One would think Guardianships are for people who do not have family, friends or loved ones who want and are willing to take care of them. The need for Guardians are needed when you have elderly or disabled people who are alone or are being taken advantage of by their loved ones. In today’s society this is not the case. In today’s society hospitals, institutions that are supposedly there to protect health and heal, can and do file for guardianship of ill, elderly and disabled patients for no other reason that to get them out of their hospital, in some instances regardless of the patients overall medical status.
Currently there is not a law that prevents hospitals from seeking guardianship as a means to override a patients rights to dispute discharge or treatment decisions. While there are specific instances where taking guardianship of a patient is not only advisable but is absolutely necessary when life is threatened, such as in the case of minors who need a life saving treatment but the parents refuse to allow it due to personal values or religious beliefs; however even those instances should be few and far between.
Instances like those that have happened to our family the last few weeks, where a parent, family member who holds a legally executed power of attorney and stands ‘in loco parentis’ for an incapacitated family member can have their powers summarily and arbitrarily suspended or terminated because they disagree with a hospitals decision not to treat a condition because a doctor perceives the patient has no quality of life because they suffer from a brain injury and feels the person “would not want to live that way” should never happen! Quality of life is something that cannot possibly be known or measured with the limited and superficial contact that occurs in a hospital setting and is something best left to the patient and those closest to them.
To have strangers come in and forcibly tear you from your loved ones, to abduct your person, because that is exactly what this is – an abduction – is terrifying for a person with a brain injury and other such patients. It is terrifying for an incapacitated person who has relied heavily on and whose life, happiness and well-being has depended on a family member that it is so inextricably intertwined it is impossible to separate one existence from the other without creating great psychological and emotional harm and trauma.
I can say this because I have had to watch my sister whimper and cry out in fear since guardianship of her was awarded to Inova Fairfax Hospital appointed guardians. I have had to watch the expression of fear on her face while being told lawyers would now be her guardians and that I no longer had control over where she lived, who would be caring for her, what medications she could or could not be given, or treatments she would or would receive. I did not and could not tell her these same two lawyers also had the authority to place her in clinical trials, and had the authority to dispose of her remains how they saw fit.
When Inova Fairfax Hospital appointed guardians removed her from the hospital without notifying a single family member I had to watch the expression on sadness and bewilderment at seemingly having been abandoned when I walked in six hours later because it took our Virgnia State Delegate making calls to locate her because Inova had ordered their nursing staff to not give me any health information, just as they chosen to ignore my power of attorney before we went to court.
I have had to watch her being over medicated and suffering while her guardians were missing in action because they signed papers to have her sent to a substandard nursing facility and then went out of town for several days. I have had to physically clamp off my sisters feeding tube to prevent her from being given three sedating medications directly after giving her morphine because a nurse said she could not give my sister her regular medications when she would normally get them because their “protocol” only allowed them to give her medication at 9:00am, 1:00pm, and 5:00pm. Which means she was receiving a massive dose of 600mg of Neurontin, 2mg of Klonopin, and 10mg of Ambien on top of morphine in an 8 hour period! Now maybe it’s just me, but you do not administer those medications, at those doses to a 5’2” 108lb female unless you are trying to put her into a coma or kill her.
If you find this egregious as we and supporters do STAND with our family and sign our petition to Our elected officials to not only stop Inova Fairfax Hospital from killing or intentionally putting our sister in danger and to STEP ASIDE and let Anastasia’s family care for her as they always have done; but to have legislation put in place to prevent this from every happening to anyone else’s child or loved one every again!!