LifeSite News had a horrific story about an 103-year-old woman with no terminal illness named Marian Leonard who is being held at an Alabama hospice against her will, where her daughter says she’s not being properly fed and a state-appointed “guardian” has authorized doctors to give her powerful antipsychotic drugs despite no history of mental illness.
According to Leonard’s daughter, Nancy Scott, and Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), “the state of Alabama placed Marian in protective custody and appointed a third-party guardian to take over Marian’s care after erroneously believing Nancy moved her mother to home care against a doctor’s recommendation. Ms. Scott says she had the ‘full permission and blessing’ of the doctor to move her mother from a nursing home in Tennessee back to the family’s home town in Alabama.”
Her mother was placed at Diversicare of Riverchase, a hospice facility, without her daughter’s consent or blessing. Scott is now prevented from seeing her mother more than twice a month for 1 1/2 hours per visit – and she’s only able to see her at all because of the work of her local attorney.
According to LLDF, “The last time Nancy (Scott) went to see her mother, Marian pleaded with her to take her home, saying, ‘If you don’t get me out of here, they’re going to kill me.’”
“We are appalled that Alabama’s Department of Human Resources would consign an elderly woman to a facility against her will and then allow her condition to deteriorate so rapidly,” said LLDF executive director Alexandra Snyder. “Life Legal will do whatever is in our power to ensure that Marian Leonard receives the care she needs, including frequent visits from her daughter.”
“Nancy has reported that her mother is not being given sufficient food and that the guardian had authorized Marian to be given antipsychotic drugs, including Haldol, even though Marian has no history of mental illness,” according to LLDF. “When Marian was first placed into the guardian’s custody, she could walk, was energetic, and was able to eat a regular diet. Now, she is bedridden, lethargic, and suffers from bedsores.”
“Bedsores are ulcers that happen on areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, or wearing a cast for a prolonged time,” Johns Hopkins Medicine explains. “If an immobile or bedridden person is not turned, positioned correctly, and given good nutrition and skin care, bedsores can develop.”
The Patient Rights Act, a bill recently introduced by U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, would punish facilities for not exercising “the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of any patient as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to a patient in a different state of functionality, development, or degree of dependence.”
The vulnerable people the Patient Rights Act would protect include the “unborn, newly born, born prematurely, pregnant, elderly, mentally or physically disabled, terminally ill, in a persistent vegetative state, unresponsive or comatose, or otherwise incapable of self-advocacy.”
“The legislation also creates a right of civil action for patients and families to sue if a federally funded health-care group fails to respect a patient’s rights,” Alexandra DeSanctis wrote in a summary of the bill on National Review.