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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
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My father (78) was placed by his wife in an assisted living

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My father (78) was placed by his wife in an assisted living center in early September for vascular dementia. She promised him she would never put him in a nursing home. The goal was a two week stay for med eval (I believe he was overmedicated on Seroquel, anti-depressants, lamictal, and many other meds. He was able to walk in the center and was still able to talk. Within a couple of weeks he was on an even higher dose of Seroquel and had a face-first fall. The staff and his wife checked him for a stroke (he has essential thrombocytosis which causes strokes). The next day he could hardly walk so his wife called an ambulance. A ct scan was done and was clear. He continued to go downhill at the center, and developed a UTI, dehydration and dysphagia and had lost 11 lbs. The staff and his wife waited at least four days to take him to the hospital and my sisters and I had to convince my father's wife to take him. They had done nothing for his dehydration, UTI or dysphagia. The center ordered a swallow test and my father's wife told me that it showed food lodged in his esophogus and they were recommending he receive nothing by mouth, including meds. Later the speech pathogogist who did the test told my sister they would never recommend nothing by mouth. My father's wife offered 3 options to me: get a 2nd opinion, leave him at the center with nothing by mouth or take him home and give him nothing by mouth. He has a very vague DNR (she may have signed a more specific DNR since), and her intention was to let him die from dehydration or aspiration pneumonia. I called the center at 8:30 pm to check on him and the aid I spoke with told me that my father had eaten breakfast but had been asleep the rest of the day, refusing lunch. Finally at 8:30pm he was attempting to get my father up and feed him. This was with the knowledge that he was dehydrated. The center finally started him on antibiotics four days after they suspected he had a UTI and had attempted to get a urine sample with no luck. Once admitted to the hospital, my father was treated for moderate dehydration and the UTI with IV fluids and antibiotics. They gave him a bedside swallow test and said he was fine to eat soft foods. They kept him for four days and the hospital staff said that he needed to be in a skilled nursing home with 24 hr. care. My father's wife refused this and promised to hire someone to sit with him, but only during meal times to feed him and during the night. Once he returned to the center, she told the staff not to give my sisters or me any information about my father other than his general state (he is fine), if he ate and slept. My father is in a wheelchair all the time now and cannot speak more than one or two words occasionally, so I consider him incapacitated and I do not trust the center will take care of him. I visited a few days ago, arriving a little after 9am and found him lying sideways on his bed with no pants on, obviously he had tried to get out of bed, his head pressed against the wall, the pad under him, his depends and his shirt soaked with urine and feces in a pitch dark room. He had not eaten breakfast. I spoke with the medical director, an rn, and she told me that an aid had given him a shower at 7am. That aid walked up and she asked her if she had given him a shower and she said no, I am assigned to a different pt. today. My sisters and I are visiting daily since we feel that is the only way we will know how he is doing. We believe my father's wife just wants him to die because he has a lot of money which is all going to her. We want him out of misery, but do not believe he should die from neglect. I made a report to the state (TX), they went to the facility the next day, but cannot give me any info for 60 days since I unfortunately made the complaint anonymous. At this point, there is not much we can do since we don't have the money to hire an attorney. We would like to be able to get details from the center staff about my father. He is still not always able to drink on his own, and the staff is not giving him enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Thomas McJD replied 11 months ago.
HiCustomer I'm Thomas and will be happy to assist you. My goal is to make you a very satisfied customer! Thanks in advance for your patience.

Unfortunately, unless your father made a durable power of attorney that named you or someone other than his wife as his agent in the event of his incapacity, the only option you have to try and take control of the situation and to obtain more information is to obtain guardianship over your father and his property. To do that, you would need to file for guardianship in the court where he is a primary resident. You would need to prove his incapacity. In addition, you would need to prove why his wife is not competent, able, or best positioned to protect him and his interests.

Although you can attempt to undertaken a guardianship proceeding without an attorney, it would only be advisable to do so when there will be no contest over a person's ability to be guardian. Since his wife would likely choose to contest anyone other than her becoming guardian, it would be a court battle turning on many specific evidentiary and procedural hurdles that a non-attorney would probably not be able to navigate successfully.

You would need an elder law and/or estate attorney to assist you.

I'm sorry I didn't have good news and an easy method by which you could achieve your objectives. The law unfortunately doesn't provide an easy means in a situation like this. Again, I'm sorry the law is so strict in this regard.

I wish you the best.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thank you very much for explaining this. I didn't think there was anything to be done other than hiring an attorney, but now I know for sure.


Best regards,


Julie

Expert:  Thomas McJD replied 11 months ago.
You're very welcome and thank you. Again, I'm sorry I didn't have better news for you and I do wish you the best.

I would be grateful if you could please leave me a positive rating for my assistance. Thanks so much and have a great weekend.
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6514
Experience: Legal Expert
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