Archive for the ‘Washington State’ Category

Editorial: Assisted Suicide Make it Easier to Cover up Elder Abuse, Even Murder

December 9, 2012

Re: Assisted Suicide and Elder Abuse

This letter responds to your recent AP article about assisted-suicide (Associated Press, Nov. 16). I write to emphasize elder financial abuse as a reason to keep assisted suicide out of Montana.

The landmark 2009 report by MetLife Mature Market Institute describes elder financial abuse as a crime “growing in intensity.” (See, p.16.) The perpetrators are often family members, some of whom feel themselves “entitled” to the elder’s assets (Id, pp. 13-14.) The report states that they start out with small crimes, such as stealing jewelry and blank checks, before moving on to larger items or coercing elders to sign over the deeds to their homes, change their wills or liquidate their assets (Id, p. 14.) The report states that victims “may even be murdered” by perpetrators (Id., p. 24.)

With legal assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington state, perpetrators are instead able to take a “legal” route by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration. The elder could be cajoled or coerced into taking the lethal dose, for example, while under the influence of alcohol. The lethal dose could be administered while the elder slept. If he awoke and struggled, who would know?

Alex Schadenberg,
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition,
London, Ontario, Canada

Assisted Suicide Make it Easier to Cover up Elder Abuse, Even Murder

Washington State Guardian Accused of Stealing From Elderly Clients

October 27, 2012

A 61-year-old Sedro-Woolley woman pleaded not guilty to charges accusing her of stealing money from at least two of her legal guardianship clients.

Sharon Nielson is accused of more than $370,000 of suspicious financial activity in her handling of two clients’ bank accounts between 2009 and 2011, according to police reports. She is charged with four counts of first-degree theft and one count of money laundering.

Nielson was the legal guardian of an 88-year-old Anacortes woman and a 77-year-old Sedro-Woolley man, both of whom lived in nursing homes, court documents say.

An audit of the woman’s finances after Nielson was removed as her guardian revealed more than $92,000 of unauthorized expenses from the woman’s estate, including payments to casinos and writing checks for cash to herself and her business.

She is also accused of writing checks for thousands of dollars to herself from the Sedro-Woolley man’s account.

Nielson appears to have used multiple accounts to conduct payments on behalf of her clients, making it hard to determine which transactions were on behalf of her clients, payments for her services and for her personal use, the affidavit said.

Full Article and Source:
Guardian Accused of Stealing From Elderly Clients

See Also:
In the Matter of Sharon Nielson, CPG: #10082
In the Court of Appeals in the State of Washington

Lawless America: Murphy McCoy

September 15, 2012

92-Year-Old Murphy McCoy expresses anger over Elder and Guardianship Abuse to Bill Windsor of Lawless America while in Spokane, Washington.

This is uneditied film. Mr. McCoy is hard of hearing, and he has problems with short-term memory, but he is extremely fit physically and is extremely inteligent.

YouTube: 92-Year-Old Murphy McCoy Expresses Anger Over Elder & Guardianship Abuse

Lawless America

Woman Accused of Bilking More Than $1 Mil From Elderly Seattlelite

July 15, 2012

A Lynnwood woman was charged Monday with nearly 50 counts of first degree theft for allegedly bilking an elderly woman out of more than $1 million.

Brenda Nicholas, 46, is accused of manipulating an 85-year-old Seattle woman out of $1,088,500 in cash during a nearly two year period, according to court documents.

Police say Nicholas met the victim at a Chinatown street fair in 2007. Using the name Monica Marks, Nicholas was working the fair as a palm reader. The victim, who police say was feeling alone and depressed, agreed to pay Nicholas for a palm reading. Nicholas allegedly told the woman “she had a gray aura about her” and needed help to make her feel better and get her life straightened out.

Nicholas convinced the victim she could help, but at a steep price, according to court documents.

Soon after their initial meeting, Nicholas brought the victim what she called a “special soap” made by a man named Father Thomas that would wash away her gray aura. The documents say Nicholas convinced the victim that Father Thomas could see the past, present and future and could cure her ills.

By September 2007, the victim told police that Nicholas was visiting every few days, and each time she visited she would give the victim an unknown pill meant to make her feel better. The victim said the pills made her feel like she was in “a fog.”

Full Article and Source:
Woman Accused of Bilking More than $1 Mil From Elderly Seattleite

$900K Settlement for Death at Washington State Adult-Family Home

June 17, 2012

For 22 days, caregivers at a Kirkland adult-family home guarded a secret.

An elderly woman at Houghton Lakeview suffered from pressure sores that had burrowed to the bone. No one called her family. No one alerted a doctor.

The state of Washington harbored a secret, too.

Investigators had cited Houghton Lakeview 33 times for inadequate care and substandard conditions. Two caregivers were convicted felons, barred from such work. Two others had forged nursing credentials. The public was never warned — nor were the residents in the home.

By the time the woman was rushed to the emergency room, it was too late. Jean Rudolph, 87, a retired nursing educator who had Alzheimer’s disease, died in 2008 from untreated pressure sores.

The state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the owner’s insurance company agreed to a $900,000 settlement this week with the Rudolph family.

This rare settlement reveals a state regulatory system torn between dual roles: booster of the industry as a way to control costs, as well as enforcer of its failings. With rising numbers of low-income seniors in need of long-term care, Washington and dozens of states are banking on these residential facilities as alternatives to more costly nursing homes.

The risk to the public, says attorney Tony Shapiro, who represented the Rudolph family, occurs when state agencies like DSHS form a “bunker mentality” and excuse violators to preserve existing adult homes.

Full Article and Source:
$900,000 for Death at Kirkland Adult-Family Home

WA: Volunteers Keep Watch Over Court-Appointed Guardians

June 6, 2012

Robert Bibb retired from the Snohomish Superior Court bench two decades ago, but he keeps coming back to the courthouse.

Since 2000, Bibb, 89, has volunteered to monitor guardians appointed to oversee legal and financial matters for people who are too sick, frail or confused to handle their affairs alone.

Bibb and about 12 other volunteers review reports, including determining whether guardians are providing an accounting of how money is being spent to support their wards.

The volunteers also field a lot of questions by guardians, often family members, who have taken on the responsibility of caring for a loved one’s financial and legal matters.

“We basically police guardianships,” Bibb said. “We make sure reports required by law are filed when they’re supposed to and the proper forms are filled out. We also look over the reports for any suspicious things that might be detected by reviewing them.”

The county’s Guardianship Monitoring Program grew out of a long-standing national effort by the AARP to provide oversight to guardianships, often involving the elderly.

The organization provided a $5,000 grant in 2000 to kick start the program in Snohomish County.

Full Article and Source:
Volunteers Keep Watch Over Court-Appointed Guardians

Retired Superior Court Judge Censured by State Board

May 15, 2012

Clark County Superior Court Judge Edwin Poyfair, who retired this week, was censured by a state judicial board — a discipline that the judge says forced him to leave office early.

In a statement outlining the sanction, the Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct said Poyfair, 68, violated judicial canons in his handling of two parental custody cases last year. The sanction, which is the strictest punishment short of seeking suspension or removal of a judge, was imposed at a public meeting Friday.

Poyfair, who left office April 30 and has moved to Arizona, did not attend the hearing. He was aware of the board’s investigation for the past year and a half.

He said he initially agreed with the judicial board’s charges but then notified board members last month that he was retracting his stipulation because of his retirement. He said the board went ahead with the discipline, anyway.

Another Superior Court judge, John Wulle, is currently charged with conduct violations relating to his courtroom demeanor in four hearings. He has a hearing June 18 before the commission to determine whether he should be disciplined.

Full Article and Source:
Retired Superior Court Judge Censured by State Board

YouTube: Jonell Grace Exposes Predator Attorneys

March 25, 2012

Jonell seeks legal assistance to restore what has been taken from her and to stop these atrocities from happening to others.

Jonell Grace Exposes Predatory Attorneys, Part 1 of 2

Jonell Grace Exposes Predator Attorneys, Part 2 of 2

Editorial: Legal Assisted Suicide is a Recipe for Abuse

February 28, 2012

Editor, the Tribune: I am an attorney in Washington state, where assisted suicide is legal. I am also president of Choice is an Illusion, a not-for-profit corporation opposed to assisted suicide.

I disagree with Sandy Davidson (“Missourians should have a right to die”) that assisted suicide laws should be enacted in Missouri. Washington’s assisted suicide law is similar to a law in Oregon. These laws are promoted as providing patient choice. They are instead a recipe for elder abuse.

Under both the Oregon and Washington laws, an heir, who will financially benefit from the patient’s death, is allowed to actively help the patient sign up for the lethal dose. An heir can even talk for the patient during the lethal dose request process. This situation invites patient coercion, not patient choice.

More important, once the lethal dose is issued, there is no oversight, not even a required witness at the death. This creates the opportunity for someone who will benefit from the death to administer the dose without consent.

For more information about problems with legal assisted suicide, please visit

~Margaret Dore

Families Protect Loved Ones in Old Age

February 22, 2012

Your aging mother can no longer drive and forgets to turn off the stove. It’s no longer safe for her to live on her own, but taking her into your home simply isn’t realistic.

For the many Americans who find themselves in the described situation, nursing homes provide the best option for elder care. Forty-three percent of Americans over the age of 65 will spend part of their life in a nursing home, according to the The United States Government Accountability Office. As the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that, by 2050, the population of Americans aged 65 and older will reach 89 million, it’s safe to assume that the demand for high-quality elder care will only increase.

Unfortunately, many nursing homes and adult family homes are overburdened, leading to a lower quality of care. Cases of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes often pop up in the media.

In Tacoma, Wash., adult family home resident Nadra McSherry died in pain when her caretakers did not tell her family, doctor or nurse that McSherry had developed an infected bedsore. Bedsores are often a sign that a facility does not have enough staff to meet the number of patients, as preventing them involves moving patients every few hours, something that overwhelmed caretakers may struggle to accomplish.

McSherry’s family sued the adult family home, Narrows View Manor, as well as the Department of Social and Health Services, which allowed the home to remain open despite numerous past health violations.

“Stories like Nadra McSherry are all too familiar,” says Hagens Berman’s Tony Shapiro, the lead attorney. “It’s up to the families to take action and protect their mom or dad.”

Full Article and Source:
Families Protect Loved Ones in Old Age

See Also: