Old Age Seen as Justification for Forcing Woman onto Hospice

By Terri LaPoint

August 23, 2019

The admission sounded like something out of “Logan’s Run” or other dystopian sci-fi movie, not an explanation one would expect to hear from legal associates. Nancy Scott and others who joined her in a peaceful prayer vigil for her mother’s life on Tuesday, August 20, were stunned when representatives from the court-appointed guardian’s office explained that the reason that retired Alabama schoolteacher Marian Leonard was on hospice was because she was old.

According to Medicare.gov, hospice care is supposed to be for people who are certified by a hospice doctor and the patient’s regular doctor that they are terminally ill with a “life expectancy of 6 months or less.” Hospice care is palliative, or “comfort” care, rather than curative care, and it is supposed to be a choice that the patient makes, not a decision thrust upon them without their consent.

That is not what has happened with Marian Leonard. When the state seized guardianship of Mrs. Leonard in February 2018 at the request of St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Department of Human Resources (DHR), she was forced into a nursing home, Diversicare of Riverchase, and forced onto hospice care, against her will and that of her designated Power of Attorney, her daughter Nancy Scott.

At that time, Marian Leonard pleaded with her daughter to get her out of there, saying she feared that they were going to kill her if she did not get out. Nancy Scott has been fighting ever since to free her mother from state custody. She has hired attorneys and gone to court, but has thus far been unsuccessful.

When Birmingham-area pro-life advocate Phil King saw Mrs. Leonard’s story, he called for a prayer vigil. A handful of supporters brought signs and prayers to the sidewalk in front of court-appointed guardian Sidney Summey’s office in downtown Birmingham Tuesday.

Photo by Sherrie Saunders

They were joined by a small group of people who stated that they worked for Summey’s office. Nancy Scott took the opportunity to explain to them that her mother had never been diagnosed with any kind of terminal illness, and thus should not be on hospice. The only “diagnosis” was a fraudulent statement on a medical report by a convicted felon named Lisa Fuller that Marian had “End Stage Alzheimer?s [sic] Disease.”

See that story here:

Retired Alabama Schoolteacher Forced into Hospice Against Her Will

I told the representatives from Summey’s office that there are medical documents from Emory Hospital in 2016, the year before Mrs. Leonard was taken, which state that she showed no signs of dementia or Alzheimers.

Their response was shocking:

She is OLD.

Nancy Scott attempted to clarify, asking if they were saying that her mother’s old age was a reason to have her on hospice care. They said it was.

“Stealth Euthanasia”

Marian Leonard is now 103 years old. She was 101 when Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King signed the orders for her Living Will and Power of Attorney documents to be set aside, and for her to be placed under the custody of DHR. She has been on hospice care for almost 18 months.

She was not terminally ill when she went into Diversicare. However, Real News Spark has learned through a source who asked to be unnamed that Mrs. Leonard is being given morphine much more frequently than every 6 hours. The source explained that dosage every 6 hours is what is given for pain, but when it is given more frequently than that, it is designed to be “part of the dying process.”

Diversicare at Riverchase in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo by Real News Spark.

Civil rights activist and former Army medic Sherrie Saunders was present for the prayer vigil. She explained during a Facebook Live video that evening that the dosages of morphine that are being given to Mrs. Leonard are actually hastening her death. She called it “murder.”

Author Ron Panzer calls it “stealth euthanasia.” Panzer is a pro-life nurse, whistle-blower, and President of Hospice Patients Alliance. He authored a book called, “Stealth Euthanasia: Health Care Tyranny in America (Hospice, Palliative Care and Health Care Reform).” The book is available online here.

The term certainly seems to fit what is currently happening to Marian Leonard. No one in the Birmingham probate court is calling it euthanasia, but there is little doubt in the minds of her daughter and the advocates fighting for her life that her death is being hastened “under the radar,” with full approval by a judge, guardian, DHR, and hospice.

103. Is that the age where it is considered “too old” to live on one’s own terms? Is that the age that Constitutional and human rights cease to exist?

Civil rights activist Sherrie Saunders stands with Nancy Scott in the struggle for Marian Leonard’s freedom from DHR and state custody. Photo by Sherrie Saunders.

Interview with Witness Sherrie Saunders

Watch the Real News Spark Show with guest Sherrie Saunders as we discuss the shocking admission that “old age” is reason enough to force someone onto hospice, and its implication for the rest of us.

Action Sparks

The following may be contacted on behalf of Marian Leonard:

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey may be reached at 334-242-7100 or contacted at this link. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Alabama Senate Majority Leader Jabo Waggoner represents the district where Marian (Gregory) Leonard is currently being held. He may be reached at 334-261-0892 or contacted here.

Representative David Wheeler is the House representative for that district. He may be reached at 334-261-0439 or contacted here.

Representative Dexter Grimsley represents the Henry County district where Marian Leonard and her family are from. He may be reached at 334-261-0513 or contacted here.

Diversicare of Riverchase
2500 River Haven Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35244
(205) 987-0901

Alabama Department of Human Resources
Adult Protective Services Division
50 North Ripley Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-1350
Adult Abuse Hotline 1-800-458-7214
aps@dhr.alabama.gov

Jefferson County Adult Division of the Alabama Department of Human Resources
(205) 423-4900

Also, a complaint may be filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources for violation of civil rights of an elderly person in a skilled nursing facility.
A complaint may filed online through this link:   https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/smartscreen/main.jsf    
Alternatively, a complaint may be downloaded from the above link, filled in with ink or typed, and mailed, or a letter may be mailed to the following address:

        Office for Civil Rights
        U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
        200 Independence Avenue, SW
        Room 509F, HHH Building
        Washington, D.C. 20201

FOR MORE ON THIS STORY:

Retired Alabama Schoolteacher Forced into Hospice Against Her Will

Retired Schoolteacher Forced onto Hospice Forbidden to Have Visitors – Daughter Worried They Will Starve Her

Daughter of Retired Alabama Schoolteacher: “They’re Killing My Mother”

Journalist Terri LaPoint first reported on this story last year at MedicalKidnap.com:

Alabama Senior Citizen Medically Kidnapped and Forced onto Drugs Against Family Wishes

Other media have picked up on the story:

Woman held in hospice facility against her will

‘If you don’t get me out of here, they’re going to kill me’: Elderly woman detained by hospice

Former Wiregrass teacher forced into hospice care; daughter fights for custody

11 thoughts on “Old Age Seen as Justification for Forcing Woman onto Hospice

  1. Fourteen years ago my mother died in the hospital in the hands of incompetent nursing staff. I knew they were incompetent due to 12 years of my own nursing experience eight of which were working with said nurses. The hospital covered up their incompetence to the point of removing records from her chart. After her death two different lawyers told me they could not take the malpractice case, under six or over sixty your life has no worth to insurance or legal system.

    Like

  2. I am so sorry I didn’t know about the vigil Tuesday. I have been following this story since the beginning. I and some of my friends would have came in support of Mrs. Leonard.I did write Governor Ivy about it with no response.I had a similar situation with Judge King and Sydney Sumney myself.It was the worst nightmare I have been through in my life.Please call on me if you need to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your concern…..call me sometime when it’s convenient if you don’t mind. You can reach me at [number edited out, but forwarded to Carol]—any time between 8 a.m. most days until about 9 pm…..I’m not much good after 9 p.m. because I like to go to bed early if at all possible. Thank you!! (Nancy Scott)

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    1. Keith Newmeyer,
      Get what? I don’t see anything else, except I see your previous comment where you made all the phone calls. Thank you.
      I pray things change for families everywhere. What is happening with our children, disabled, and seniors is awful. It has to stop.

      Like

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