Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Denture Cream a Killer?

My father used fixodent from a very early age as when he went into the Marines as a youngster of 17 (he lied about his age to get in) he had some cavaties but at that time the military "didnt do" fillings, just extractions, so they yanked every tooth out of his head and gave him a full set of dentures. He never forgave them for that.
He was about 60-65 yrs old when he began to lose the feeling in his feet. He went to the Dr.s and they blamed it on bad circulation.

Fixodent and Zinc Poisoning Lawsuits
June 25, 2009. By Gordon Gibb

Miami, FL: A number of lawsuits pertaining to Fixodent denture cream due to the alleged effects of zinc toxicity and Fixodent zinc poisoning have--as expected--been consolidated after so many Fixodent denture cream customers complained of problems, or had been taken ill.

According to a June 15th update from Proctor & Gamble (P&G), the manufacturer of Fixodent, has been named in two lawsuits. The manufacturer of another denture cream has been named in 10. However, it appears as if there will be many more lawsuits coming out of the woodwork, prompting the transfer order earlier this month.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) has been consolidating similar lawsuits that involve high numbers of plaintiffs since 1968. According to one law firm was in the process of evaluating about 3000 alleged zinc poisoning cases pertaining to the use of denture cream. A collection of three law firms has about 75 new lawsuits ready to slip into the pipeline, a fact likely not lost on the JPMDL.

On May 28th the Judicial Panel held hearings in Louisville, Kentucky with regard to the potential consolidation of lawsuits against P&G and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Poligrip, into a single jurisdiction.

The resulting transfer order will see all Poligrip and Fixodent lawsuits currently pending in federal court, together with new cases, flow to District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in the Southern District of Florida.

Fixodent, as well as other denture creams that contain zinc have been linked to neurological disorders that have recently been outlined in a study published last year in Neurology, a medical journal. The 2008 study determined that four neuropathy patients who had used what were described in as excessive amounts of denture cream were found to have extremely elevated levels of zinc in their blood.

Researchers at the University of Texas—where the study originated—noted that the use of denture cream was the only thing the four patients had in common beyond their neuropathy disorders. Thus, the study authors concluded that the use of denture cream remained the only "plausible explanation" for the patient's high zinc levels, together with their copper deficiencies.

Symptoms range from a numbness or tingling in the feet, legs, hands or arms, to a tendency to lose one's balance. Some have noted a reduction in strength, or the ability to move legs and feet, or arms and hands. Blood pressure and heart rate can be affected and even sexual dysfunction has occurred. Some patients have been made to suffer through constipation or bladder dysfunction and even a reduced capacity to perspire. This latter symptom could have a serious impact on the body's ability to cool itself in hot weather, or while engaged in strenuous activity such as a workout.

Seniors—the sector most likely to have dentures and use denture cream—are much more active than their predecessors.

Other symptoms include unexplained pain in the extremities, a tendency to stumble or fall down, instability and lack of balance and a change or decrease in walking stride.

For anyone with false teeth Fixodent denture adhesive is a hedge against the embarrassing slippage of one's teeth—especially in a public, or social setting. It is not known if the manufacturer of Fixodent denture cream publishes recommendations for safe levels on the product packaging. However, it is basic human nature to err on the side of caution and, when using a product that may speak to a person's vanity, use a bit extra to make sure the job is done. That person may not realize that he is setting himself up for alleged Fixodent zinc poisoning.

Fixodent Denture Cream Legal Help
If you have suffered losses in this case, please send your complaint to a lawyer who will review your possible [Fixodent Denture Cream Lawsuit] at no cost or obligation.

Click on title above for INTAKE form;

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fatal Hospital Malpractices and Neglect / NYC

New York City pays $2M to family of woman who died on floor of city psych ward

Kings County Hospital Center

It was a disgraceful incident that never should happen in a hospital--but it did. In June 2008, 49-year-old Esmin Elizabeth Green died on the floor of the psychiatric ward at Kings County Hospital Center, ignored by staff, after waiting more than 24 hours to be treated.

Now, the city of New York has agreed to pay $2 million to Green's family, with the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation accepting full responsibility for her death. The agreement follows a 2007 suit by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which alleged abuse and neglect of patients at the hospital.

HHC said that since Green's death, it has taken steps to reduce crowding at the unit and increased the size of its mental health staff. The hospital system has started construction of a new Behavioral Health Pavilion, added more than 200 doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and other mental health workers, and restructured operations to rely less on police to manage patients in crisis.

To learn more about the case:
- read this article from The New York Times

Related Articles:
NY woman dies on floor of public hospital
Daughter of woman who died in NY waiting room sues for $25M

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The New Sooners: Rush to Oregon to Die

I know I am a goin soon. I always did like Oregon. Perhaps I will stay there forever, after I am gone that is, you know, 6 feet under. Finally I will have my own piece of land!

The Right-to-Die Debate and the Tenth Anniversary of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act

October 9, 2007

by David Masci, Senior Research Fellow, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Ten years ago this month, Oregon enacted a law permitting physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to certain terminally ill patients, a practice often called physician-assisted suicide. The Death with Dignity Act, which took effect on Oct. 27, 1997, is the only law of its kind in the United States, making it an important and controversial milestone in the nation’s debate over end-of-life treatment.

A number of other countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium, allow physician-assisted suicide. In the U.S., several other states – including Vermont, Michigan and Washington – have considered measures to legalize physician-assisted suicide, but efforts to enact such laws have failed either in the state legislature or at the ballot box. The most recent attempt, in California, stalled in the state assembly earlier this year.

Oregon’s law applies only to patients who are terminally ill and likely to die within six months, a diagnosis that must be confirmed by two physicians. In addition, eligible patients must possess the mental capacity to give informed consent; cannot suffer from depression; and must sign a written declaration, in front of two witnesses, stating that they are mentally competent and acting voluntarily. Finally, while doctors may prescribe the lethal drugs, the dose must be administered by the patient. Between the time the statute was enacted in 1997 and the end of 2006, 292 terminally ill people had availed themselves of the right to end their lives, according to state records.

Related Materials

Question & Answer: A Progressive Argument Against the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide

Event Transcript Oregon's 'Death with Dignity' Law: 10 Years Later

Legal Backgrounder: Supreme Court’s Decision in Gonzales v. Oregon

Forum resource page on end-of-life issues
Opponents of physician-assisted suicide – including some medical groups, such as the American Medical Association; some disability-rights advocates; and some more socially conservative religious groups, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Jews and evangelical Protestant denominations – argue that suicide is a tragedy, not a personal choice. Furthermore, they say, the practice will inevitably lead to abuses, such as patients who might be pressured to take their own lives by family members and others who wish to save money or end the burden of caring for someone with a debilitating illness. In addition, opponents say, doctor-assisted suicide devalues human life by sending a message to the broader culture that some people’s lives are worth less than others. Finally, they contend, physician-assisted suicide is at the top of a very slippery slope that could eventually lead to involuntary euthanasia of people who are severely handicapped or infirm.

Supporters of the practice include some more socially liberal Christian and Jewish religious denominations, some civil rights groups and some organizations that advocate on behalf of the rights of patients, particularly the terminally ill. These groups and others argue that “physician aid in dying” – calling the practice “suicide” unfairly imbues it with negative connotations, they contend – is not about forcing or pressuring anyone but rather is about giving people with no hope of recovery the option to end their lives before their physical pain becomes unbearable or before they fully lose control of their mental faculties. In addition, supporters argue, giving people the option to end their suffering does not devalue human life. On the contrary, they say, physician aid in dying promotes human dignity by allowing those in the last stages of potentially painful and debilitating illnesses to end their lives on their own terms.

Public Opinion

Polls show that the country is divided on the issue of physician-assisted suicide, although the numbers differ somewhat based on how the survey questions are worded. For instance, a July 2005 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life asked half the participants about their views on the issue using one question and asked the other half a differently worded question. The survey found that 44 percent of respondents favored making it legal for doctors to “assist terminally ill patients in committing suicide” when the question was worded this way. But support for the practice rose slightly, to 51 percent, when people were asked if they favor making it legal for doctors to “give terminally ill patients the means to end their lives.”

The History of the Debate
The debate over the legal, ethical and political implications of death and dying is not new. But the modernization of health care in the 20th century dramatically changed the character of death and dying, and has cast this old debate in a different light. Beginning a little more than a century ago, people began to routinely die in hospitals rather than at home. More importantly, new technologies, such as the artificial respirator, allowed doctors to prolong life, often for substantial periods of time. At the same time, new drugs, such as morphine, allowed doctors to alleviate pain and to painlessly end patients’ lives.

By the 1950s, a small body of writers and thinkers in the United States and Europe began to argue in favor of allowing patients’ lives to be ended by the patients themselves, in the case of the terminally ill, or by their families and guardians, in the case of those on life support. These arguments gained wider acceptance in the 1960s as the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution and other social movements helped to expand notions of personal freedom.

In the 1970s the end-of-life debate vaulted onto the national stage thanks in large part to the highly publicized 1975 case of Karen Ann Quinlan, a 21-year-old New Jersey woman who had fallen into a coma and was judged to be in a “chronic persistent vegetative state,” unable to survive without the help of an artificial respirator. Efforts by Quinlan’s family to remove her life support were thwarted by her doctor, leading to a lawsuit and a ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court that patients (and by extension their families) have a right to terminate life support.

In 1990, the right-to-die debate reached the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving Nancy Cruzan, who had been in a persistent vegetative state for five years when her parents asked that her feeding tube be removed. In Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Public Health, the court, in a 5-4 decision, implicitly recognized for the first time a constitutional right to refuse treatment in extraordinary circumstances.

In some ways, Cruzan presaged another high-profile case, that of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman whose husband and legal guardian fought against her parents to remove the feeding tube that was keeping her alive. Schiavo became a national media story from 2003 to 2005, as those favoring the “right to die” and those favoring the “right to life” battled over her fate in the courts, in the court of public opinion and even in Congress. But throughout the struggle, courts consistently ruled that Schiavo’s husband had the ultimate right to decide what his wife would have wanted, and with all appeals exhausted, she died on March 31, 2005, after her feeding tube was removed.

In the years between the Cruzan and Schiavo cases, a number of states held referenda on legalizing physician-assisted suicide for certain terminally ill patients. Voters rejected such measures in Washington state in 1991 and in California the following year. Although voters in Oregon first approved the Death with Dignity Act in 1994, it did not take effect until 1997, owing to court challenges and a second state referendum that unsuccessfully sought to nullify the act.

In the last decade, many of the high-profile battles over physician-assisted suicide have taken place in the courts. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in Washington v. Glucksberg that while the Constitution guarantees the right to refuse medical treatment, it does not give patients the right to assisted suicide. In 2006, the high court, in Gonzales v. Oregon, rejected an effort by the U.S. attorney general to use a federal drug law to prohibit doctors in Oregon from prescribing lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients under the Death with Dignity Act.

Supporters of physician-assisted suicide had hoped that the Gonzales v. Oregon decision would give their movement the momentum it needed to encourage other states to adopt laws similar to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. But, as the recent defeat of a doctor-assisted suicide bill in California shows, opposition to the practice remains strong, even in a state with a reputation for being at the forefront of new social trends.

Going forward, it is hard to know if and when another state or states will join Oregon. The only thing certain is that the debate over what is and is not an appropriate course of action when it comes to end-of-life decisions will continue for a long time to come.

Go to the Pew Forum's Resource Page on End-of-Life Issues

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Thinking of You on This 3rd. Fathers Day Since Your Gone

June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day Daddy,...but of course silly, I still think of you everyday! And to be honest, I would rather be with you where ever you are, than anyplace here on earth. I AM NOT a happy camper here, and if Id the guts Id join you, Id be there with you today. But not for that and my animals, its the only things keeping me alive. Wouldnt ma be suprized to see me if I did decide to join you after all? She would probably think I had entered voluntairily into the afterlife for the sole purpose of haunting her through eternity, ..... like she is doing me! I miss you both so very much.
Your Favorite Daughter,


Monday, June 15, 2009

Shining a Spotlight on America's Silent Crisis: Elder Abuse

THE HUB: An estimated 5 million seniors in the U.S. are victims of elder abuse each year. To address this crisis, WITNESS and the National Council on Aging are using video to help pass the Elder Justice Act (EJA), holistic legislation that will help ensure citizens age with personal security and dignity. Join us today, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, to break the silence and pass the EJA.

Click on title above for article w/ videos & to go to The Hub website; - once the link opens, you may have to page way down to see the text.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Cancer of Good Intentions

Brother, do I KNOW about that kind of cancer! Both my parents died from it.

posted by Eric Steinman May 27, 2009 3:00 pm

filed under: Family Life, Children, Parenting at the Crossroads, cancer, chemotherapy, daniel hauser, personal freedom, religious freedom

One indelible memory I have from the last days of my father’s life was rifling through his filing cabinet at 3 AM. This was not a scheming attempt to uncover some dark family secret, and shamelessly confront him with it on his deathbed. No, I was dispatched to run a reconnaissance mission back to my father’s home office looking for a “do not resuscitate” order (DNR), which essentially functions as an advanced directive in writing from a patient who does not wish to have “unnecessary” life sustaining treatment, and instead wishes to have a more natural death. I was moved to rush, as the attending physician at the hospital said he was about to put my father on life support unless he received legal notice not to do so. Knowing my father, and the specifics of his wishes, I knew the last thing he would want was to be brain dead, indefinitely hospitalized, and hooked up to a machine that went “beep-beep-beep.”

Long story short: I found the DNR with a few minutes to spare and my father ultimately got his parting wish.

I was reminded of this significant moment in my life recently by the trials and tribulations of Daniel Hauser, a 13-year-old Minnesota boy suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, who just last week lost a court battle he and his family waged to refuse any further invasive treatments (chemo, radiation, etc) and instead (with the consent of his parents) explore a more holistic approach to wellness and health. Hauser’s doctors claim that Daniel has a 90 percent chance of survival with treatment and a 95 percent chance of not seeing the end of the year if he doesn’t receive treatment. Fairly grim statistics. However, Daniel and his parents are ardent believers in a more natural path of treatment (the practices of the native American Nemenhah religious organization) and have a tremendous amount of faith in following this discipline toward a cure. Daniels mother says, “we believe in traditional methods. To strip that away would be stripping his soul right out of his body.”

Since the court ruling in favor of continuing chemotherapy against the will of the family as well as young Daniel, he and his mother have gone missing (most likely fleeing the mandate of the court) and have ignited a firestorm about parents rights, religious freedom, child endangerment, and personal freedoms.

It is difficult to know how this particular case will be resolved, but judging from the emotional uproar around the Terri Schiavo case from a few years back, we are likely to hear a lot of moral grandstanding and admonishments before anyone is truly cared for.

This particular case with Daniel Hauser appears to be suitably complicated, with doubts and dispersions being cast upon the parents and the ailing child being made into a symbolic martyr for the cause (what cause it may be is still unclear). Regardless, the whole tumult brings up difficult and troubling questions about not only life and euthanasia, but also how family members and loved ones choose to administer (or not) the needed care.

So how does this all sit with you? Are the parents just kooks and unfit to take care of their ailing child? Is the court way out of line and infringing on both individual and religious freedoms along with civil rights? Should the protection of life be the be all and end all?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wash. state has first death under new suicide law

Posted: May 22, 2009 12:43 PM EDT

Assisted suicide law takes effect, opinions clash
Washington voters pass initiative allowing medically assisted suicide

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A 66-year-old woman from Sequim is the first person to die under the state's new assisted suicide law.

Linda Fleming died Thursday night after taking drugs prescribed under the "Death with Dignity" law that took effect in March.

Compassion & Choices of Washington announced the death Friday morning.

The organization says Fleming was diagnosed last month with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The new law was approved in last November's election with a nearly 60 percent vote. It is based on Oregon's measure which passed in 1997. Since then, about 401 people have used the Oregon law to end their lives.

Under Washington' law, any patient requesting fatal medication must be at least 18 and mentally competent. Two doctors must certify that the patient has less than six months to live.

The state Department of Health says it has received six forms from pharmacists saying they have dispensed life-ending drugs.

The passage of the Washington State Initiative 1000, the "Death with Dignity Act," has required hospitals and healthcare providers to make decisions about whether they will participate under the Act. The Act is clear that no provider, including Deaconess, is required to assist a qualified patient in ending his or her own life and requires hospitals that do not allow participation to provide public notice.

"After thoughtful conversations with our medical staff, board of trustees and patients, Deaconess Medical Center has chosen to not participate in the ‘Washington State Death with Dignity Act,'" said Shelley Peterson, Deaconess' Chief Nursing Officer. "However, we do believe that the passage of this act by Washington voters is a call to improve end of life care. We also believe that whether or not to participate in Death with Dignity is a decision for providers and their patients. Therefore, we will not interfere with decisions made in private clinics on the Deaconess campus."

Deaconess says it will continue to provide compassionate, high quality care to all patients. Any patient wishing to receive life-ending medication while a patient at the hospital will be assisted in transfer to another facility of the patient's choice, assuring continuity of care.

"All providers at Deaconess will continue to respond to a patient's questions about life-ending medication with compassion and without judgment. Deaconess believes our providers have an obligation to openly discuss the patient's concerns, unmet needs, and feelings about dying and end-of-life care. Providers will continue to seek to learn the meaning behind the patient's questions and help the patient understand the range of available options, including but not limited to comfort care, hospice care and pain management. Ultimately, Deaconess' goal is to help patients make informed decisions about end-of-life care," said Peterson.

Valley Hospital and Medical center also chose not to participate in the act.

Previous Coverage
Two prescriptions filled for WA assisted suicide

APRIL 22, 2009

SEATTLE, Wash. - State health officials say two prescriptions have been filled for life-ending drugs under Washington's new assisted suicide law.

Health Department spokesman Tim Church said Thursday he could not provide any details about the people considering suicide. The department has received two forms from pharmacists saying they have dispensed the drugs that people say they want to use to end their lives.

The department has not received any forms certifying that a person has committed suicide under the state law that took effect in early March.

Church says the people who filled a prescription for life-ending medication have as long as they want to take the medication or can change their minds and never take it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Committed by One Nurse Aid at Two Facilities

May 6th, 2009

A New York nursing home worker, who was already facing criminal charges for sexually abusing residents last summer, now faces new charges related to alleged abuses that occurred at another nursing home where he worked months earlier.

The New York Attorney General’s office has filed new charges against Robert Gundersen for misdemeanor forcible touching, felony sex abuse and misdemeanor third-degree sex abuse involving a 78 year-old nursing home resident. The sexual abuse allegedly occurred between December 15, 2007 and January 7, 2008, while he was working as a nurse aide at the Northwoods Rehabilitation Center in Troy.

At the time the charges were filed, Gundersen was already facing nursing home sex abuse charges as a result of forcibly French-kissing a younger wheel-chair bound resident with multiple sclerosis. That abuse allegedly occurred between August 2008 and September 2008, while he was working at the Eddy Ford Nursing Home in Cohoes, New York.

Discovery of the nursing home sexual abuse stems from increased investigations by the New York Attorney General’s Office, including the use of hidden cameras at facilities throughout the States.

Since the crackdown on abuse at nursing homes has become a top priority for the AG, more than 70 nursing home employees have been arrested or convicted for rape, sexual assault, theft and forgery. At least one nursing home company, Highgate LTC Management, has also been temporarily suspended from doing business as a result of nursing home neglect caught on camera.

Nursing home residents are susceptible to sexual abuses and unwanted physical contact, due to their weak and disabled conditions. Younger nursing home residents who are unable to speak or move independently could be especially at risk.

To ensure the safety of their residents, nursing homes have an obligation to conduct thorough background checks on their employees and to ensure that employees are properly trained and supervised. When a facility negligently fails to protect residents, they can often be held accountable through a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

Discovering abuse in nursing homes can often be challenging given the physical and mental impairments of many residents. In addition, information is often withheld from family members, facility supervisors and law enforcement because the residents are afraid of punishment or ashamed about what has occurred.

Patient advocates urge family members to always be alert for signs of nursing home abuse, which could include unusual cuts and bruises, broken bones, unexplained hair loss or changes in behavior when certain staff members are around.

Tags: New York, Nursing Home, Nursing Home Abuse, Nursing Home Neglect

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Nursing Home Penalizes Relatives for no advance notice of death

WHITE HOUSE, Tenn., May 8 (UPI) -- Members of a Tennessee family said they were penalized by a nursing home for not giving at least 30 days notice before their mother died.

Randy Harrell said he received a security check refund from the Windlands Center nursing home in White House after his mother, Lucille Harrell, 81, died at the facility March 20, WSMV-TV, Nashville, reported.

"At that time, the check was $301 instead of $1,295, which was her original deposit," Harrell said.

He said nursing home bosses told him the money was deducted for not giving 30 days notice of his mother's departure from the home, despite the reason being death.

Windlands Center manager John McCrory said the contract states that notice of leaving must be given at least 30 days in advance, although the document does not mention the word "death."

"If they see they are having lots of problems, I even recommend them giving 30-day notice at that time," McCrory said. "That way, it'll cut off some of the costs."


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Elderly Citizens Being Medicated Through Needless Mass Medications

(NaturalNews) April 24, 2009

Healthy senior citizens are being needlessly exposed to potentially risky medications due to blind adherence to national health guidelines drafted for younger people, a prominent cardiologist has warned.

"Nowadays few elderly people are allowed to enjoy being healthy," writes Edinburgh University cardiology professor emeritus Michael Oliver online in the British Medical Journal.

"A bureaucratic demand for documentation can lead to overdiagnosis, overtreatment and unnecessary anxiety," he wrote.

Specifically addressing the situation in the United Kingdom, Oliver criticizes the National Health Service (NHS) for aggressively encouraging doctors to treat people of all ages with blood pressure or cholesterol drugs intended to prevent heart disease and other chronic conditions. Yet the case for these drugs is based on studies showing that they slightly reduced the lifelong risk of heart attack, stroke or death in much younger patients.

"Preventive action may be irrelevant and even harmful in elderly people," Oliver writes. "More than 30 years ago, in his book Medical Nemesisn b , Ivan Illich called this trend 'the medicalization of health.'"

In part, the NHS encourages doctors to prescribe blood pressure and cholesterol drugs by financially rewarding doctors who achieve the Quality and Outcomes Framework targets.

"Many older people, often retired, are summoned by their general practitioner for an annual health check," Oliver writes. "They may feel reasonably well, but the NHS does not always permit such euphoria. They may be told that they have hypertension or diabetes or high cholesterol concentrations; that they are obese; that they take too little exercise, eat unhealthily and drink too much."

Yet medicating the elderly may pose a greater risk of side effects than medicating the young, he warns, and for lesser benefit.

"Are those people who have now been turned into patients warned sufficiently about side effects?" he asks. "Are minor side effects, which can be debilitating in this age group, reported to health authorities? More importantly, are doctors willing to discontinue treatment and permit these patients to return to their previously unencumbered and reasonably fit lives?"

Sources for this story include:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Preparing your children for a grandparents death

By Connie Matthiessen, senior editor

People often conceal the reality of death from young children in an effort to protect them from painful and frightening “adult” matters. In earlier times, grandparents and other relatives often passed away at home, cared for by the family, and children understood that death was part of the natural order of things. Today, the dying are often in hospitals and nursing homes, and many children have no concept of what it means to die. But experts agree that not talking about death, or dressing it up in euphemisms or platitudes, can confuse and frighten a young child. If a grandparent is ill and nearing death, here are steps you can take to help prepare your child for the loss.

Talk openly about death in advance. It’s a good idea to introduce the subject of death to your young child well before a grandparent is ailing. The death of a pet offers an excellent opportunity for such a discussion. Or you can simply show your child a dead flower or insect. Explain that death is the end of life, and that every living thing will die one day. Keep your explanation simple and to the point. Consider this the first of many conversations, as it will take your child a while to absorb the information.

If a grandparent is very ill or has received a terminal diagnosis, gently tell your child that his grandparent is going to die. It’s better to inform your child in advance, because at the time of death you may be too grief-stricken yourself to explain. It’s fine to show your child that you’re sad about the loss, but it may scare him if you disclose the news of his grandparent’s passing at a time when you’re overcome with grief.

Answer your child’s questions, no matter how difficult. Try to respond to all your child’s questions about death without distress or displeasure — or dishonesty. Many of them are likely to be difficult to answer — for example, “Will Grandma be able to see me when she’s dead?” — and your response will depend on your personal beliefs. Avoid telling your child fairy tales. If you say that Grandma is sitting on a fluffy white cloud in the sky, looking down on your child and sending kisses, your child may feel comfort in the moment but is likely to be confused about death in the long run. It’s fine to simply say that you don’t know the answer to certain questions.

Let your child spend lots of time with grandparents, if appropriate. If your child’s grandparent is up to it, arrange for them to see each other regularly. Your child may find this scary at first if you’ve just told him that his grandparent is going to die, but short visits will help dispel your child’s fear, may lift his grandparent’s spirits, and will create pleasant memories for years to come.

Put together a legacy project. Consider creating a legacy project with your parent, and involve your child in the process. Even a very young child can help select photographs for a poster or photo album. An older child may enjoy listening to his grandmother relate her life story for an oral history project; the child could also draw pictures for the final bound volume. If possible, take some pictures of your child with his grandparent and add them to the oral history. Frame one of the photos and put it in your child’s room.

Find children’s books on death and dying. Many excellent books for children deal with the subject of death. Pick a selection up from the library and purchase a few you think your child will like, so they can continue to provide comfort in the months to come.

Encourage your child to draw or paint pictures. Children often have trouble talking about their feelings and may be able to express themselves more easily through drawing or painting.

Inform your child’s teacher and other adults. Talk to your child’s teacher, to babysitters, and to other significant adults in his life. Tell them that your child’s grandparent is dying, and explain how your child is dealing with the experience. This information will help adults know how to interpret his behavior and provide support, as needed.

If you detect problems, take your child to a counselor or a child psychologist. If your child is having a very strong reaction to his grandparent’s death — if he’s acting out, is very withdrawn, or exhibits other signs of distress — it’s a good idea to consult a child psychologist. An expert can help your child work through his fear and loss.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Financial Elder Abuse Victimizes Elder's Grandson

April 7, 2009. By Heidi Turner

San Jose, CA: J.B. says that he and his grandmother have been victimized by financial abuse. Specifically, his grandmother is a victim of financial elder abuse and this abuse has had a severe impact on J's life, leaving him broke and homeless—living in an extended-stay hotel with the help of a non-profit organization and relying on doctors to provide him with pro bono medical care.

"I can't access my own money [which is in an insurance policy], but having that money in my name is blocking me from getting benefits and help with an attorney," J says. "Would you believe that a forgery by one person would land someone else homeless on the street?"

J says the situation started when his grandmother decided to buy him and his brother an insurance policy on her life.

"The intent was to give us some of her estate," J says. "But, she was taken advantage of by her insurance agent. She bought a quarter of a million dollar policy death benefit on her life. But here's the thing, my brother and I are owners of this policy—even though we never signed anything to say we would be the owners of the policy. The owner has to sign a piece of paper to acknowledge ownership because there are tax benefits. To simply be a beneficiary, nothing has to be signed. Nothing was sent to me, I was told at the time that I was a beneficiary on the policy. It is common to think that you are the beneficiary and not the owner. That was in 1997 and I was a medical resident at the time.

"In order to get the most commission, the agent had to sell the policy as an estate-planning tool, but Grandma didn't have a big enough estate to need the benefits he was selling. She needed to gift out the maximum amount of the premium every year. She gifted us each $10,000 a year for seven years. We got the money and sent it back to her via the insurance money. We were told that the policy was bought and that was how we would save death taxes. We didn't know that wasn't true. When your grandma does that for you, you say thank you, you don't look into it.

"The insurance agent and Grandma handled all the work. This product, at face value, was not worthless, but Grandma was 73 when she purchased it and she wanted my brother and I to have her money when she died. She is now 86; if she survives 6 years there is no money left and it is worth zero because the premiums go up. But that is not how the policy was sold. She was not told that the death benefit would go down without more premiums put in. We put that $10,000 each in for 7 years, thought that was it and the policy would grow. There was $140,000 put in by the end of that seventh year.

"The owners of a policy are the ones with the contract but the contract was never given to us. None of us knew about this because the contract was sent to Grandma's house. The insurance agent collected the premiums and got first check personally. Grandma paid the first premium and we paid remaining 7 years. There is a lot of intention here for him to cover up so that we would not see the contract until she died. We paid in full, thinking that when she died we would get $250,000. But we really were getting the death benefit, [which may not be equal to $250,000]."

"The insurance agent duped her, took advantage of her and manipulated her, but he didn't take her money, he took ours because she gifted it to us. The insurance agent was scamming an elder. His commission was $22,000 out of $144,000 that was put in.

"I took the papers that I supposedly signed [to become the owner of the policy] to a forgery expert, so I have proof that I didn't sign them.

In 2005, J became sick. He was unable to manage his own affairs and turned control of his assets over to his family, who paid for his health insurance through his assets. His grandmother wanted to help him out financially, so she tried to borrow money from her insurance policy.

"The agent said that she could not borrow the money off the account," J says. "I got suspicious because I knew that if you put $140,000 in the policy and have a cash value account, you should be able to borrow money off the account. I asked about seeing a copy of the policy but the agent wanted nothing to do with that. It took months and then I finally went around him and then went to his company. They finally got back to me that my brother and I needed to sign some papers to release the money.

"We wrote a joint letter [giving their grandmother permission to borrow the money] and we get a letter back saying that the signatures on the letter don't match the signatures on file. How could it not match when we didn't sign anything? I looked at my grandmother's contract and our signatures aren't on the contract. The company said that my brother and I are owners and are in complete control of the policy.

"I didn't know the policy was fraudulent, I was just suspicious."

In the meantime, J continued to struggle with his illness and ran out of money. His employment until he was sick consisted of being trained as a surgeon, which does not count towards SSI benefits, so J applied for disability and multiple doctors stated how severe his illness was. Unfortunately, the life insurance policy J's grandmother took out for him and his brother counted against him. Because J is listed as an owner of the policy, he does not qualify for disability benefits.

"I have nothing. I have been living in my car and my doctor continues to treat me pro bono, even to this day, and helps me get compassionate fills from the pharmacy. I was first denied SSDI in March 2007. A year went by with me fighting the insurance company and they are still ignoring the forgeries. Then, I find out that the policy is dwindling in assets and that the benefits are nothing if she [J's grandmother] survives past a certain age. She bought this as a whole life policy.

"There is $25,000 still in the policy and half is mine, but I have no access because it is jointly owned with my brother. The company knows that the signature was forged because they admit that whoever signed my name also signed my brother's. I was in Thailand when I supposedly signed those papers. So, I have no access to the money, the cash value in the policy is dwindling, and, because I own that life insurance policy—rather than being the beneficiary—I don't qualify for benefits.

"This all started with an insurance agent who wanted a big, fat commission. The insurance company assures my grandmother that when she dies we will get the death benefit—but they don't say we will get $250,000, just that we will get the death benefit. It's tricky wording so you don't know what is going on."


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Medical Bill Errors: Fighting Mistakes

Advocates Can Help Find Typical Medical Billing Errors
April 7, 2009

Expensive mistakes on medical bills are hard for most of us to detect, because the bills are written in a mysterious language that we don't speak.
But eight out of 10 medical bills have mistakes on them, according to Medical Billing Advocates of America.

What if you could hire somebody to translate your bills and then do battle for you?

Turns out, you can. And it might not even cost you anything.

Finding the Mistakes and Fighting Back

Artist Cynthia Kulp thought being diagnosed with breast cancer was the worst thing that could happen to her. But, then, the hospital where she received her breast cancer treatment overcharged her.

"To have to fight a hospital going through cancer treatment, overcharging me, they have to be the lowest of the low," Kulp said.

Before her lumpectomy, she said, the hospital told her the operation would cost $5,000. Instead, she got a bill for $12,700, right in the middle of her course of chemotherapy.

"You can barely function, you can barely get out of bed," she said. "How can you fight hospitals?"

So she hired Holly Wallack, a medical billing advocate, to help. Wallack found all kinds of errors on Kulp's bill, such as:

Mismatches. These are drugs that appeared on the medical bill, even though they weren't listed in the medical records.

Double charges. The hospital charged Kulp for two "first" hours in the recovery room. So Wallack asked, "How many 'first' hours do you get? Last I heard, there was only one, then he was very happy to take that charge off."

Inflated charges. The hospital billed $192 for a postoperative support bra that Wallack found on the Internet for $19 -- a tenth of the cost.

"That was one morning in one operating room in one hospital in one little town in the country," she said. "If you extrapolate that out to what's going on every day, it's mind boggling."

Other Common Medical Bill Mistakes
Here are a few other billing mistakes to watch out for:

Artist Cynthia Kulp thought being diagnosed with breast cancer was the worst thing that could happen to her. But, then, the hospital where she received her breast cancer treatment overcharged her.

Billing for things that ought to be included. That's like paying for the value meal and also being charged separately for the sides.

Misplaced decimals. ABC News saw one bill that read $874 for an $87.40 medication, for example.

Fat fingers. These are extra line items caused by clerical clumsiness. A medication might be listed seven times in a row, even though it's only supposed to be given four times a day.

"Our medical situation in the U.S. is seriously broken, and it needs to be fixed," Wallack said. "And I don't know how to fix it. I'm fixing it one bill at a time."

Wallack negotiated Kulp's bill from $12,700 down to $5,800, a $7,000 savings. "It was like a miracle that we found her," Kulp said.

There was another miracle, too. Despite having one of the most aggressive, devastating forms of the disease, Kulp fought off the breast cancer and won.

Hiring a Medical Billing Advocate

Medical billing advocates like Wallack either charge an hourly fee, ranging from $60 to $175, or they work on a contingency basis, earning a commission of 15 percent to 35 percent of the amount they save you. If you do it that way, you don't pay a dime unless they lower your bill, which makes them highly motivated to do just that.

It's a little tricky to find a medical billing advocate, because they go by many names such as claims assistance professional, medical claims professional or health care claims advocate.

And, keep in mind, it's mostly phone work, so they don't have to be in your same city. Here are a couple sources for finding somebody to assist you.

Medical Billing Resources
Medical Billing Advocates of America

National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Brother Died from Fentanyl Overdose

March 27, 2009. By Jane Mundy

Richmond, RI: "My brother was prescribed fentanyl patches for severe back pain and throat cancer," says Michael. "He was on conventional opiates for a long time but he was prescribed the fentanyl patches on July 10, 2007. The next day my mother found him dead."

Michael says Patrick, his brother, had a tracheotomy and his prognosis was good. After the surgery Patrick went to rehab in the hospital for a few weeks and was released from rehab around 10am—he filled the fentanyl prescription at the pharmacy the same day. "Patrick must have put his patch on shortly afterward," says Michael. "My mother went into his room to wake him up the next morning because he had a follow-up appointment with the doctor—she found him dead.

If only we knew about the dangers of this Duragesic patch at that time…

That morning I received a frantic call from my niece, Barbara. 'Uncle Pat has something wrong with him,' she said. 'The paramedics are here and they are trying to revive him,' she told me, frantically. He had no pulse and no heartbeat. Just a few days earlier I had talked to him. Patrick's hopes of recovery were high and he was in a good space of mind. I got him to pray with me and it was like he was given a second chance. His prognosis was good and the cancer was in remission—they had removed it all.

That morning, after I received the call, I went over to my mother's house; I was in shock. By the time I got there, the paramedics had taken Patrick to the hospital: He was dead on arrival.

When I got to their house, I don't know what made me do this, but I went through his room-- I was looking for answers. I was having a conversation with my mother who was very upset of course: We couldn't figure out what happened and guessed that maybe he choked on something. But what really happened was this: I found the fentanyl patches; I found one in his bed that was used and the rest in the Duragesic patch box on his dresser. I don't know if it fell off when they were trying to revive him or before that, but I took this one used patch and put it in a plastic baggie along with the rest of the patches and I took them home with me.

I put the patches in my lock box and they remained there until about five months ago. I was sitting at home watching TV and saw an ad about fentanyl patches. An attorney in Texas was explaining how they had killed people and it hit me like a ton of bricks—my stomach just dropped.

We were trying to get an autopsy report on my brother for a period of 16 months. We always got the same answers at the coroner's office: they were backed up and months behind on getting the final report on his death. Patrick's death certificate didn't have a cause of death; it was blank. The autopsy report couldn't concur with the death certificate because it took so long. They kept saying the reports were not done so we didn’t have any closure. The doctor at the hospital wouldn't talk to us either.

Then I saw the ad on TV. I researched the Internet and found an attorney at LawyersandSettlements. I explained to him that my brother had died, we didn't know why he died and we needed some closure. He got the autopsy report, after 16 months. It said 'acute opiate poisoning, respiratory failure resulting in an accidental death'.
I was able to preserve the patch and I sent it to my attorney; the dates on the package fall within the dates of the recall. This fentanyl patch leaked and that's what I believe killed him. And that is what my lawyer believes.

Patrick was only 47 years old when he died and his daughter is only 13. I am so angry about it. Something that was supposed to help ended up killing my brother."

See also: Leaky patches recalled:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"My Mother Died from a Fentanyl Overdose"

January 26, 2009. By Jane Mundy

Olathe, KS: Melissa says that now she understands the effects of fentanyl, she believes her mother died from an overdose of this powerful opoid which was administered by way of the Duragesic patch.

"My mother was first prescribed the fentanyl patch in 2005 because her hip needed to be replaced," says Melissa. But her mother had an infection so surgery was postponed. And postponed. As well, her mother was allergic to regular pain medications—they caused her severe itching and nausea—so fentanyl seemed to be a tolerable way for her to deal with pain.

"However, in retrospect my mother should never have been given this drug at her age: she was 73 years old and had COTD—various kinds of lung ailments," says Melissa. "We found out after the fact that fentanyl is a very dangerous drug to take with respiratory problems." And that wasn't all that was wrong with fentanyl.

"Mother was given a large dose of fentanyl of and on by way of the Duragesic patch for about 10 months," Melissa explains. "She was given it 'off and on' because she was in and out of hospital and we also found out some of the hospital staff was stealing it (they were later fired.) After a time, my mum began to lose her mind---she couldn't remember anything; she would eat breakfast and two hours later would ask for her breakfast. She had hallucinations, she couldn't work her TV set in the nursing home where she was moved to (her hip got worse as she was waiting for surgery). She deteriorated rapidly and was put on anti-depressants--that you aren't supposed to combine with fentanyl.

The first time the nursing home staff found her in her room barely breathing, they resuscitated her and rushed her to the hospital. It happened 3 or 4 times after that. During the last month of her life, we found out that they overdosed her. The doctor said no more fentanyl because it stops her heart. But she needed something for pain so he prescribed half-doses. Then they put her in a rehab center because they had to get her stabilized; she continued on the patch and the rehab doctor put her on Effexor—which turned out to be a deadly combination with fentanyl.

I found her one morning in her room with two aides, barely breathing and incoherent. They called 911 yet again and determined that she was overdosed on fentanyl and gave her Narcan—a drug used to rapidly detoxify someone from a serious or lethal narcotic overdose. But the bad thing is that Narcan is not tested on seniors. As well it is apparently a very painful and emotional process; you are in physical and psychological withdrawal.

Although she was screaming her head off, it was the first time in 10 months that I finally saw my mother again—she was lucid and coherent. She also told me she couldn't take it anymore. The doctor said she had to come off fentanyl and he suggested prednisone—a treatment he said was successful.

By that evening she had terrible hallucinations—I think the Narcan fried her brain. For the next few weeks she didn’t know where she was, why she was there. She called me by my nickname she used when I was a little girl. A few days later I thought she was becoming more coherent and it seemed like she was starting to recover when she was off the patch, but it only lasted a few days: I needed to talk to the doctor because she was worse. He phoned and told me they had accidentally put her back on the fentanyl patch!

I was furious. As far as I know, this killed her. She went to another nursing home and was all messed up again. She existed in a weird altered state until the day she died.

My mum's death certificate states heart failure and hardening of the arteries—stuff they would write about any elderly person who dies in their sleep. But I know her breathing was so shallow because of fentanyl. She was mentally together and had a few ailments before this hip problem but that drug doped her up so much she couldn't do anything.

They shouldn't take people on and off fentanyl like they did and combine fentanyl with other drugs. I read online that if you cannot take opiates, do not take fentanyl. It took me 5 minutes of research online to find this fentanyl warning—why doesn't the medical community take notice? It is so maddening—this drug stole her life. We didn’t even get to say goodbye."

See also; Leaky patches recalled;

Seniors Duped in Financial Elder Abuse Scams

January 17, 2009. By Gordon Gibb

San Diego, CA: Next to child abuse, elder abuse is right up there with behaviors that turn the stomach—whether that abuse is physical, emotional of financial elder abuse. Financial abuse, especially against seniors who are in the twilight of their lives and long beyond their capacity to earn a living, leaves a bitter taste. Thankfully, financial elder abuse law is there to help protect then from crooks that attempt to rob them of the little money they have.

The problem with seniors and elders, as most will attest, is that they are often confused. Fraudsters pray on this limitation, all the way to the bank.

Consider the case of four seniors who were defrauded out of money via a bogus lottery scheme perpetrated by a California man. Kim Moy Hioe, himself a senior at 65, is alleged to have strung his victims along by informing them they had won a lottery, but would have to advance funds to pay for related fees, attorney's fees and taxes.

At least four seniors across the US fell for the scam, according to reports.

"In fact, there were no lottery winnings and Hioe and others were intentionally defrauding the elderly victims," alleged Special Agent Gregory Fine of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "Hioe received funds from various victims and forwarded a portion of the money to Canada, keeping the remaining proceeds for himself."

The fake lottery scam came to light after an 81-year old pensioner in Lacer County, California tipped off the authorities. Hioe was arrested and put on trial in San Jose, with regard to the alleged fraud scheme.

Sometimes it's a fraud scheme like a lottery win. Other times it's the sensational emails that come from far-off lands, claiming the existence of large sums of money and offerring the recipient of the email a chance to have a stake in the treasure provided funds are advanced to cover everything from taxes, to legal fees. These are not fees at all, but an attempt to secure money for personal gain. There is no wealthy person who has died and has left the money to no one in partcular.

Sometimes it’s a friendly face knocking on a door, selling some kind of service that requires a payment of cash up front. Sometimes it's a phone call.

And sometimes it's an unscrupulous life insurance agent who finds a way to dupe an elderly client out of thousands, in an elder financial abuse fraud scheme.

In this case a San Diego insurance agent by the name of Edward Michael Ybarra is alleged to have collected $110,000 from a 78-year-old client for insurance investment purposes. It was later determined however, by way of an investigation by the Investigation Division of the California Department of Insurance, that $70,000 of that fund was diverted to Ybarra's own personal use.

"There are few crimes more heinous than taking advantage of a senior to cheat them out of their life savings,” said Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who announced the arraignment of Ybarra on 3 felony counts of financial elder abuse, grand theft and using false statements in the sale of a security. “My Department is steadfast in its commitment to root out senior fraud and make sure that those who are convicted receive the toughest penalties possible.”

In the end, fraudsters who take advantage of seniors and commit financial elder abuse are cruel, and taking individuals who can least defend themselves for a financial abuse ride. Financial elder abuse law is there to protect seniors from these kinds of heinous crimes. If you are a senior who feels duped, or someone you love has fallen a victim to financial abuse, contact a financial elder abuse lawyer to explore your options

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Understanding Financial Elder Abuse

Understanding Financial Elder Abuse

January 13, 2009. By Heidi Turner

Beverly Hills, CA: If you think you or a family member has been the victim of financial elder abuse, you might be right. Financial abuse of seniors is far more widespread than many people realize, affecting many seniors and their families. However, before you accuse someone of violating financial elder abuse laws, there are a few things you should know.

First is that financial elder abuse laws are not designed to protect seniors who have simply made a poor decision. According to Philip Brown, founder and partner at Egerman & Brown, LLP, there is a difference between a senior being financially abused and simply making a bad decision.

"A poor or unwise decision is not elder abuse unless it was prompted by someone taking advantage of an elderly person's particular need," Brown says. "For example, an elderly person who is convinced to invest in a risky venture, such as a wildcat oil drilling venture, is not elder abuse if there really is a drilling venture." So, the investment may be unwise—especially if the money for the investment is money that was needed for the senior's care—but that does not mean that the elder is the victim of financial elder abuse. What might make it financial elder abuse is if the senior was told she would not receive proper care unless she invested in the drilling venture.

"Financial elder abuse law is not designed to undo unwise investments—it is designed to make it easier to go after people who cheat and steal from elderly people, or who use undue influence to get the senior do something he or she would not do without that undue influence," Brown says. "Undue influence is the use of a confidential relationship or a real or apparent authority for the purpose of gaining unfair advantage."

Furthermore, it is not financial elder abuse simply because the senior changes his or her mind about a decision. Again, there has to be some form of improper influence or cheating on the part of the person who convinces the senior to do something that is not in his best interest.

It is also important to remember that just because someone else does not like the senior's financial decisions does not mean that the senior has been victimized. For example, in some cases one child might be upset about money or property given to another child—but that alone is not proof that elder abuse has occurred.

"Elderly people, if they are being cared for by one child, tend to want to reward that child for the care," Brown says. "There is nothing wrong with that unless it comes with the demand, 'I won't care for you as much if you do not give something to me.' It is proper to want to give property to one child who cared for the senior. You have to find undue influence—it is not just elder abuse because of favoritism.

"There has to be wrongdoing. Usually, the idea is that someone ends up with an elderly person's money by one of several means, either by cheating or, assuming that there is no dementia on the part of the senior, prevailing upon the senior for one reason or another to give up something that they would not have given up."

When financial elder abuse does occur—where the senior has been prevailed upon to give up money or property that she would not have given up in response to improper pressure or undue influence—the law can step in and help the senior to recover his or her losses. The law also provides for attorney's fees in cases of financial elder abuse, so that the senior does not lose money fighting a court battle. However, before a lawsuit can begin, it is important to contact a lawyer to discuss the senior's legal options.


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Determining the Mental capacity of a Decedant

January 7, 2009.

Forensic psychologists and neuropsychologists regularly give expert opinions about a person’s mental capacity in the criminal, family law and civil courts. The evaluative process involves clinical interviews, psychological/neuropsychological testing, review of the records and interviews with individuals who have personal knowledge of the defendant’s behavior and cognition.

However, when the case calls for an opinion regarding the mental capacity of a deceased person, the forensic psychologist/neuropsychologist cannot administer psychological tests or conduct a clinical interview. Consequently, the expert retained on a contested Will or Trust matter has to assemble information that yields a true picture of the pre-morbid personality and cognitive function of the decedent.

In this case, the forensic psychologist must take on an investigative role with individuals and family members. Information is gathered about the decedent’s cognitive, behavioral and decision-making behavior just prior to death, in the recent and distant past. Materials reviewed can include depositions as well as clinical, financial and medical records. Not surprisingly, nurse’s note can often contain very valuable information relating to a person’s emotional and mental states.

These sources may reveal whether a caretaker or significant other was involved in the daily decision making, health management or general care of the decedent. This information assists the expert in determining whether the caretaker or significant other unduly influenced the decedent when writing the Will and/or Trust, signing signature cards at a financial institution or requesting specific medical care such as Advanced Directives.

Comparing historical information with recent findings can yield a detailed picture of similarities and discrepancies in the decedent’s mental capacity over time. It can illuminate changes in habits, psychological and physical well-being, friendships, belief systems, self care and financial management. Noting the variation in these factors on a time line gives the forensic psychologist/neuropsychologist a method to determine if and when changes occurred in the decedent’s lifestyle and if any specific factors or people unduly influenced the decedent. These findings assist the attorney and/or the court in determining whether the decedent had sufficient understanding of the contents and consequences of the will, trust, contract or other signed document.

By Dr. Joyce Vesper Ph.D.

For any questions concerning competency or to enlist the services of experts in any field, please contact Atrium Psychological Group at (866) 446-0991 or on the web at

Atrium Psychological Group
11500 Olympic Blvd, Suite 580
Los Angeles, CA 99064
(866) 446-0991
(310) 464-1165

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You Never Suspect Your Siblings of Financial Elder Abuse

January 4, 2009. By Heidi Turner , PT. 1

Oceanside, CA: Paula believes her parents were the victims of financial elder abuse at the hands of her 2 sisters. Although she suspected financial abuse a couple of years ago, it wasn't until her parents moved in with her that Paula learned how deep the financial abuse ran. As a result of her parents' situation, Paula now knows more about financial elder abuse law than she ever thought possible—all thanks to the actions of her sisters.

Paula's father turned 96 on December 31, 2008 and her mother turned 85. The situation actually began about 5 years ago, when Paula's younger sister became pregnant with her second child. The sister and her parents came to an agreement that they would lend her $64,000 as a down payment on a house but the father would be listed on the deed and share equity in the house. Furthermore, both parents would live with Paula's sister in Virginia.

That happened for while, but in 2005, Paula's father became ill and Paula, who lives in California, started flying out regularly to see her parents. At one point, Paula, her parents and her sister had a meeting with an attorney to discuss legal and financial matters. Paula says she had an uneasy feeling from that meeting and alerted the attorney to her concerns, however there was little he could do about it.

Paula says she was worried because it seemed that her sisters (there are 2 sisters, one older than Paula and the other younger) were too eager to get their hands on their parents' money. Paula's father asked Paula about having Power of Attorney, but Paula said at the time that she was uncomfortable doing so because she lived so far away and did not want to be doling out money when she didn't know what the money was for. So, Paula's father went to Paula's sisters for Power of Attorney.

Paula became more concerned about things when she noticed that her younger sister, with whom her parents were living, was not taking care of their parents. Their bathroom was never cleaned, they were not receiving important medical attention (including a cancerous growth on Paula's father's head) and the parents were frequently left home alone, sometimes to care for their young grandchildren.

"On one of my visits, my older sister [who lived in Connecticut but made sure she was in Virginia whenever Paula was] was heading out," Paula says. "I asked her to pick up a newspaper for my father and she said he could read an old one. I told her that he shouldn't have to read an old paper and I would pay the quarter for today's paper but she wouldn't get him one. I thought she was cheap, but later, when I told a social worker about it, the social worker told me it was because my sister didn't want him to know what day it was. She even made it so that it was never convenient for him to watch television—any time he wanted to, she came up with something else for him to do."

PT. 2
Oceanside, CA: Paula explains further about financial elder abuse as a continuation from part 1. She says the last straw was when she phoned her parents and learned that her younger sister had not been around for a week. Paula learned that she had gone on vacation and left her parents home alone, without telling them where she had gone or when she would be back. Paula's mother said they were ready to move in with Paula, so Paula set about bringing them to California to live with her.

"My father kept asking for a financial accounting of his money but my older sister refused to give it to him," Paula says. "He asked me about the $64,000 he had in the house, but my sister wouldn't produce the records for the house. When she did, my father's name wasn't on it. She said he signed the house over to her but couldn't produce the papers to prove it. I contacted the lawyer, but found out that my sister had fired the attorney without ever telling my father.

"My father expected to be paid back that $64,000 and I found out that he loaned my older sister $30,000 that he expected to be paid back. I put in change of address forms for my fathers accounts and finally was able to receive some information [Paula's sister wouldn't let her take any paperwork from the home]."

Through a series of phone calls and dealings with banks, Paula learned that her sister had written checks to herself from her father's account and even moved his stocks from one company to another so that she could write more checks to herself. Paula also learned that her sister canceled their father's trust and will and had a letter sent to their father's financial institution having him declared financially incompetent—leading the financial institution to freeze his accounts. By the time Paula got the account unfrozen, thanks to a lot of letters and the intervention of a lawyer, the account had lost $40,000 in value.

Paula's parents decided to set up a new trust, in which all 4 children received equal amounts after both parents had died. Paula's sister phoned the lawyer, threatening to have her disbarred, harassed Paula and showed up unannounced at Paula's house.

It wasn't until Paula spoke with a social worker that she learned that what was going on was considered financial elder abuse. She learned that, in total, close to $300,000 had been taken from her parents, including charges for food in Connecticut when her parents were never in that state, charges for presents for her parents and other needless charges. Paula says there may even be other accounts her sisters are stealing from but she does not have the account numbers so she can't find out for sure.

Paula knows for sure that her older sister sold their parents' car, worth $9,700, even though her name was not on the car and it was illegal for her to do so, and her sister liquidated $21,500 from one of their father's stocks but did not report it on his income tax. Now, the IRS wants $3,000 for that transaction, and although they have agreed to put the account on hold for now, Paula knows they will want the money eventually. She also knows that thousands of dollars from her mother's Wachovia account were written to cash, but that money was not used to help her parents at all.

"Just this week, a social worker came out because my sister keeps calling them and sending them out," Paula says. "The social worker said, 'This isn't going to end. She won't let go. She is threatening to sue you and take your house. You need to get an attorney.'

"You never expect your siblings to do this. I'm kind of in shock, a little bit angry, that she can't let it go. The whole thing is, she was neglecting my father. She left him alone for 2 weeks, I know what she wanted to happen."

Obama Appoints "Pro-Death - Right-to-Die" Attorney

Obama Makes Lawyer for Terri Schiavo's Husband Third-Ranking
Justice Official

Washington, DC -- Barack Obama has named the lawyer who
represented Terri Schiavos husband Michael in his efforts to kill
his disabled wife as the third highest attorney in the Justice
Department. Thomas Perrelli, who won an award for representing
Schiavo's former husband, had severed on Obama's transition team.

Click on title above for Full story or go here;
http://www.LifeNews .com/bio2685. html

Friday, January 2, 2009

Art Imitating Life or "How to Live While Dying"

Art Buchenwald shows us how to live while dying;

Duragesic Patches Recalled due to Risk of Overdose

Who on hospice dont use these?

Possible Tears in the Patches Pose Serious Health Threat
Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary PriCara, in conjunction with the FDA, has issued an immediate recall of 2 lots of Duragesic pain patches, because of possible tears in drug reservoir in the patch.

Direct exposure to fentanyl gel, the opioid pain medication in the patch, may lead to serious adverse events, including respiratory depression and possible overdose, which may be fatal.

The Duragesic patches, also called the Fentanyl Transdermal System, involved in the recall are the PriCara 50 mcg/hr patches under the lot number 0817239, and the Sandoz Inc 50 mcg/hr patches under the lot number 0816851.

This is the 5th recall of the duragesic transdermal pain patches since 1994. As was the case with an earlier recall in February 2008, Alza Corp is the company that manufactured these latest defective fentanyl pain patches.

JAN-02-09: Johnson & Johnson's Subsidiary Recalls Pain Patch Duragesic [RTT NEWS: DURAGESIC PAIN PATCH RECALL]