Tampa Bay ABC Investigation Uncovers Medical Kidnapping of Seniors Throughout Florida with State Guardianships
The state of Florida, home to many seniors who have retired in that state, has had numerous investigations this year by local media outlets in the state's guardianship program that takes away the civil rights of senior adult patients, allowing them to seize their estates, and in at least one high-profile case, even issue a "do not resuscitate" order without involving the patient's family. Now one local media outlet out of Tampa Bay, ABC Action News WFTS, has conducted a three-month investigation that uncovered numerous examples of hospitals in Orlando, Miami, West Palm Beach, Naples and other Florida cities paying private attorneys to file hundreds of court petitions to put patients into guardianship. An I-Team review of state court records found: Tampa Bay area hospitals, including those owned by Baycare, AdventHealth and HCA, went to court to put more than 100 patients into guardianship since 2017 alone. Tampa General Hospital filed five nearly identical court documents seeking guardianship for patients, describing each as having “disorganized thinking and poor cognition.” A hospital spokeswoman said TGH spent $28,000 on guardianship cases so far in just 2019. An attorney for Florida Hospital Altamonte requested guardianship for a patient because her “Kia Soul that was almost paid off… may be repossessed.” Nationwide, government guardians oversee an estimated 1.3 million adults and $50 billion of their assets.