Most of the stories that we cover at Medical Kidnap involve children who were taken from their families by Child Protective Services. However, medical kidnapping can happen to adults too. We have covered a number of stories of adults being taken by Adult Protective Services and being placed under the legal guardianship of strangers. Philly.com now reports that a woman who has been court-appointed as a guardian in at least 93 cases from 2015 to 2017 has a considerably criminal history of fraud, bad check writing, and forgery. Yet, Gloria Byars was the guardian recommended by the non-profit Philadelphia Corporation for Aging to oversee the lives and estates of many senior citizens in the Philadelphia area. Guardians in many states are not required to undergo background checks, and it is stunningly easy in some places for anyone to become a guardian. It is also stunningly easy for an unscrupulous person to allege that a person is "incapacitated" and in need of a guardian, even if it is not true. As reported by Philly.com: "Nationwide, guardians oversee an estimated 1.3 million adults and $50 billion of their assets, said Brenda Uekert, principal court research consultant at the National Center for State Courts." That means that [the] number of adults under guardianship care is roughly 3 times the number of children in foster care across the United States. According to the AFCARS report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were 437,465 children in foster care in 2016.
Boston is home to one of the first notorious cases of medical kidnapping that garnered widespread public attention, that of Justina Pelletier, seized by Boston Children's Hospital and Child Protective Services, and confined against her will and the will of her family in a psych ward. It appears that the Boston area is a hub for medical kidnappings of adults as well as children. In at least 4 cases that we know of in the Boston, Massachusetts, area, there is a web of common players who are interconnected. Jewish Family and Children's Services is the common denominator for each of these senior citizens who were seized by Adult Protective Services. Instead of foster parents, "guardians" are court-appointed to take control of their lives, assets, and medical decisions, leaving elder adults victims of strangers they have never met, isolated from their family and friends who are the ones that truly care about them. They are accused of having "mental illness" and confined to psych wards against their will. Lonnie Brennan is the editor of a newspaper that has reported their stories, The Boston Broadside. He was recently threatened with arrest for trying to visit one medically kidnapped lady, Mary Frank, who was trying to reach out to him to get her story published. She was confined to a nursing home and psych ward against her will, and denied basic human rights. Her perpetrators did not want her story going public. Lonnie told a local radio talk show host: "Once they have you, you are better off going to the nearest liquor store and saying, 'Hey, I'm robbing you.' Because you'll get better health care and you'll get better freedom if you are in prison. I hate to say it. And you'll have more dignity in prison than you will have - than we have witnessed - in nursing homes."
How the Elderly Lose Their Rights: Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it. In the United States, a million and a half adults are under the care of guardians, either family members or professionals, who control some two hundred and seventy-three billion dollars in assets, according to an auditor for the guardianship fraud program in Palm Beach County. Little is known about the outcome of these arrangements, because states do not keep complete figures on guardianship cases—statutes vary widely—and, in most jurisdictions, the court records are sealed. A Government Accountability report from 2010 said, “We could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, state or local entity, or any other organization that compiles comprehensive information on this issue.” A study published this year by the American Bar Association found that “an unknown number of adults languish under guardianship” when they no longer need it, or never did. The authors wrote that “guardianship is generally “permanent, leaving no way out—‘until death do us part.’ ”
Nate Tseglin was born on November 5, 1989 to Ilya and Riva Tsleglin. The parents, now residents of California, are originally from the former Soviet Union. They have a younger son Robert as well. Nate was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 14. He was first taken away from his parents by the State of California on January 12, 2007 at age 17 when a teacher reported his parents to the Child Protective Services (CPS) because Nate was scratching himself on the arms. His family has been fighting for him to be home, and to be cared for at home, ever since. He is currently being detained by the State of California against his own will, and also the will of his family. Nate is now an adult. He is allegedly being forced to take drugs his family does not approve, and is kept locked up like a prisoner. The Tseglin family would like the public to know their story of medical kidnapping happening in California. They do not believe that having a disability such as Asperger's Syndrome gives the State a right to kidnap their son.
Laredo Regular relates the tragic ending of this World War II Veterans life: "My Grandpa, Julius Corley, officially passed away on Thanksgiving afternoon after being on life support in the prior weeks. He never got to come home." Julius' story began long before Health Impact News was contacted about his plight in the fall of 2015. Julius was a World War II Veteran being held at New York's Montefiore Hospital against his will and those of his legal and medical guardians. Julius had been medically kidnapped by Montefiore when he was transferred from their affiliate, The Laconia Nursing Home, after the family filed a complaint about the conditions there. Laredo laments, "My grandpa never got to come home. He died in pain in the Montefiore main branch. It was painful. We had hopes, but to know that he was in pain like that and passed away is awful. The entire situation played out so awfully."
Jeffrey and Elsie Golin have been fighting against the State of California and California’s San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) for nearly fifteen years to have their daughter returned to them. SARC is a community-based, private nonprofit corporation that is funded by the State of California to serve people with developmental disabilities and works with Stanford University. The Golins are fighting for their autistic daughter Nancy’s right to be able to return home to live with them, and fighting for the right to advocate for their daughter’s best interests. According to their main attorney, Dave Beauvais, there are two main issues that lie at the heart of this ongoing case. The first is the issue of the Golin’s losing all rights to act in their own daughter Nancy’s best interests and the second is the issue of whether a person who is disabled has the same protection under the U.S. Constitution as a non-disabled person does. The two issues the state brought as grounds for removing Nancy from their care were the fact that she wanders away and the fact that the Golins disagreed with the doctors at Stanford University about which medication was best to prevent Nancy’s seizures.
Savannah Garcia, or Hannah, as she is known to those who love her, is a fun-loving young lady who is an important part of her community in Traverse City, Michigan. The 20 year old is a regular fixture at her neighborhood ballpark, where she cheers on her favorite players, and she is well-loved by all who know her. She loves her dog, her family and friends, stuffed animals, frappes, and her fiance. Even though she is autistic, she has been living in an apartment attended by a care team, and has been involved in making many of her own choices. Until September 4, 2015. That was the day that 2 doctors at Munson Medical Center filed a petition to remove Hannah's mother as her guardian and to name a person completely unknown to the family, Stephanie Strehl, as her guardian. She is now a prisoner being held against her will, and the will of her family, at Munson Medical Center. The guardian Stephanie Strehl has forbidden every single one of Hannah's friends to see her. Her family, including her brother and grandparents, aren't allowed to visit her. Her mother has been the only loved one permitted by the new guardian to visit her, for 3 hours per day. At the end of last week, Hannah's sister was granted the privilege of visiting her for up to 1 hour a day. She lives and attends medical school 5 hours round-trip away. Her attorney can see her, IF he notifies them 48 hours in advance, and then he is only allowed 30 minutes. When she goes to the bathroom or takes a shower, she isn't even allowed to shut the door. She isn't permitted to attend meetings where people other than her family are making decisions for her life and future. Therapies that were previously scheduled before her confinement at Munson have allegedly been cancelled, and her caregivers all dismissed. Even the right to receive mail, another right retained by convicted felons, has been taken away from Hannah since around September 21.
Disability advocates are infuriated about a case involving a nonverbal woman with disabilities who they say is being held hostage by Jefferson County in Colorado. "It is truly outrageous," said Julie Reiskin, director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. "I call this torture." County officials have assumed temporary guardianship over 36-year-old Sharisa Kochmeister, a college graduate, and removed her from her home and her father — the only person in Colorado who helps her communicate. They placed her in a nursing home and forbid her family, friends and even her doctor from visiting her, according to people close to the situation. "You take someone who is nonverbal, who is dependent on one person for communicating, and you remove that ... this makes me so mad," said Reiskin. "This is part of not understanding a population. You put them in an institution against their will with a bunch of people who have dementia. This is torture."
We have previously reported that adult medical kidnappings also happen in America. The NY Daily News has published the story of Long Island resident Kam Brock’s eight day confinement and forced injections of powerful sedatives in a Harlem hospital. She recently filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan. The Daily News reports that New York police her prized BMW car in Harlem because they suspected she was high on marijuana. While they allegedly found no marijuana in the vehicle, they confiscated it anyway. When Brock showed up the next day to retrieve her vehicle, her lawsuit claims that the police handcuffed her and had an ambulance transport her to the Harlem hospital as a doctor injected her with a sedative.