Saturday, May 11, 2019

Texas man fights for conscious wife’s life against hospital pulling plug; law gives him only 10 days to find help

Donald & Carolyn Jones
By on    
 
Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital informed Donald Jones on Thursday that they would pull the plug on his wife against his directive in 10 days, scheduling her to die on May 13, 2019. The Texas 10-Day Rule forces everyday Texans to race against the clock to save their loved ones. Donald now calls upon Texans to contact their legislators to repeal the 10-Day Rule, a provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act.

Donald’s wife, Carolyn, is a 61-year-old African-American woman currently undergoing dialysis treatment and is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. Now he is forced to race against the clock to protect his wife. Donald contacted Texas Right to Life, which has assisted over 400 10-day victims like this, including the prominent case of Chris Dunn at Houston Methodist Hospital in 2015.

Donald and Carolyn have been married for 39 years, live in Beaumont, and have an adult daughter. Carolyn suffered a stroke in December 2017 and has transferred between different rehabilitation facilities since, landing in Memorial Hermann Southwest in November 2018. Donald has stayed by her side throughout her recovery and setbacks.

Carolyn is conscious but cannot communicate verbally due to intubation.

The hospital first attempted to invoke the 10-Day Rule on March 8, 2019, but the Jones’ lawyer negotiated with the hospital to pause the countdown. Since then, Carolyn’s health has improved and three facilities in Houston have agreed to care for her, pending Donald’s ability to secure Medicaid coverage. Donald has spent the last two months trying to clear complicated legal and financial hurdles to save his wife’s life, which the hospital has scheduled to end on May 13, 2019.

Now, he’s begging Texas legislators to eliminate the 10-day countdown for patients like Carolyn. “This law has to be changed. How can I care for my wife when I’m forced into this 10-day situation?” said Donald. “This could actually happen to anyone.”

Texans who want to help Donald and Carolyn should contact their legislators with the form.

Full Article & Source:
Texas man fights for conscious wife’s life against hospital pulling plug; law gives him only 10 days to find help

Catholic Priest Witnesses Euthanization of Terrorized Mother

LOS ANGELES, May 2, 2019 /Christian Newswire/ -- One month ago today Rev. Kevin Manion was told by a hospital physician that his mother was not responding to medical treatment. Patricia Manion would have been 99 years old, had she not been euthanized that same day.

Fr. Manion is still grieving for his deceased mom. "I have difficulty sleeping at nights, just thinking about what I saw. The hospital physician deceived us. He didn't tell us he was going to take mom's life." 
 
"Pat" Manion was diagnosed with pneumonia. Her medical treatment was having positive results. Tests showed progress. More importantly, her family and friends saw she was getting better. Then two days before her death, a hospital case worker, unsuccessfully, began urging that Mrs. Manion apply for Hospice. 

In the meanwhile, Patricia was regaining strength and was speaking with family. She clearly expressed her intention to return to her home. The evening before she posed for a picture with her grand daughter, Kielty. The next day she was supposed to be released, not to Hospice, but to her home. About 2:00 p.m. she spoke with 2 of her friends about returning home. They expected her release. 

The doctor had other plans. On mom's last day he appeared nervous and pressured. He used his medical authority to urge a change in protocol. He didn't show us medical test results, the scans, the blood work. He simply told us, the patient was not responding to treatment. He insisted on a "drip." He got his way. That afternoon mom was dead. The physician wasn't even there when special nurses began the "comfort" protocol. 

Fr. Manion recalls, "There was no comfort at all. It was a lie. Mom saw what was happening. We did too. I was too weak to do anything. I didn't have the strength. They loaded mom with 3 bags of morphine within an hour. Mom died in terror. She was horrified. It was terrible. She wanted to go home, and she would have gotten better. She always got better in the afternoons. They should have left mom on the medical protocol or release her. They didn't want mom to recover. This is what they do to old people. She was 98 and was going to celebrate her 99th birthday in a few weeks." 

Family members are still in shock. Why was their mother euthanized?

Full Article & Source:
Catholic Priest Witnesses Euthanization of Terrorized Mother

Britney Spears attends hearing, conservatorship continued until Sept. 18

Britney Spears attends hearing, conservatorship continued until Sept. 18
Britney Spears attends the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Britney Spears was ushered into a closed courtroom under tight security Friday after asking to testify about her decade-long conservatorship, her lawyer said.

The “Toxic” singer left about an hour later and was photographed walking barefoot to a car, according to TMZ.com.

A minute order said the singer and both of her parents appeared at the hearing and that the parties agreed to a “730 expert evaluation." It did not describe the nature of the evaluation.

The conservatorship was left in place pending a follow-up status hearing Sept. 18, the minute order said.

Attorney Samuel Ingham addressed the court before Spears’ arrival, saying he wanted to make it clear the “status hearing was set at the request of my client. She requested an opportunity to address the court in person.”

Ingham then asked the Los Angeles County probate judge to clear the courtroom for the pop icon’s privacy.

“She intends to discuss issues related to her medical care, her minor children and trade secrets,” he said before the judge ordered the gallery closed to spectators.

At that point, Spears, 37, was escorted in through a back door. Her mother Lynne Spears was spotted by her side.

The Friday hearing was abruptly placed on calendar April 23, the same day TMZ reported the singer was finishing a 30-day stay at a mental health facility triggered by problems with her meds.

About a dozen fans waving #FreeBritney and #EndTheConservatorship signs protested outside Friday and milled in the hallways.

Spears won a restraining order this week against her former self-styled manager Sam Lutfi, who has fueled the #FreeBritney online campaign and now must keep his distance.
Fans carried signs outside the proceedings on Friday.
Fans carried signs outside the proceedings on Friday. (Nancy Dillon/New York Daily News)
The superstar suffered a prolonged public breakdown more than a decade ago and has been the subject of a conservatorship helmed by her father since 2008.

She took to social media last month to address rumors she was held in the mental health facility against her will.

“Hi, guys. Just checking in with all of you who are concerned about me. All is well,” Spears said in an Instagram video posted April 23. “My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal. But don’t worry, I’ll be back very soon.

“I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear,” she said in the caption to the video.

Spears canceled her second Las Vegas residency, “Britney: Domination,” earlier this year, explaining in a Jan. 4 Instagram post that her father was seriously ill and “almost died.”

Representatives later explained her dad’s colon had ruptured.

“We’re all so grateful that he came out of it alive, but he still has a long road ahead of him,” she wrote in her caption to a throwback pic of her parents with her when she was little.

“I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time. I hope you all can understand,” she wrote.

Full Article & Source:
Britney Spears attends hearing, conservatorship continued until Sept. 18

See Also:
As Britney Spears Nears Crossroads, Will Her Conservator Let Her Get Married?

How Britney Spears Overcame Financial Hardship, Custody Battles and Repeated Heartbreak to Find a Surprisingly Normal World 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Video shows healthcare staff punching, beating disabled man with belt

Investigation found at least five employees at the mental health facility beat a man, and allowed other patients to join in.

Author: Andy Pierotti, Lindsey Basye



GORDON, Ga. — The family of a mentally disabled Georgia man has released video showing their loved one being repeatedly beaten by staff hired to care for him.

Brian Jarrad, the family's attorney, said the family wanted to release video of the 2013 incident now to warn the public that neglect is happening at facilities all across Georgia.

“These are some of our most weakest, our most vulnerable citizens. So, it’s important to know and watch and to see when they’re not being cared for appropriately,” said Jarrard.

The Macon attorney represents 55-year-old Joey Cason. When Cason’s family could no longer care for him, they admitted him into Total Care, a facility in Gordan, Georgia, licensed to care for the developmentally disabled.

“Physically, he is not disabled. He is able to function physically, but he is severely mentally disabled," explained Jarrard.

Surveillance video recorded on November 7, 2013 shows staff repeatedly hitting Cason with belts, punching him on the ground and allowing other residents to hit him.

At one point, staff appears to be taunting Cason with food and laughing at him.



“I think anybody would find the video despicable,” said Jarrard. “It was heartbreaking. It made me angry to think of individuals who were being paid to care for him were engaged in just despicable abuse.”

Gordon Police charged a caretaker named Shakia Smith with battery and abuse/neglect of an elder person.

Jarrard said the case against the former facility owner is still pending. Carson is now at a different facility in south Georgia and is doing well, Jarrad said.

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities revoked the facility’s license after an investigation.

Total Care’s former owner, Pamela Reaves, declined to comment about the pending litigation. Her attorney, Wayne Kendall, did not return follow-up questions sent by email.

The video’s release comes on the heels of Georgia seeking to end nearly 10 years of federal supervision of its mental health care services. The Reveal Investigation also uncovered a rise in abuse, neglect and exploitation at state licensed mental health care providers.

Tune into 11Alive Thursday night at 11 p.m. for The Reveal's investigation into Georgia mental health providers and other abuse claims against facilities across the state.

Full Article & Source:
Video shows healthcare staff punching, beating disabled man with belt

Family: Man with autism forced to run treadmill, beaten by group home worker


CENTRAL ISLIP - An East Islip group home worker is accused of harming a man with autism who was in his care and later trying to cover up the incident.

According to court documents, 31-year-old Richard Garnett, of Middle Island, forced the victim to run on a treadmill to "tire him out" and refused to let him off. Joseph Barouch, 23, eventually fell. At that point, Garnett allegedly did not report the injury or seek medical attention for Barouch, out of fear of being fired.

The alleged incident happened Feb. 19 at a facility called Life's WORC.

Barouch's family sent News 12 photos taken after the alleged abuse that show bruising around his body. Authorities say he fractured his neck as result of the incident. Relatives say Barouch had to undergo two surgeries to replace discs in his neck.

Erin Spano, Barouch's aunt, says she's horrified by what happened. She adds that before being put on the treadmill, her nephew was ripped out of bed while still undressed and dragged to a basement. And once on the treadmill, she says Barouch was beaten when he got back up after falling.

"This is attempted murder," she says. "They tried to kill my nephew."

Garnett has been charged with one felony count of endangering the welfare of a disabled person. He was released without bail and is due back in court next month.

A spokesperson for Life's WORC says Garnett has been let go.

Full Article & Source:
Family: Man with autism forced to run treadmill, beaten by group home worker

Safeguarding Guardianship for Older Adults

By Pamela B. Teaster, Ph.D. & Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik, Ph.D. 

The United States population of adults aged 65+ is expected to double by 2030.  The growing segment of the population are people aged 85+, often those most likely to need increased assistance as they experience physical and/or cognitive changes. Adults may designate (or be designated) a guardian to make financial or health care decisions, or both, typically appointing a family member.  Most guardians endeavor to ensure the best quality of life for those they serve by making responsible decisions about the person’s health, safety, and finances.

Powers given to guardians can be immense (e.g., ability to sell a person’s home and personal property, enter into contracts, clear all medical treatments). Some can charge fees for their services that are payable from the person’s bank account, which, left unmonitored, has the potential for collusion and corruption. Consequently, while guardians are meant to both promote autonomy and provide protection, there is a risk that a vulnerable adult may fall victim to maltreatment as a result of having a guardian. No reliable data exist on how many guardians harm their wards or the outcomes of a guardian’s decisions. High-profile media expos├ęs, such as that of Rachel Aviv (2017), have highlighted abuse by guardians.

Guardians are controlled by state law and have a relationship with the protected person that is delegated by a court and rooted in trust. It derives from a state’s parens patriae power or duty to act as a parent for those considered too vulnerable to care for themselves. Requirements for who should serve as guardian differ by state and type. Some states require that guardians have specific training and pass a test; others only require that guardians are willing to serve and do not have a felony conviction.  Approximately 75% of guardians are family members or friends. In 2016, the National Center for State Courts estimated that guardians across the country supervise 1.3 million adults and an aggregate of $50 billion of their assets. Also in 2016, the GAO reported that in just eight cases it examined in six states, guardians had stolen more than $600,000 from those whom they were entrusted to protect.

Elder abuse by surrogates such as guardians, whose job it is to manage and advocate for a protected person’s health and well-being, is a serious and growing problem identified by Adult Protective Services (APS) programs. It is urgent to develop informed strategies for preventing and ending elder abuse by those holding a duty to protect.  Funded by The Retirement Research Foundation, the team of Drs. Pamela Teaster, Cory Bolkan, Kenneth Gerow, and Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik (from Virginia Tech, Washington State University, University of Wyoming, and NAPSA respectively) is working with six APS programs (CA, FL, NV, NH, NC, and TX) to systematically study this problem.

The study addresses guardians, powers of attorney, and representative payees and is exploring the nature, extent, and impact of maltreatment by perpetrators designated as surrogate decision makers compared to abuse perpetrated by others. The researchers hope to illuminate this problem, inform prevention and intervention, and report findings by July 2020.

Full Article & Source:
Safeguarding Guardianship for Older Adults

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Former councilor sentenced to prison

Former city councilor and attorney, Jodi Zils Gagne, 43, of Bristol was given a 46 month sentence followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford.

Gagne was sentenced for stealing more than $169,000 from individuals for whom she served as a court-appointed conservator, reported a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office of the District of Connecticut.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the press release said, Zils Gagne, an attorney, was a court-appointed conservator for several individuals in Connecticut.

The release explained a conservator is a person appointed by the probate court to oversee the financial or personal affairs of an adult who is incapable of managing his or her finances or unable to care for himself or herself.

Beginning in approximately May 2015, according to the Department of Justice, Zils Gagne defrauded several conserved individuals by misappropriating their money and overbilling them. The money that Zils Gagne misappropriated was intended for the conserved persons’ medical care, housing, bills, personal expenses, and legitimate conservator fees.  Zils Gagne also misrepresented, or failed to disclose, material facts about her conservatorship activities to the Bristol probate court and others, said the release.

Through this scheme, the justice department said, Zils Gagne defrauded six victims of a total of $169,402.74. She defrauded one elderly victim of approximately $136,000, and appropriated $113,000 of that money under the guise of an “investment” when, in fact, it was a 10-year note that paid only a prime rate and was signed between her (as the victim’s conservator) and Zils Gagne’s husband, said the Justice Department. The money was used to fund her husband’s start-up company, a Bristol-based internet radio station, Bristol Beat.

The terms and details of this transaction were only disclosed after extended proceedings in the probate court, during which Zils Gagne repeatedly lied, sometimes under oath, to the probate court, said the Justice Department.

The investigation also revealed that Zils Gagne arranged the sale of two victims’ houses to her relative for less than the appraised value of the homes, said the news release.  The buyer than renovated the homes, sold them for a substantial profit, and paid Zils Gagne and her husband kickbacks.

On Oct. 10, 2018, Zils Gagne pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

Judge Bryant ordered Zils Gagne, who is released on a $50,000 bond, to report to prison on July 8.

In September 2018, a Connecticut Superior Court judge suspended Zils Gagne from the practice of law.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Greenwich Police Department, with the assistance of the Connecticut Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel and the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Huang.

Full Article & Source:
Former councilor sentenced to prison

New Rules To Monitor Legal Guardians For Pennsylvania Elderly Take Effect June 1

Elder abuse has been steadily increasing in Pennsylvania for the past decade, with 28,633 reports of abuse received by the state in fiscal year 2016-2017, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. The increase in the number of elder abuse reports in Pennsylvania is likely the result of both the aging population and efforts to increase awareness of elder abuse by local, state, and national advocates for the elderly.

Elder abuse can be physical, financial, or in the form of neglect and, unfortunately, can be perpetrated by legal guardians -- those appointed to care for the elderly individual.

In 2018, Pennsylvania updated its guardianship rules to create more checks against guardian abuse, to make them more accountable, to allow family and others to intervene on the elderly individual's behalf, and to expand who can object to a guardian's appointment. The revisions go into effect on June 1, 2019.

According to the state's Office of Elder Justice in the Courts, a guardian is responsible for making certain decisions on behalf of an adult of any age who is deemed incapacitated by a court. A guardian can be a family member or an unrelated third party, and the decisions guardians make include financial, medical, and personal matters that the incapacitated person has been determined to be unable to make on his or her own.

Rules Reformed

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted revised Orphans' Court Rules 14.1 through 14.14, which reform numerous aspects of the guardianship process. According to a report issued by the Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts in January 2019, these reforms include:
  • Procedures for consideration of potential guardians that favor close family members, but do not exclude other relatives and friends from consideration
  • Criminal background checks of proposed guardians
  • Appointment of counsel when appropriate
  • Verification by counsel of the appointed guardian's representation, scope of employment, and duration of representation
  • Timely and efficient fee dispute resolution procedures
  • Mandatory filing of an inventory within 90 days of a guardian's appointment
  • Mandatory completion of annual reports by the guardian starting one year after appointment
  • Monitoring of the court's guardianship docket to ensure compliance and notification
  • Judicial review of filed reports
  • Recommended remedial actions regarding reporting issues
 
Family Disputes

Caring for an aging individual and handling personal and financial affairs can lead to emotionally fraught and sometimes highly contentious situations within a family. The new rules are intended to ensure the guardian is fulfilling all of the required duties and may help to head off or resolve disputes between families and guardians before they reach court.

The latest ruling in an ongoing battle over the guardianship of Genevieve Bush illustrates how family disputes can turn into a long-running drama, especially in the case of incapacitated family members. (In the Matter of Genevieve Bush, an Incapacitated Person, No. 1686 EDA 2018, Pa. Superior Court, March 19, 2019.)

When Genevieve Bush executed a will in 2004, she named her three sons and one daughter as  beneficiaries. Two years later, Bush revised her will to name only her daughter as beneficiary; Bush also executed a durable power of attorney and a durable power of attorney for healthcare, both of which named her daughter as agent. In 2007, Bush executed a pour-over will and revocable trust with the same dispositive scheme as the 2006 will, and another durable power of attorney for healthcare naming her daughter as agent.

In litigation that ensued thereafter in 2011, the trial court determined that Bush suffered from an incapacity at least as early as 2006, adjudicated her an incapacitated person, and named one of her sons and her daughter as co-guardians of her person and another son as guardian of her estate. The trial court also voided the power of attorney under which the daughter was appointed as agent. The trial court did not address the validity of Bush's other documents. The Superior Court affirmed the trial court's decision. A few years later in 2013, the trial court removed the son and daughter as co-guardians of Bush and appointed a third party as guardian of Bush's person. The Superior Court again affirmed.

Most recently in 2018, Bush's sons petitioned the trial court to void their mother's planning documents, arguing interference with the guardian's responsibilities.

The trial court held, and the Superior Court affirmed on March 19, 2019 that the sons did not demonstrate that an actual controversy was imminent such that the court should act on the sons' petition. Those with an interest in her estate "will not be injured by waiting until the ordinary course of judicial proceedings that will occur upon the death of [Bush]," said the trial court.

While the state's new guardianship rules might not have helped to avoid the problems that arose in this case, the increased oversight of the new rules may help reduce or even eliminate issues for other families before they start or before they escalate.

Full Article & Source:
New Rules To Monitor Legal Guardians For Pennsylvania Elderly Take Effect June 1

Bipartisan effort underway in Lansing to tackle elder abuse

A House committee heard testimony Wednesday on a 14-bill package that targets the abuse of Michigan’s elderly. (MGN Image)
A House committee heard testimony Wednesday on a 14-bill package that targets the abuse of Michigan’s elderly.

The bipartisan 14-bill package calls for changes in state law to make it a crime to assault or restrain an elder adult; the language also defines an elder adult as anyone 65 years old and older.

Democratic Rep. Sarah Anthony of Lansing said she has heard stories from people in her district who have been abuse or taken advantage of, either financially, emotionally or physically. She said some people may feel ashamed of the situation, especially if the abuse is from someone they know, trust and love.

“I think what’s at state is their livelihood, their peace of mind, so if we can put in some tougher laws that actually tackle that and address it, I think that we are able to really just protect the people in our state,” Anthony said Wednesday after the House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors.

The language in the bill package would also expand a provision of state law prohibiting embezzlement from a vulnerable adult to include an elder adult.

The bill package comes after Attorney General Dana Nessel launched an elder abuse task force aimed at cracking down any abuse targeting Michigan’s seniors.

“More than 73,000 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse. They experience physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, or neglect. The symptoms and treatment of abusue against our most senior population are complex and demand a concerted effort by this state to tackle what is often unrecognized and unreported social problem,” Nessel said during the task force launch event in March. “That’s why we have brought together dozens of different organizations to work collectively and collaboratively to tackle the challenge.”

In Michigan trial courts in 2018, 9,285 petitions were filed seeking a full or limited guardianship for an adult and 7,337 were granted, according to the state Supreme Court, 1,766 of those requests were dismissed or withdrawn and 116 were denied. On Dec. 31, 2018, there were 32,137 adults with a full or limited guardian.

Anthony said when Nessel launched the task force, the legislation had already been introduced and the issue of elder abuse impacts everyone. Anthony added she envisions the legislation working in tandem with Nessel’s efforts.

“I think it’s all good work, I think at the end of the day we will all come up with some really good legislation. But these legislators came together and listened to their constituents so we want to be responsive to those constituents,” Anthony added. “This is not the first legislative session that decided to tackle the legislation and we hope it’s going to be the last.”

To report elder abuse, call 1-800-24-ABUSE or online on the elder abuse website.

Full Article & Source:
Bipartisan effort underway in Lansing to tackle elder abuse

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

‘Diagnosis of dying’: How one man’s tumor exposes deep flaws in safety net for Oregon’s most vulnerable


Derrick Dahl, seen in this undated photo, was diagnosed with a tumor. His mother pushed for him to see a cancer specialist.

Photo courtesy of Pam Dahl
Derrick Dahl, seen in this undated photo, was diagnosed with a tumor. His mother pushed for him to see a cancer specialist.

By Brad Schmidt | The Oregonian/OregonLive

The diagnosis felt like a death sentence.

Pam Dahl had just driven four hours to visit her adult son, Derrick, at the southern Oregon group home where he received round-the-clock care. A gaunt man with dark hair and blue eyes, Derrick Dahl, 35, was diagnosed in childhood with developmental disabilities that leave him largely unable to communicate.

During the March 2018 visit, Dahl’s mother recalls a caregiver saying in passing that her son had been diagnosed with a dangerous tumor.

Pam Dahl was shocked. She pressed for more information.

She remembered the caregiver saying her son’s tumor was discovered almost six months earlier but doctors thought surgery would be risky. Pam Dahl said she was told that the tumor could be deadly if left untreated. Doctors hadn’t scheduled Dahl for an operation.

Successfully pushing for a fresh examination of her son’s case led to another shock. A cancer specialist gave her hope Dahl’s tumor could be treated. She talked to a Portland doctor who was able to remove a baseball-size mass from Dahl during a November surgery.

“Somebody, somewhere, should have said, ‘You need to get a second opinion,’” Pam Dahl said of the care her son received. “You’ve just given this person a diagnosis of dying.”

Her effort to help her son highlights holes in a state safety net meant to protect vulnerable Oregonians who cannot advocate for themselves. It provides a cautionary tale for any family that lacks legal guardianship of a loved one who, because of a developmental disability, cannot make medical decisions.

The Oregonian/OregonLive spent six months investigating Derrick Dahl’s case to pinpoint why he didn’t see a cancer specialist until his mother stepped in. The newsroom reviewed more than 3,000 pages of medical documents, business filings, licensing records and state rules for appointing health care decision-makers for adults with developmental disabilities.

The investigation uncovered such profound flaws in the system that state officials scrambled to fill gaps as the newsroom’s inquiry was underway, writing new legislation in March to formally endorse the process for the first time.

Among the newsroom’s findings:
  • Oregon’s rules to protect individuals with developmental disabilities are on shaky legal ground. Lawmakers never told the Department of Human Services how people should be appointed to make medical decisions for vulnerable adults like Dahl, or what qualifications are needed to fill that role. The agency is now asking the Legislature to ratify its existing practices. But the state’s omission could leave it vulnerable to lawsuits from families who believe bad decisions were made.
  • The department can’t quantify how many Oregonians lack a voice in their own health care. The Department of Human Services doesn’t track when medical decision-making is delegated because officials don’t want to collect the paperwork centrally. The Legislature approved money for a computer system six years ago, but officials spent it on other needs. Data is now managed across Oregon’s 36 counties through a hodgepodge of spreadsheets and sticky notes.
  • Family members can be left in the dark. The person listed as Dahl’s appointed decision-maker as of December wouldn’t allow state or hospital officials to release his medical records to his mother. That decision-maker, like her predecessor, is a former employee of the nonprofit that manages the Medford group home where Dahl lives.
  • Other potential conflicts of interest exist. Alternative Services-Oregon, the group home’s operator, has employed or contracted with five people who are part of the executive director’s family, including one identified in records as helping make decisions for Dahl. Board members own and earn lease payments from some Alternative Services homes in Oregon where people with developmental disabilities live.
The Alternative Services employment and rental arrangements are legal, and the nonprofit says interested parties were not involved in approving them. There is no evidence the family member involved in Dahl’s care approached the role differently than other decision-makers.

The Department of Human Services defended the state’s track record of care while acknowledging room for improvement.

Lilia Teninty, director of Oregon’s Office of Developmental Disabilities Services, would not answer questions about Dahl’s case, citing his right to privacy. But she pointed to a recent study by national advocacy groups ranking Oregon the second-best state in America for serving individuals with developmental disabilities.

“I believe Oregon’s system is better than other states’ systems,” Teninty said.

State officials similarly believe their process for appointing decision-makers is appropriate under current law. But prompted by the newsroom’s inquiries, Teninty’s office is pushing Senate Bill 1039 to “strengthen the statutory language” for making appointments within a system established two decades ago.

The legislation doesn’t create any new qualifications for medical decision-makers, nor does it say how much independent medical expertise should be enlisted in cases like Dahl’s. In fact, while the bill for the most part is a carbon copy of department rules, it removes any direct mention of a second opinion as a factor for decision-makers to consider in weighing a major medical procedure.

People with developmental disabilities are more likely than others to face significant physical ailments, according to a federal report. They also face bigger barriers to receiving preventative care and high-quality medical services.

Because the state does not track the number of vulnerable individuals like Dahl who are in need of a medical decision-maker, the newsroom did. The Oregonian/OregonLive contacted regulators for each county. Four refused to share figures while three others provided only estimates.

The newsroom survey identified at least 1,325 Oregonians with developmental disabilities who cannot make their own medical decisions and cannot appoint someone in their place.

For Dahl, the failure to pursue surgery earlier has resulted in a blame game.

It took a formal complaint with the state for Dahl’s mother to get him the medical opinion that led to his surgery. But the state also responded to the mother by revisiting her long history of being hard to contact. State officials told the newsroom that in general a complaint regarding failure to seek additional medical advice would not be investigated as a potential case of abuse or neglect.

Pat Allen-Sleeman, executive director of the nonprofit that runs Dahl’s group home, accused Pam Dahl of trying to exploit her son by talking to a reporter. She said Derrick Dahl had “nothing to gain” from an article being published.

The Alternative Services executive did not respond to the newsroom’s request to meet with Dahl and explain to him what this article would say.

“There is really no story here to tell, except misinformation, a dramatic self-serving version and an inaccurate and harmful story,” Allen-Sleeman said. “I know what we have done, and I know what his family has done or not done.”

According to Allen-Sleeman, Dahl didn’t see a cancer specialist because two doctors in Medford “denied” their requests. Providence Medical Group rejects her assertion, and Providence medical records do not show any refusals.

Providence, whose doctors initially evaluated Dahl, stands by the physicians’ work and says the decision to monitor the tumor, without operating, was appropriate given the risks posed by surgery and uncertainty about whether the tumor was cancerous.

Dahl’s mother said she has no intention of suing any of the organizations involved. She said she only wants to understand what she sees as a system failure.

“It’s just so upsetting,” she said. “I can’t believe this has happened, and I hope it hasn’t happened to other families.”

CHILDHOOD

Dahl’s mother was a few weeks shy of 20 when she gave birth in the spring of 1983. She tended tables at a restaurant in Yachats overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Her husband, Tom, worked for his family’s garbage disposal business.

Dahl almost died when he was just 8 months old, the victim of a high fever and severe seizures, his mother said. He stopped breathing one night, but an ambulance trip to the hospital kept him alive.
He likely had epilepsy, Pam Dahl remembered being told.

“And I thought that was the worst thing in the world, right?” she said. “But I wish it would have just been that.”

She soon realized her son wasn’t developing like other children. Dahl didn’t walk until 18 months. He didn’t talk.

When Dahl was 3, his mother finally accepted the fact that her son had a life-altering developmental disability. “It was pretty obvious,” she said. “You don’t want to believe it.”

Pam Dahl is the mother of Derrick Dahl, a 35-year-old man with developmental disabilities who lives in a group home in Medford. Beth Nakamura/Staff
Pam Dahl is the mother of Derrick Dahl, a 35-year-old man with developmental disabilities who lives in a group home in Medford. Beth Nakamura/Staff

Dahl’s mother recalled that period of her life as draining and hopeless. She had a second son, in 1986, but eventually packed up for the Eugene area and divorced in 1990.

“Having a child with special needs is pretty hard on a marriage,” she said. “It just fell apart.”

Both boys lived with their father at first. But Dahl joined his mother sometime in the mid-90s, Tom Dahl said. A bus picked Dahl up each morning, shuttling the growing boy in diapers off to special education classes at public school.

By the time Dahl became a teenager, his mother said she found it difficult to meet his needs. When he was 15, she asked the state to move him into a state-licensed home, records show.

Dahl’s mother said she talked to a lawyer about becoming his legal guardian and decision-maker when he turned 18. She decided against it, worried that the state might make her pay for his care.

That concern was likely unfounded. Tim Nay, a Portland attorney with 35 years’ experience in guardianship proceedings, told the newsroom that Oregon would not ask a guardian to bear the cost of providing care for an adult with developmental disabilities.

But Dahl’s mother says she didn’t know that, and his needs were immense. He has been diagnosed with, among other things, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, osteoporosis, a developmental non-verbal disorder and “profound mental retardation,” according to his medical records.

“I can’t afford to care for him like they care for him,” she said of the state system, which allocates about $525 million annually for adults with developmental disabilities in group and foster homes.

Dahl’s mother, who now bartends at a pub in the coastal city of Yachats, said she trusted his caregivers and had no reason to worry about his care.

Until the day she learned about his tumor.

THE TUMOR

Why did it take so long for a surgeon to move ahead with surgery for Dahl? A partial picture emerges from more than 2,350 pages of medical records his mother obtained in recent months with assistance from The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Dahl’s tumor was detected in October 2017 during one of his frequent trips to the hospital. Caregivers had noticed a brownish discharge from a special tube used to deliver medicine to his stomach. Doctors wanted to know why.

A CT scan revealed a 7-centimeter mass in his lower right abdomen.

Dahl’s primary care physician at Providence in Medford, Dr. Andrean Gurov, reviewed the case. Gurov’s notes say that the mass was “concerning” for a sarcoma, a cancerous tumor that grows in soft tissue. Sarcoma cases are rare, with fewer than 13,000 diagnosed in the United States each year.

Doctors noted that Derrick Dahl's tumor could be a sarcoma, a rare cancer that grows in soft tissue.
Doctors noted that Derrick Dahl's tumor could be a sarcoma, a rare cancer that grows in soft tissue.

Surgically removing a sarcoma is the only cure, according to the American Cancer Society.

“These tumors are hard to treat and require both experience and expertise,” according to the society’s website. “Studies have shown that patients with sarcomas have better outcomes when they’re treated at specialized cancer centers that have experience in sarcoma treatment.”

After the initial evaluation, a caregiver at Dahl’s group home called Gurov’s office requesting a second opinion. Gurov left a message for a medical assistant in Dahl’s file: “Does she mean a referral to a specialist?”

“Yes referral for a specialist,” the response read.

Dr. John M. Kane III, chief of sarcoma surgeries at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, said an oncologist generally would prefer to be brought in as early as possible in reviewing any case where a sarcoma is suspected.

Dahl’s tumor was nearly twice the size of a golf ball, the threshold at which Kane said the likelihood of a sarcoma starts to increase.

“And that’s when I think it’s worth having that expertise,” said Kane, who helped write national guidelines for treating sarcomas.

The records give no indication that Providence referred Dahl to a specialized cancer center or an oncologist.

Instead, the records show Gurov’s office referred Dahl to Dr. W. Brad Craft, listed by Providence as one of its general surgeons practicing in Medford.

Providence declined to say how many sarcomas Craft removed, stating only that Craft treats tumors “as a routine part of his practice.”

Craft’s notes from his November 2017 consultation say he thought Dahl’s mass could be a sarcoma but that the true diagnosis was unknown.

The tumor’s position made surgery risky, Craft noted. It was close to a muscle in the lower back and two essential blood vessels. In addition, Gurov and Craft believed surgery risked multiple complications such as kidney failure, infection, blood clots and pneumonia, according to a statement Providence provided the newsroom.

The “operation would be a major procedure and a significant ordeal for Derrick to undergo,” Providence said.

Medical records show that a doctor wasn't clear who could authorize surgery for Derrick Dahl.
Medical records show that a doctor wasn't clear who could authorize surgery for Derrick Dahl.

Craft outlined various options in his notes, including a biopsy to determine if the mass was cancerous. Doctors could monitor the tumor’s size over time. If it grew, other medical problems would likely follow.

“Consideration for hospice or palliative care could also be given to this patient depending on what his health care committee decides,” Craft wrote.

Craft’s notes highlighted the difficulty of treating Dahl. Although many caregivers were involved, Dahl’s doctor didn’t know the full name of the person who could make decisions on his behalf.

“It is unclear to me,” Craft wrote, “who would give legal consent.”

A DECISION

The person responsible for making Dahl’s health care decisions was Kelli Lindenberg, according to notes taken by his primary care doctor and the surgeon at Providence.

Lindenberg, a former employee of Alternative Services, knew Dahl because she had worked in the home where he lived.

She subsequently told The Oregonian/OregonLive that she was “not fully 100 percent” sure she had been appointed Dahl’s decision-maker.

Lindenberg held a crucial role in the system devised by the Department of Human Services a quarter-century ago to protect vulnerable people like Dahl.

Housing units at Fairview in Salem in 1963. The Oregonian's photo caption at the time said, "Residents of Steel Cottage work on institution grounds. Some have jobs in the community. Some of these patients attend the Fairview school which goes through the sixth grade."
Oregonian
Housing units at Fairview in Salem in 1963. The Oregonian's photo caption at the time said, "Residents of Steel Cottage work on institution grounds. Some have jobs in the community. Some of these patients attend the Fairview school which goes through the sixth grade."

In the 1990s, state officials began moving people out of a massive state-run institution known as the Fairview Training Center, where federal authorities documented a shameful record of inadequate care. In its place emerged a system of homes statewide that today serves more than 5,800 adults with developmental disabilities.

In this new world of decentralized care, the department wrote rules to ensure somebody looked out for group home residents who had no legal guardians, were unable to make their own medical decisions and could not appoint someone else to do it.

The rules authorized a support team of caregivers, service coordinators and family members to appoint a health care representative who acts on a person’s behalf.

Dahl’s mother served in that role until 2010, when she was removed because caregivers couldn’t reliably get ahold of her, documents show.

Health care representatives like Lindenberg generally have the authority to make medical decisions. In the case of surgery, however, a health care representative’s decision must be approved by the full support team.

The rules say a health care representative can’t be an attending physician, the physician’s employee, or someone who owns, operates or works for the home where the person lives. A parent whose rights were terminated is also disqualified.

Lindenberg told The Oregonian/OregonLive she remembered signing an official form of some sort that defined her role on Dahl’s support team. But she could not definitively say whether or not she was officially named Dahl’s health care representative.

Lindenberg isn’t the only one confused.

The newsroom asked the Department of Human Services to quantify the number of people with developmental disabilities across Oregon who must rely on people like Lindenberg to make medical decisions for them.

State officials said they had no idea.

Oregon rules say every health care representative must fill out a state-approved form, or else the appointment is invalid. Under a separate provision titled “safeguards,” the person’s support team must submit facts and statistics about health care representatives to the Department of Human Services.

But the department has chosen not to request any of this information.

The Department of Human Services told caregivers to stop telling the agency whenever a health care representative was appointed. The rationale? To “eliminate paperwork and unnecessary workload” for state employees.

The department has instead outsourced oversight of health care representatives to a network of county agencies and nonprofits that examine whether people are being appointed properly. State officials say they perform quality checks on county-level work and expressed confidence that appointments are in compliance with rules. In Multnomah County, Oregon’s largest, officials say they review every health care representative appointment.

Teninty, the state’s director of developmental disability services, said it would make sense to collect data on health care representatives only if the agency had software capable of analyzing it. But records show the Legislature gave the agency $2.4 million for such software in 2013, and department officials spent all of the money on other priorities.

The department had its hand out again for the upcoming budget, warning that failure to provide $1.6 million in new money for the software will “continue to compromise the state’s ability to provide oversight.” The request did not make it into Gov. Kate Brown’s recommended budget.

It’s not clear who beyond Dahl’s health care representative was involved in deciding what to do about his tumor. The state declined to disclose names of members of his support team, although some are identified in Providence records.

Lindenberg said she could not remember meeting in person with the team, communicating instead by phone and email to discuss Dahl’s tumor.

The group was required to consider risks, benefits, alternatives and the impact a proposed procedure might have on the individual’s lifestyle. State rules also required them to consider other available information “such as a second opinion.”

Lindenberg’s memory of her conversation with a doctor at Providence is vague. But she said the doctor left her with the impression a biopsy would be dangerous. Lindenberg said she believed the tumor was, in her words, “inoperable” and that “it was going be terminal for him.”

Craft told The Oregonian/OregonLive in a statement that he explained to Lindenberg in person all of Dahl’s options. Craft said Lindenberg told him that she could not make a decision without talking first with Dahl’s support team, and someone on the team was supposed to get back to Providence.
“No additional requests were made,” Craft said.

The support team made its decision for Dahl to not undergo surgery in November 2017, according to findings from a subsequent state review.

Providence added an entry in Dahl’s medical file four months later.

“Deemed not to be a candidate for surgery or any procedure.”

His tumor was to be monitored for growth every six months.

THE INTERVENTION

Dahl’s mother said she was panicked after learning her son had a potentially deadly tumor that wouldn’t be removed. She filed a formal complaint with the state on April 24, 2018.

What she wanted was an additional doctor’s viewpoint. She wanted access to Dahl’s medical records. She complained that she felt excluded from her son’s life by members of his support team.

Pam Dahl got a response May 30. Caregivers had tried to contact her immediately after learning about the tumor in 2017, a Department of Human Services official wrote, but they didn’t have her current contact information. Dahl’s support team took his condition “very seriously” and ultimately decided not to proceed with surgery.

Prompted by her complaint, Dahl’s support team “is open to the idea of having a meeting to discuss obtaining a second opinion,” the human services official, Carolyn Sahr, wrote.


Pam Dahl pushed for her son to be seen by a cancer specialist. As a result, someone at Derrick Dahl's group home tried to set up a consultation.
Pam Dahl pushed for her son to be seen by a cancer specialist. As a result, someone at Derrick Dahl's group home tried to set up a consultation.

Seven months after the support team’s decision against surgery, caregivers at Dahl’s group home took him to visit a nurse practitioner who is not a Providence employee. The nurse practitioner referred Dahl to OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.

Dahl’s mother drove to Portland in July to meet with Dr. Kevin Billingsley, the chief of surgical oncology, who specializes in sarcomas.

“I learned that there was hope,” she said of her meeting with the specialist.

Pam Dahl said Billingsley explained that surgery was a viable option but the risk to Dahl would increase because of his condition.

She considered the alternative. She had watched her mother and father-in-law whittled away by cancer. She said she couldn’t imagine her son going through that.

“I said, ‘I’m willing to take the risk,’” she said.

It’s unclear how or when Dahl’s support team agreed to the surgery, but OHSU scheduled him to go under in November, the week after Thanksgiving. It was more than a year after the tumor was found.

Dahl’s mother was in the waiting room as Billingsley removed the large mass from his abdomen during what she said was a 4½-hour procedure. Medical records show Dahl did develop pneumonia, as Providence warned, and his mother said he required treatment in intensive care.

But after 10 days at OHSU Hospital, doctors decided Dahl was healthy enough to head home.

SEARCH FOR ANSWERS

Dahl’s mother had succeeded in getting the crucial advice that radically altered the course of her son’s medical treatment. But, afterward, she was left to wonder why the people responsible for his care hadn’t done it themselves.

The newsroom helped Dahl’s mother file formal requests with Providence and OHSU for his medical records, and with the Department of Human Services for documents the state used in assessing her initial complaint.

Providence disclosed the documents to Dahl’s mother, later saying the company conducted an “exhaustive search” of its files and could find no formal record of a designated or legal decision-maker who would need to approve her request.

But OHSU refused to release records, as did the Department of Human Services. Both said Dahl’s current health care representative, whom they would not publicly identify, told them not to disclose the records. The state said the health care representative believed disclosure would not be in Dahl’s best interest.

According to records released by Providence, Dahl’s health care representative as of December was Shelly Noon.

Noon, like Dahl’s earlier health care representative, Lindenberg, is a former employee of the company running Dahl’s group home, Alternative Services. The nonprofit said neither Lindenberg nor Noon were paid to serve as Dahl’s health care representative. Noon declined to comment.

Alternative Services-Oregon operates 37 group homes for adults with developmental disabilities, including one in Medford where Derrick Dahl lives. Brad Schmidt, staff
Brad Schmidt, staff
Alternative Services-Oregon operates 37 group homes for adults with developmental disabilities, including one in Medford where Derrick Dahl lives. Brad Schmidt, staff

Allen-Sleeman, the company’s executive director, said she had no say over the decision not to release records.

The state’s decision not to disclose records conflicts with assurances the state gave Dahl’s mother in May 2018.

In answering her complaint, the Department of Human Services told her that managers at the group home submitted paperwork with Dahl’s doctor “to add you to the list of people approved to see Derrick’s medical records.”

Alternative Services is “not attempting to exclude you,” Sahr, the state employee reviewing Dahl’s case, told her.

Allen-Sleeman expressed dismay that Dahl’s mother received any of his medical records.

In a series of emails with the newsroom, Allen-Sleeman argued that Providence should not have disclosed the documents and contacted the hospital to complain. She argued that disclosure violated Dahl’s right to medical privacy and told the newsroom Dahl’s mother only has “access to review” records or information, not to receive copies.

In the end, though, she agreed to talk to The Oregonian/OregonLive about decision-making in Dahl’s case. Her statements differ from the accounts of Lindenberg, Providence and Sahr, the state official who answered the complaint from Dahl’s mother last year.

Allen-Sleeman said caregivers did seek an independent medical review of Dahl’s case long before his mother intervened. In fact, Allen-Sleeman said, they asked two separate physicians to provide referrals but were “denied.” She declined to name the doctors involved.

Providence records showed a request for a referral to a specialist in October 2017, after which Gurov, the primary care doctor, sent Dahl to see Craft, the general surgeon.

The records also say Alternative Services later asked Gurov’s office to have Dahl see a cancer specialist. But that request came in May 2018, after Pam Dahl filed her complaint. The notes list Dahl’s mother as the person pushing for the specialist’s opinion. Providence replied to the request by saying Dahl needed to be seen by a surgeon before being referred to an oncologist.

Gurov told The Oregonian/OregonLive he would not stand in the way of a referral.

“I never refuse to refer patients for a second (or third) opinion,” he said in a statement provided by Providence, “because it is my belief that the patient is the center of our work and his/her opinion matters the most.”

Gary Walker, a Providence spokesman, denied Allen-Sleeman’s assertions.

“At no time was it Providence’s intent to prevent Derrick’s care team from seeking an additional opinion,” Walker said in a statement. “Any representation that Providence denied the care team an opportunity to seek care from another source is not factual.”

AFTERMATH

Kim Dayton, a professor emerita at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and expert in the ethics of health-care decision-making, said the people making medical choices for Dahl should have pushed for him to see an oncologist.

“You have to do, as a decision-maker, what a competent person would do,” she said. “And that would be, in my opinion, getting a second opinion.”

Pam Dahl said she’s now taken steps to become more involved in her son’s care. She believes members of the support team have made her a member, which should give her greater access to his medical information and a voice in significant medical decisions.

But she said she received no response when she recently tried to confirm her status in writing with her son’s coordinator of services.

Meanwhile, the newsroom’s inquiries about Dahl and others in his situation prompted officials at the Department of Human Services to re-evaluate the system in place for two decades.

“You asked very good questions,” Teninty, the state’s director of developmental disability services, told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “We identified something we needed to strengthen in legislation and statute.”

Lilia Teninty, director of Oregon's Office of Developmental Disabilities Services.
Lilia Teninty, director of Oregon's Office of Developmental Disabilities Services.

Agency officials said they reviewed the rules introduced in 1996 to appoint health care representatives for hundreds of Oregon adults -- and discovered state law does not explicitly authorize them.

If someone went to court challenging a health care representative’s authority to make decisions, the state might not win, said Jeffrey Dobbins, an associate professor at Willamette University who specializes in administrative law.

Dobbins said the current system “may not put the state at risk of financial liability, but it certainly could gum up the works with respect to the validity of existing appointments.”

The department last month brought forward a bill that would essentially ratify the existing process for naming a health care representative but change the title “representative” to “advocate.”

As with Oregon’s current system, the bill would not require health care advocates to receive any training. Nor would it specify what additional medical input should be sought in potentially dire diagnoses like Dahl’s.

However, Teninty said training requirements are “absolutely something we’re discussing” in the wake of the newsroom’s investigation. Mandating a second opinion is also on the table.

“I think that’s reasonable for us to discuss and consider,” Teninty said, “especially around something that might be terminal or life-threatening.”

THE FUTURE

Limited access to information about Dahl has led to one additional shock.

Dahl’s tumor apparently was not cancerous at all.

Although OHSU Hospital would not talk about Dahl’s case, records released to his mother by Providence summarize what Dahl’s OHSU surgeon discovered.

Rather than a malignant sarcoma, doctors removed a tumor considered “classic for schwannoma.” That type of mass is usually benign.

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In the months since surgery, Dahl’s mother said she’s traveled twice to Medford to spend time with her son. In March, she said she spent hours playing games with Dahl and brought him a favorite treat, Lorna Doone shortbread cookies.

“I’m definitely going to be visiting more often,” Dahl’s mother said. “I appreciate that he’s still here.”

Reporter Kaitlin Washburn contributed to this report.

Got a tip about Oregon’s developmental disabilities system? Contact me at bschmidt@oregonian.com

Full Article & Source:
‘Diagnosis of dying’: How one man’s tumor exposes deep flaws in safety net for Oregon’s most vulnerable

Man who took $800K from elderly Terrytown woman guilty of exploitation

Paul Juarez, 72, of Harvey, was found guilty of exploitation of a person with infirmities on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
By Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

It took a Jefferson Parish jury less than an hour to convict a man accused of taking advantage of an elderly Terrytown woman with Alzheimer’s disease and helping himself to more than $800,000 of her money, according to the Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office.

Paul Juarez, 72, of Harvey, was found guilty of exploitation of a person with infirmities Wednesday evening (May 1), the district attorney’s office said.

Juarez faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Juarez met the victim, a woman who died at 85 in 2014, at the West Bank church they both attended, according to the district attorney’s office. The woman was a retired nurse from North Carolina who was divorced and had no children.

Juarez assumed power of attorney for the woman in 2010 after she was deemed unable to make decisions for herself, the district attorney’s office said.

Juarez transferred more than $300,000 from the woman’s account into his own in 2010 and made himself and his wife the exclusive beneficiaries of her insurance policy, according to prosecutors. He was also accused of using some of the woman’s money to pay a tax bill in a Florida county where his wife owned a business.

The woman’s closest relative was a niece who lives in North Carolina. But Juarez barred the niece from visiting the woman, according to prosecutors.

The woman’s niece, who was named in the will, reached out to an attorney in October 2014. Her attorney contacted the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, prompting an investigation.

Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Juarez at his Harvey home in January 2017, booking him with exploitation of the infirmed and the illegal transfer of monetary funds, court records said.

During the trial, Juarez’s attorney denied exploiting the woman, explaining that he was merely carrying out her wishes in accordance with an arrangement made between the two, the district attorney’s office said. The woman wasn’t close to her niece and did not want to go back to North Carolina.

Juarez’s sentencing date was not immediately available.

Full Article & Source:
Man who took $800K from elderly Terrytown woman guilty of exploitation