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]