent enough to make this decision on her own,” Fortin said. “She does not want poisons in her body, and she does not want to be forced through the state or the government to force her to do such a thing. And right now, at this moment, she is being forced chemo upon her against her wish.”

Full Article & Source:
Connecticut Supreme Court upholds ruling that teen must undergo chemo

Health aide charged with stealing from Corning man

An Elmira woman was charged this week with stealing more than $2,000 from an elderly man who was in her care.

Tara Girardi, 28, a home health aide who lives on Allen Street in Elmira, was charged with fourth degree grand larceny.

The theft was reported by a family member of the victim, Corning police said. Some of the missing money has been recovered but not all of it, police said.

Girardi appeared in City of Corning Court on Tuesday and was released on her own recognizance. She turned herself in and is cooperating with the investigation, police said. Girardi will return to court Jan. 13.

Girardi is also under indictment for petit larceny in Chemung County on charges she stole money from a recycling firm where she was employed.

Full Article & Source:
Health aide charged with stealing from Corning man

Thursday, January 8, 2015

WFTS - INCAPACITATED: Behind the Scenes

WFTS - INCAPACITATED: Behind the Scenes

Cops: Woman in apartment under daughter may have died in '13

GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. — Authorities say a 94-year-old woman's badly decomposed body may have been in her upstate New York apartment for more than a year before being discovered, despite her daughter living just above her.

Police and prosecutors in Fulton County tell local media that Hope Ruller may have died in her first-floor apartment in Gloversville as long as 14 months ago before being discovered Dec. 29 after police received a request from a relative to check on her welfare.

Officials say her daughter lived in the two-story home's upstairs apartment along with an adult son.
Officials say an autopsy was conducted but a cause of death couldn't be determined because of the body's severely decomposed condition.

Police say Ruller's death is being treated as suspicious. No arrests have been made, but police say their investigation is continuing.

Full Article & Source:
Cops: Woman in apartment under daughter may have died in '13

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Linda Kincaid Reports: Family’s 3rd request to sheriff for elder abuse, sexual assault investigation

Sheriff John McMahon

In 2010, Jean Swope was taken from her home and hidden from family at Wildwood Canyon Villa, an assisted living facility in San Bernardino County, CA. Wildwood kept Jean in a locked unit and told family,
She is allowed no visitors and no phone calls.
Family begged the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for help. Documents filed with the court show that sheriff’s deputies aided the abusers and threatened Jean’s family. Jean’s daughter said she was afraid to be in San Bernardino County. A family friend said he was followed.

With Jean’s death, she is no longer in danger of abuse or retaliation. However, the abusers remain at large and free to continue abusing. Jean’s daughter says she is especially concerned about the possibility that a sexual predator may continue to abuse.

On December 23, 2014, Jean’s family sent the following letter to Sheriff John McMahon.
Sheriff McMahon,
RE: Third Request to Investigate Possible Repeated Sexual Assaults
In July 2010, we reported physical, mental, and financial abuse of my mom. SBCSD did nothing to help. Rather, a Deputy Grant Ward and a Sergeant Paul Morrison aided and abetted the abuse. My mom remained imprisoned and forcibly isolated.
In June 2011, we again reported physical and mental abuse of my mom. Captain Hamblin wrote that my mom was in a safe and well cared for state. My mom remained imprisoned and forcibly isolated.
In September 2013, I submitted excerpts of documents to Chief Bill Lenew, and I requested an investigation of possible repeated sexual assaults on my mom by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa. Chief Lenew did not respond to my request. To our knowledge, there has been no investigation.
In August 2014, I submitted directly to you extensive evidence of physical, mental, and financial abuse, and evidence of repeated sexual assaults. To our knowledge, there has been no review of those documents and no investigation.
On November 26, 2014, we took the deposition of the male caregiver we suspect of repeatedly sexually assaulting my mom, possibly several times a week, for many months in 2011 and 2012. Our counsel asked, Did you sexually assault Carol Hahn? The deponent exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, and he refused to answer the question. The deponent also exercised his Fifth Amendment right concerning any employment from 2007 forward. Our counsel learned that the male caregiver worked for a number of assisted living facilities and inhome care services in San Bernardino.
On December 15, 2014, I wrote to directly to you with my second request for an investigation of possible repeated sexual assaults on my mom by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa. That letter included indicators of sexual assault that were excerpted from documents created by VITAS hospice nurse Sandra Coggins, RN. You have not responded to that letter.
This letter is my third request for an investigation of possible repeated sexual assaults on my mom by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa. This letter includes indicators of sexual assault that were excerpted from documents created by VITAS hospice physician Victoria Rains, MD. My next letter will include indicators of sexual assault from documents created by physicians at Kaiser Fontana Emergency Room.
To our knowledge, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has not conducted any investigation into the possibility of repeated sexual assaults against my mom. To our knowledge, your Department has not taken any action to protect other vulnerable elders in San Bernardino County.
Readers who suspect a loved on my have been sexually abused by a male caregiver can contact this Examiner at

Full Article & Source:
Family’s 3rd request to sheriff for elder abuse, sexual assault investigation

Linda Kincaid Reports: Community Care Licensing botched elder abuse, sexual assault investigation

On March 11, 2013, the family of Jean Swope reported that Jean may have been repeatedly sexually assaulted by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa, a San Bernardino County, CA assisted living facility. Regulations require that Community Care Licensing (CCL) respond to a complaint within ten days.

Records from CCL show that Licensing Program Analyst (LPA) Susan Parker conducted the required “10-day” visit on August 1, 2013, nearly five months after the complaint. Parker determined the complaint “Needs Further Investigation.” CCL files show the next activity on the case was January 21, 2014, more than ten months after the complaint. 

LPA Parker neglected to inform Jean’s family of her findings. In order to review the investigation report, family had to drive over 400 miles from northern California to Riverside, where the physical file is located. Family informed CCL supervisor Sylvia Lucero nearly a week ahead of their visit to review the file. On the day family visited the CCL office, Wildwood’s file was not available. Family had to make a second trip to the CCL office to obtain a copy of the investigation.

LPA Parker wrote in her Complaint Investigation Report:
Allegation regarding resident # 1 may have been sexually abused: In late July, early August 2012 resident #1 had some bleeding issues. The allegation is that resident #1 may have been sexually abused by a male caregiver who worked the night shift.
LPA Parker neglected to mention that vaginal bleeding in an elderly woman is an indicator of sexual assault. Parker neglected to mention that Jean had a hysterectomy at age forty. Parker neglected to mention that Jean said of the male caregiver, “They say we have to get married. I will not marry that man.”
This male staff person no longer works for Wildwood.
LPA Parker neglected to mention that Wildwood terminated the male staff person shortly after Jean’s vaginal bleeding.
LPA Parker reviewed resident #1’s file.
LPA Parker neglected to mention that Jean’s file showed she was terrified of the male caregiver. Jean had increased agitation on nights when the male caregiver was on duty. Jean fought, screamed, and begged for help. Wildwood responded by administering Ativan, Seroquel, and Haldol to “control agitation.”
LPA Parker neglected to mention that Wildwood “lost” records that would establish which caregivers were on duty in the six weeks prior to Jean’s vaginal bleeding and genital trauma.
In August 2012 resident #1 was taken to Kaiser Emergency due to increased bleeding. LPA reviewed the results of the ER visit from Kaiser and it did not indicate that the bleeding was due to possible sexual abuse.
LPA Parker neglected to mention that Wildwood’s records show Jean had blood clots and necrotic tissue in her vagina. Parker neglected to mention that Kaiser records show Jean had trauma to the tissues surrounding her vagina. Parker neglected to mention the Kaiser records show Jean was so terrified at the emergency room that she screamed and fought when the doctor attempted to perform an exam. Jean was sedated for an exam.

LPA Parker neglected to mention that Kaiser physicians stated they did not immediately suspect sexual abuse because Wildwood Canyon Villa did not report possible sexual abuse. Kaiser physicians expected Wildwood staff, as mandatory reporters, to fulfill their duty under California law.
LPA spoke with Memory Care Nurse Candi Hull. She stated that hospice was notified when the bleeding first occurred.
LPA Parker neglected to mention that under federal law, hospice only provides care for a terminal illness. Hospice does not provide care for injuries related to sexual assault. Wildwood did not report vaginal bleeding to Jean’s primary care physician at Kaiser. Wildwood did not report possible sexual assault to law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, or to CCL.
Hull also states that an outside company, Parent Care Management, contracted with Senior Home Caregivers to provide round the clock care to resident #1, so someone was always with resident #1.
LPA Parker neglected to mention that Candi Hull of Wildwood and Brian Davis of Senior Home Caregivers placed written instructions into Jean’s file. Private caregivers were instructed not to leave Jean alone unless a Wildwood staff person was with her. The private caregivers had permission to leave Jean alone with Wildwood’s male caregiver.
This was in addition to the care and supervision resident #1 received from Wildwood Canyon staff who provided care to resident #1.
LPA Parker neglected to mention that a 2012 investigation, during the time the repeated sexual assaults may have occurred, established that Wildwood caregivers had less than 45 minutes per day to provide the care needed by each resident. Another Wildwood resident who was just eight rooms away from Jean died in late 2011 due to neglect by Wildwood staff. Wildwood was cited for those deficiencies in providing care. The resident’s family sued Wildwood for wrongful death. To our knowledge, law enforcement did not investigate.
Hull was not aware of any concerns or problems with the male Wildwood Caregiver who provided care to resident #1. Therefore, the allegation is Inconclusive.
LPA Parker neglected to consider that Jean was terrified of the male caregiver, After Jean suffered vaginal bleeding and genital trauma, Wildwood quickly transferred Jean and terminated the male caregiver.

Legal counsel for Jean’s family took the deposition of the male caregiver. When asked under oath if he sexually assaulted Jean, the male caregiver exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. He refused to answer any questions concerning employment from 2007 forward.

After Wildwood terminated the male caregiver, he worked for a number of other assisted living facilities and in-home care services in San Bernardino County. To our knowledge, CCL and the San Bernardino County Sheriff has done nothing to protect other vulnerable elders from sexual assault.

Readers who suspect a loved one may have been sexually assaulted by a male caregiver can contact this Examiner at

Full Article & Source:
Community Care Licensing botched elder abuse, sexual assault investigation

Linda Kincaid Reports: Assisted living facility conceals elder abuse, neglect, medication error

Community Care Licensing cited San Bernardino County, CA assisted living facility Wildwood Canyon Villa for neglecting to give a resident needed pain medication. The December 17, 2012 investigation report stated:
Executive Director stated that on 11/27/2012, R#1 complained of increased pain in her back and legs. The facility nurse called American Medical Response to transport R#1 to Redlands Community Hospital ER. It was reported to the paramedics [that] pain patch was dated 11/16/2012 and R#1 was due a new patch on 11/19/2012, but was not applied due to medication error by facility.
[Executive Director] Ms. Alvarado stated she informed the family but failed to inform the physician of the medication error.
Based on interviews with Executive Director, staff, family member and residents, the above allegation that resident did not receive medication as ordered is deemed SUBSTANTIATED.
Wildwood has a history of residents requiring emergency room treatment due to elder abuse and neglect by facility staff. In 2011, a male resident was neglected to the point that his catheter was blocked for two days. The resident’s daughter said his abdomen was so distended that he appeared nine months pregnant. He was clutching his penis and screaming in pain. At the emergency room, he released nearly a quart of dark brown urine. He died from urosepsis the following day.

In 2012, a female resident required ambulance transport to the emergency room for vaginal bleeding and genital trauma. Caregiver notes show the resident was terrified of a male caregiver who worked alone at night. The resident fought, screamed, and begged for help. She told her daughter, “I will not marry that man.” Wildwood staff administered Ativan, Seroquel, and Haldol to “control agitation.” Executive Director Lynnette Alvarado said that Wildwood did not investigate the possibility of repeated sexual assaults.

Shortly after the resident’s vaginal bleeding and genital trauma, Wildwood transferred the resident to another facility and terminated the male caregiver. When the male caregiver was asked under oath if he sexually assaulted the resident, he exercised his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer the question. 

Community Care Licensing allows Wildwood Canyon Villa to continue operating. The citations for neglect and abuse did not carry any monetary penalties. The male caregiver went on to work for other assisted living facilities and in-home care services.

Families who suspect that a loved one may have been sexually assaulted by a male caregiver can contact this Examiner at

Full Article & Source:
Assisted living facility conceals elder abuse, neglect, medication error

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Former Davidson County (TN) Public Guardian Must Stand Trial

by Walter F. Roche, Jr.

A clearly frustrated Davidson circuit court judge has ruled that former Public Guardian Jeanan Stuart must stand trial on charges in a civil suit that she engaged in willful misconduct in her role as the court appointed conservator for a Hendersonville woman.

"This is going on and on and on," Gayden said in a recent hearing. "Let's get this case going."

Ginger Franklin
The ruling came in a longstanding suit filed by Ginger Franklin who was placed in a conservatorship in 2010 without her knowledge following a fall.

Franklin has charged that after her appointment Stuart engaged in "willful and malicious conduct" in her case by failing to act on her request to have the conservatorship ended.

During the same Dec. 12 hearing Gayden also ruled that Metro government could not be held liable for Stuart's actions. Stuart's lawyers had argued that Stuart was a Metro employee and thus was protected from claims under provisions of the Governmental Tort Liability Act. "

She was acting within the scope of her duties as an employee," said William Hubbard, Stuart's lawyer, according to a transcript of the session. But Michael Hoskins, Franklin's attorney, disagreed.

"It's clear that the legislature never intended to give some special immunity to the public guardian," he said, adding that previously Stuart had claimed immunity as a state employee.

Gayden later agreed with Hoskin's  that even if the liability act did apply, the charges of willful and intentional misconduct would not be protected.

Hoskins and Metro attorney Jeff Campbell also noted that Stuart made her claim against Metro long after the statute of limitations had passed.

Gayden also granted Stuart's lawyer's motion to file an appeal of his rulings in the case.

Stuart stepped down as public guardian last year on the same day Probate Judge David "Randy" Kennedy stated that he would no longer appoint her to any cases because of questionable billing practices. Her job has remained vacant ever since.

Judge Rules Former Public Guardian Must Stand Trial

Advisors As Guardians

Issues involving seniors and their guardians can sometimes present problems for financial advisors and their elderly clients.

“We are seeing financial exploitation of the elderly by court-appointed third-party guardians where there is little oversight,” said Debby Valdez, president of Guardianship Reform Advocates for the Disabled and Elderly in San Antonio.

The problem is exacerbated by a reported rise in guardianship cases. In a survey conducted by the Center for Elders and the Courts, 37% of judges, court managers and clerks who responded said guardianship filings have increased over the past three years.

Often it is a child or other relative who is appointed as a guardian when an elderly person can no longer manage his or her own financial affairs. However, 78% of abusers of the elderly are a spouse, child or another relative, and almost one in four victims is age 86 or older, according to a 2013 Department of Aging report. “When dementia comes into the picture, it further complicates the situation,” said Stephen Moses, president of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform in Seattle.

 “I can see the conflict of interest with the financial advisor when a guardian is appointed because they are managing a substantial amount of money and they are being crowded out by way of a third-party guardian,” Moses said.

Guardianship is a fiduciary relationship created by state law in which a court gives one person or entity the duty and power to make decisions for another person. Guardian duties can include arranging care for a person, as well as managing and investing her assets in her best interests, and using the income and principal to pay for her comfort.

Full Article & Source:
Advisors As Guardians

Courting contempt

On leaving the city's old Family Court building, The Inquirer recently reported, some judges saw fit to take the fixtures with them to their new chambers. This neatly illustrated the distance between judicial impropriety and criminal guilt. No one - including the city officials who promised the court's antique accoutrements to the building's buyer - is planning to make a federal case out of this. Nor should they. Still, many Philadelphians are no doubt dismayed that their designated arbiters of justice appeared to stoop to stripping a public facility for parts.

Because judges must be held to higher standards, they are necessarily subject to special rules and a system for enforcing them. Pennsylvania's judicial discipline system was sorely needed over the past year - from the highest court, which defrocked a justice amid scandal, to Philadelphia's lowly,disbanded Traffic Court, most of which came under federal indictment. And while the state's judicial conduct rules have been laudably strengthened, their enforcement remains inconsistent at best and nonexistent at worst.

Traffic Court's implosion provided a classic example of the need for judicial discipline as well as the shortcomings of Pennsylvania's regime. While a jury found most of the judges guilty only of the least serious federal charges, the prosecution and a state Supreme Court review revealed Traffic Court to be a long-standing mockery of the judiciary, replete with favoritism for the personally and politically connected. And yet the judiciary's response has been halting and disjointed.

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Courting contempt

Monday, January 5, 2015

Medicide: Trafficking the Elderly and the Use of Neuroleptics to Cause Dementia and Early Death

10252043_631709193589576_7022154908430043279_nOver 60? Got assets? You could be the next victim of a predatory guardian and a cadre of attorney’s, APS agents, social services agents, all looking to fill their quarterly quota’s or their personal bank accounts. Your crime? Aging with assets! And they want them!

While there is a concerted effort to convince the public that family or friends are abusing and exploiting an elderly person, the fact is that 3-5 billion is estimated to be stolen from seniors via professional fiduciary’s and those they work with, every year. These people are strangers to the family and the victim and their only real interest is availing themselves of as much of the estate as possible in as short amount of time as possible.

Every effort is made to make sure the public believes that in these instances of involuntary guardianship, no family member was willing to accept the care of the elder victim. This might be true in some cases, but for most it is the refusal of the probate judge to allow a family member to assume this position. After all, if a family member is guardian, the professional predator is not able to access the assets.

Abduct, Isolate, Medicate, Terminate

Drugging the elderly held hostage in a participating nursing home (warehouse) is standard procedure. It serves several purposes.
1.) It stops the victim from complaining about abuse,
2.) It reduces the amount of time the staff will spend caring for the victim,
3.) It prevents the victim reporting the abuses and lack of care to outside sources.
4.) It allows nursing home owners to short the staff in the facility to increase profits.
5.) it makes the targeted victim appear to actually be in a state of dysfunction and unable to discern even the most trivial of things.
6.) It allows for the use of massive amounts of neuroleptic medications to be administered without interference. Under the influence of massive doses of brain damaging drugs, the victim appears to be dysfunctional, delusional, and totally without any will of their own. This is just exactly how the predators want them.

Chemical restraints and other abuses
Chemical restraint is the use of neuroleptic, (anti-psychotic, psychotropic) drugs to obtain total submission and control of the victim. These drugs render the elderly victim unable to function normally. But the effects of these drugs on elderly patients have a far more devastating effect.
From Antipsychotic brain damage in those with dementia (especially Lewy Body) People diagnosed with dementia are especially sensitive to neuroleptics (also known as antipsychotics). In a way, these folks are the ‘canary in the coal mine,’ because an antipsychotic can cause rapid and significant brain changes, including neuroleptic malignant syndrome (which can be fatal). Especially hypersensitive are those with a variety of dementia where the brain has something called “Lewy Bodies” (which are visible under microscopic examination of the brain. More than one millions Americans have Dementia with Lewy Bodies, or DLB. Here’s a UK General Practice Notebook plainly explaining the dangers of neuroleptics and dementia. These dangers can apply to everyone, but they are especially pronounced with people who have DLB. “
The documented research on the effects of neuroleptics on all people, including those exhibiting dementia is staggering. That medical and psychiatric professionals to continue to prescribe these brain damaging drugs without regard for the long or even short-term effects on the elderly, is clearly a crime.

The Lewy Bodies testing that should be done prior to any administration of any neuroleptic drug, is never done. In fact, no testing of any kind is ever done to determine pre-existing diseases, and most assuredly no testing is done to establish the changes in the human brain indicating the presence of dementia at any stage.
From: GP notebook “antipsychotic drugs should be avoided in patients suspected of having dementia with Lewy bodies – in these patients, antipsychotics may precipitate irreversible parkinsonism, further disturb consciousness levels and induce an autonomic disturbance similar to neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and increase mortality rates 2-3 fold (5) “
In addition, the recognized brain damage from neuroleptic drugs does not deter their use, especially on the elderly. These drugs are prescribed with the full knowledge of the irreversible damage they cause. In addition, the use of neuroleptic drugs can cause the onset of parkinson’s disease by causing the same proteins that signal the onset of parkinson’s, to bind together in the brain. Author Kelly O’Meara/CCHR
Furthermore, the use of antipsychotic drugs long has been referred to as a “chemical lobotomy” because they actually can disable normal brain function.  Along with brain shrinkage, antipsychotics also can cause obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.”
A diagnosis of [disease] would be accompanied by medical and scientific evidence. Instead, opinions are rendered using the term [disorder], for which there is no evidence medical or scientific, to substantiate. None is needed, however, due to the fact that a [disorder] is simply the observational opinion for which no evidence exists other than the person making the observation says so. This appears not to be a problem as we have found not one probate court anywhere in the country that has ever asked for, much less received any evidence, other than a talking points type of memo, of the claimed mental deficiencies that would require massive, elephant sized doses of neuroleptic drugs administered routinely to elderly patients.

Too many times we have seen medical doctors and psychiatrists making a diagnosis based on statements of a third-party, never having actually seen the victim in person. Instead of testing the victim for any possible actual diseases such as dementia or Alhzeimer’s, or the possible markers indicating the onset of parkinsonism, the fictional label of [bipolar disorder] is liberally applied to any elder individual caught in the probate court trap. It is a catch all diagnosis of a disorder for which there is no evidence whatsoever that it exists.

You have a complaint? We got a pill for that!

Imperative to the pharmaceutical hurricane that is about to be unleashed on an elder victim, is the participating psychiatrist or medical doctor, either of whom will dispense massive doses of multiple drugs. In fact, it is not uncommon for an elderly victim to be prescribed as few as two and as many as twelve or thirteen drugs simultaneously. While not all doctors or psychiatrists participate in this form of medicide, those that do are very familiar not only to the predatory guardians, but also to the courts. In fact, the same individuals from various interested agencies, firms and practices show up time and again in tandem as elder victims are targeted.  (Read more)

Full Article & Source:
Medicide: Trafficking the Elderly and the Use of Neuroleptics to Cause Dementia and Early Death

Honoring Elders: Silver Ribbon Partners targets senior abuse in RGV

McALLEN — Rosa Ramirez will always remember the extreme heat as she walked into the home of an elderly Rio Grande Valley woman in the middle of August a few years ago.

The 85-year-old woman was bedridden, suffering from colon cancer and in desperate need of financial help. The woman said a family member and caregiver had wiped out her bank account and fled with her food stamp card, leaving her close to being evicted and without money to pay her bills.

“A lot of people know about the plight of abuse in children but a lot of times they forget that elder abuse is very prominent here in the Valley,” said Ramirez, director of Silver Ribbon Community Partners, a local nonprofit United Way agency.

Their mission is to provide education, resources, and support to help prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly and disabled in Hidalgo and Starr counties. Silver Ribbon Community Partners is one of 15 organizations benefiting from AIM Media Texas Charities’ inaugural campaign to raise funds for the hungry, homeless and people in need of basic essentials in the Valley.

AIM Media Texas is the parent company of the Valley Morning Star, The Monitor, The Brownsville Herald and the Mid-Valley Town Crier.

Every year, more than 2,500 cases of elder abuse are reported in Hidalgo County alone, according to reports from Adult Protective Services in McAllen. Cases vary from sexual, physical and emotional abuse, but the most common is financial abuse, according to local and national figures.

The annual loss by victims of elderly financial exploitation was estimated to be $2.9 billion in 2009, according to the National Center of Elder Abuse. They also report that one in 10 Americans over 60 experienced abuse over one year, and many experienced it in multiple forms.

In the Valley, many people helped by Silver Ribbon are living below the poverty level with an average annual income of $10,000, putting them at an even higher risk for abuse, Ramirez said.

Ramirez, 63, has been the director of the non-profit for the last five years. She says victims sometimes have no way out of an abusive situation because they cannot afford to leave and live on their own.

Founded in 1996, Silver Ribbon has helped thousands of elderly citizens dealing with abuse, homelessness or even those having trouble paying their bills. The charitable organization is funded by state and local grants and supported by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which houses them at their main office in McAllen.

Many elderly people are exploited by their own family members or caregivers, Ramirez said. Many retired seniors worked their whole lives in agriculture and now depend on their Social Security checks and their families for support.

“Instead of honoring our elderly many times we forget about them,” Ramirez said. “They could have been teachers or bankers when they were younger but as they get older they become invisible and not seen as a vital part of our community.”

Full Article & Source: 
Honoring Elders: Silver Ribbon Partners targets senior abuse in RGV

California lawyer who inherited client's wealth ordered to pay charities

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A judge has ordered a California lawyer to pay four prominent non-profit groups, including Doctors Without Borders, a total of $4.3 million for using "undue influence" in arranging to inherit money a client originally meant to leave for charity.

The ruling last week by San Diego Superior Court Judge William Nevitt capped a four-year fight over the estate of Siv Ljungwe, a retired California schoolteacher who, with her husband, had accumulated real estate worth millions of dollars.

The judgment against her San Diego-area lawyer, Carl Dimeff, is to be shared evenly by Doctors without Borders, the National Public Radio Foundation, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the San Diego State University-based public television channel KPBS in accordance with Ljungwe’s 2004 trust. 

Dimeff told Reuters on Thursday he would appeal against the ruling, saying he did not know Ljungwe had shifted her assets to him until after her death. He said he distributed $400,000 to the charities while settling the estate.

The 35-page judgment against Dimeff, first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday, was issued Dec. 23.

According to court documents, Dimeff and his wife, also an attorney, began managing Ljungwe's assets in 2004, including money she placed in a trust designating the four charities as beneficiaries upon her death.

The judgment found that, between 2004 and 2008, Ljungwe grew romantically obsessed with Dimeff and began signing trust documents that moved her assets and control of her estate to Dimeff and his wife.

“If Siv had not been delusional about Carl ... she would not have left him her estate,” Nevitt ruled. “A mentally healthy Siv would not have left her estate, worth millions of dollars, to Carl, a lawyer she randomly met and hired in 2004.”

Full Article & Source:
California lawyer who inherited client's wealth ordered to pay charities

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Minnesotta is No Exception - Medicating the Elderly to Death

Tonight’s guest documents the use of neuroleptics (psychotropic) drugs on her aging mother and the adverse reactions these drugs cause.

Finding her self powerless to stop the over-prescribing of dangerous drugs administered to her mother she has had to witness the massive changes in personality and functionality these drugs cause.  The obvious disregard for the overall health and safety of her mother has been discarded in favor of massive doses of mind altering medications.  While no one can explain why any individual would need such massive doses of multiple drugs, absolutely no one who could intervene and stop this slow death by medication, has done so.

The sheer number of drugs administered to her elderly mother cannot be explained away as proper medical care.  Could it be that someone is getting paid for each drug administered?  Is there an ulterior motive here that has nothing to do with the health and well being of this aging lady?

Listen in this evening and you decide.

4:00 PST … 5:00 MST … 6:00 CST … 7:00 EST

LISTEN to the show LIVE or listen to the archive later

Granny Locked Up in Basement While Family Was on Week-long Holiday

Tulsa, OK | An 82-year old grandmother has been locked up in the family basement for the past four days while her relatives had left her for a week-long holiday in Mexico before local police officers were alerted by neighbors.

The poor old woman that suffers from Alzheimer’s disease eventually was able to gnaw through the dog leash her 47-year old son had attached to a wooden beam and managed to break a window with a crowbar.

Neighbors only realized hours later that the faint voice they were hearing was in fact the neighbor’s mother that had been held prisoner in the family home’s basement for the past four days.

Full Article & Source:
Granny Locked Up in Basement While Family Was on Week-long Holiday

Connecticut teen fighting state over forced chemotherapy treatments

HARTFORD, Conn. — A 17-year-old girl with cancer and her mother are battling Connecticut over an order that she accept chemotherapy treatments — and the state's Supreme Court has agreed to an expedited ruling in a rare case involving the "mature minor doctrine."

Lawyers for Cassandra C. argue that she is mature enough to make the decision to reject the treatments, but the state Department of Children and Families is saying the treatments are in her best interest.

The Supreme Court said it would rule whether "DCF (is) properly authorized to make medical decisions on (the) child's behalf, and whether (a) 17-year-old must receive medical treatment against her wishes."

"Everyone agrees it's a serious illness, but you're talking about a fundamental question: Does she have a say in what happens to her body?" said attorney Michael Taylor of West Hartford, who represents Cassandra's mother.

Cassandra was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in September, according to a state Judicial Branch summary of the case.

The summary notes that "while the recommended treatment for the disease includes chemotherapy, Cassandra decided that she did not want to undergo treatment, and Cassandra's mother supports her in that decision."

The full names of Cassandra and her mother are not included in the summary. Cassandra is represented by assistant state public defender Joshua Michtom.

At a hearing in November, a Superior Court judge granted a request from DCF to take temporary custody of Cassandra "and ordered her mother to provide and cooperate with medical care under DCF's supervision and as recommended by her doctors," the case summary states.

"Her mother felt their world had been turned upside down," said Taylor.

The DCF had no previous involvement with the family, but moved for custody of Cassandra when the possibility of parental medical neglect was raised. A DCF spokesman, Josh Howroyd, said Friday that the department had no comment on the case.

Cassandra and her mother initially complied with the court order and the teenager received her first two chemotherapy treatments in November. But Cassandra "subsequently ran away from home to avoid further treatment," the summary states.

When she returned, she continued to refuse the treatment, the summary says.

After a hearing in the Child Protection Session of Superior Court, at which Cassandra's doctors testified, the trial court "ordered that she be removed from her home and that she remain in DCF's care and custody."

The court also authorized DCF "to make all necessary medical decisions on Cassandra's behalf," the case summary states.

The family hired Taylor to file an emergency appeal. Cassandra is now in an unidentified local hospital receiving treatment under the court order. Details about her prognosis were not available.
Arguments before the state Supreme Court are set for Thursday.

In appealing the decision, Cassandra and her mother said that "absent any finding that they are incompetent, the trial court violated their constitutional rights in allowing DCF to substitute its judgment for theirs and in permitting DCF to force Cassandra to receive medical treatment against her will."

Lawyers for the mother and teen also argue that the state should recognize the "mature minor doctrine" — which would require a finding that a 17-year-old isn't sufficiently mature to make such a decision, before ordering the teen to receive medical treatment.

Taylor said "family integrity" — the right for a family to make educational, moral and other major decisions without state interference — is also a major element in this case.  (Read more)

Full Article & Source:
Connecticut teen fighting state over forced chemotherapy treatments

Belfast Lawyer Accused of Bilking 2 Elderly Clients Enters Plea

Accused of Bilking

A lawyer from Belfast accused of bilking two elderly clients of more than $300,000 has pled not guilty, according to a court clerk.

60-year-old William Dawson is accused of paying himself more than $150,000 from the bank account of an 86-year-old woman.

Court documents say Dawson is also accused of taking more than $135-,000 from a 98-year-old woman.

He’s accused of over-billing the clients, too.

Last year a probate judge removed Dawson from control of the accounts.

Both women have since died.

The Maine Supreme Court ruled last month Dawson can still practice law, but under strict conditions.

Dawson is charged with two counts of theft and two counts of misuse of entrusted property.

Full Article & Source:
Belfast Lawyer Accused of Bilking 2 Elderly Clients Enters Plea