Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, September 28, 2007

Community Post: DA Made Right Move with Elder Death Review Team

Got the following from a reader about the DA and Adult Protective Services (APS) --- Stanley's done good!

I was very pleased and encouraged to note that SB County DA Christie Stanley is going after those who prey upon and abuse elderly victims in our community. A new Elder Death Review Team, comprised of an alliance between the Coroner’s Office, the DA, law enforcement, public health and APS will review all deaths involving elderly and dependent adults. The Coroner’s office will notify APS of a death and APS will determine if the decedent has a history with APS – if so, the Sheriff will be notified. Ms. Stanley’s goals of reducing elder abuse and neglect of dependent adults speak directly to us as our practice is limited to this area. We are heartened to see our DA take such an interest in this most important problem.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stanley's a great D.A.--not afraid to take a stand on issues that past D.A.'s might have scoffed at. She's also taken the initiative on a draft animal cruelty ordinance.

So Sara, how about a post about the armed standoff at Ralphs?

9/28/2007 7:21 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...


Is there an url link to the policy. Dependent is obvious but at what age is one considered "elderly."

9/29/2007 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Denise Platt, R.N., Esq. said...

In California, we have the Elder Abuse Act ("EADACPA"), Welfare & Institutions Code section 15600, et seq. Persons who are covered include both elders, a person residing in CA who is 65 yrs. of age or older and "dependent adults", defined as any person residing in CA between the ages of 16 and 64 who has physical/mental limitations that restrict the ability to carry out normal activites or to protect his/her rights. Further, a dependent adult includes any person between 18-64 yrs. who is admitted to a 24-hr health care facility, including a hospital, a skilled nursing facility, psychiatric facility, chemical dependency unit - any person over 65, any disabled young adult, even a young adult, with no disability whatsoever admitted to an in-patient facility.
The California legislature recognized that elderly and dependent adults are more subject to risks of abuse, neglect and abandonment. The statute seeks to impose enhanced damages including attorney's fees and pain and suffering which survive the death of the victim.

9/29/2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

Thanks for the info

9/29/2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to relate everything back to the News-Press, but look at the top of this story that ran in the paper back in February of 2002:

Edith Carolin Chappell took her last breath just before Christmas 1999.
She had lung cancer, but that isn't what killed her.
The 82-year-old died from complications related to a stomach feeding tube.
For eight days, she lay in bed at Mission Terrace convalescent hospital, crying out "Mama, Mama," and telling nurses the pain of the tube was unbearable.
Her screams and moans forced nurses to move Mrs. Chappell into a private room so she wouldn't disturb the other patients.
She showed the wound around the tube to her daughter, Margie Bolstad. It was swollen and infected. It smelled bad. A coffee-colored liquid seeped from the tube.
Her daughter complained. Nurses gave her mother Vicodin for the pain, an anti-depressant and a sedative to help the ailing woman sleep.
On Dec. 23, Mrs. Chappell was dead.
She had peritonitis and sepsis, an infection of the abdominal cavity with blood poisoning, due to her feeding tube becoming dislodged or repositioned, according to her death certificate.
"That it (the feeding tube) probably wasn't put in correctly has always bothered me," said Mrs. Bolstad. She had hoped the feeding tube would help her mother regain her strength, so she could come back home.
"I miss her every day," she said.
Mrs. Chappell is one of at least five elderly patients who died over the past five years due to complications from feeding tubes, according to a News-Press inspection of almost 15,000 death certificates.
What the inspection revealed goes beyond those cases, or even dozens of other reported medical "accidents" during the past five years in the county.
There is no reliable system to alert law enforcement to possible elder abuse, gross medical mistakes, or even cases of neglect that lead to deaths of elderly patients in nursing homes. So there's no way to tell how many cases there are.
Still, in each of the past five years, the News-Press review found dozens of cases of elderly patients dying of such seemingly preventable conditions as infected bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration and urinary tract infections.
As in Ms. Chappell's case, there is nothing to show that those people died because of neglect or abuse.
The problem is, no one even checked.
"I do believe cases are slipping through the cracks," said Tracy Grossman, a deputy district attorney who prosecutes elder abuse cases. "I think the logic is that an old person is supposed to die, eventually, so their deaths are not looked at as critically as other people's deaths.

10/01/2007 1:24 PM  

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