Fred Edward Ayers III is not another statistic. He was a Veteran.
This past summer, Fred Edward Ayers III, an Army veteran, was admitted to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Suffering from dementia, his children had no choice but to place him there. With a brand new $300 wardrobe, Fred had settled in at the Home.
The first thing the doctors did for Fred was stop all medicine he currently was on. In place of these meds, they started him on other psychiatric meds. One of the drugs was Depakote. With all that I have heard about this drug, I think it needs to be renamed the killer drug, not to mention the drug of choice for most veterans at the Home. Anyways. Back to Fred. The change in Fred was very obvious. He had trouble sleeping so they gave him shots of Ativan. One morning, his family found him crawling on the floor, hallucinating and not able to recognize his loved ones. The family went to the medical staff, begging them to stop these injections. When they talked with the doctor who prescribed this, they discovered that he had never seen Fred. HOW DOES A DOCTOR LICENSED IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN PRESCRIBE DRUGS TO A MAN THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN?
It gets worse. Despite the begging of Fred's loved ones, the Ativan injections continued. The Home now realizes they might have goofed and they send Fred to the VA Hospital in Battle Creek. When he arrived at the Battle Crek facility, a concerned and compassionate doctor asked one of Fred’s daughters, “What happened to this man?“ He was very upset, raising his voice to one of Fred’s daughters. It was clear to this doctor that something was very wrong. I have to wonder if he knew that what happened to Fred, happened under the care and auspices of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.
Once in Battle Creek, he was strapped to a bed, for days, in the Psychiatric Unit, where things didn't get better. Some doctor down in Battle Creek thought it might be a good idea to place Fred on his original medications in an attempt to level him out. A great idea but it came too late. Fred now developed Head Drop Syndrome. He had to wear a neck brace to eat. He lost all abilities. You need to know that prior to being given the shots of Ativan, Fred was able eat, drink, play his harmonica, use the bathroom, throw a football, recognize his loved ones and carry on a conversation. All that was wrong with Fred when he was admitted to the Home was dementia. THATS IT.
With the loss of all his abilities, breathing became an issue. Fred no longer was able to tolerate emergency care. He was eating and drinking less and less. The last week or so of his life, the family was confronted by hospital and hospice staff and a DNR Order (Do Not Resuscitate) was wrote up. Fred gave the ultimate sacrifice on December 11, 2014.
You would think at this point that the suffereing would be over for Fred’s family. Several times that the family visited their father when he was at the Home, Fred was wearing clown like clothes that were not his. The Home had lost the wardrobe that his children had bought for him. When his family attempted to recover Fred’s belongings, they had all magically disappeared. I am told it was a circus when Fred’s family wanted to retrieve his personal items. The Home said they were lost. I don’t thinkso. I believe they were stolen. Don’t you? We won’t even discuss the side effects of dressing a man who already has a mental health issue in clothes that aren’t his OR making him look like a clown in the process. It makes me wonder WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!!
This writer did a little research on Ativan. Not knowing what other drugs the doctors at the Home had him on, my research was limited. Ativan affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety. It is used to treat anxiety disorders. It is in the benzodiazephine family. My research showed that this family of drugs can cause a higher risk of dementia in the elderly. Further research on the interaction between Ativan and Depakote informs me that it should be generally avoided. NOW, if I find this out after a short research, what is wrong with the doctors at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans? Of course, we must remember that the doctors never physically visited Fred. I do know this. Any patient who is seen crawling on the floor, hallucinating and not able to recognize his loved ones should NOT be given thess drugs. WOULDN'T‘T YOU AGREE?
Fred’s children are consumed with guilt. They admitted their much loved father to an institution that resulted in a very premature death. In my opinion, a wrongful death. Prior to his admission, Fred’s family thought the Home was a place where their veteran father would be cared for and treated for the issues they faced. By the sounds of this family, they treated this veteran with demential with drugs that killed him. If I remember correctly, there have been other cases where the Home’s versioin of drug therapy has resulted in the death of a veteran. WHEN IS THIS GOING TO STOP?
Fred was born January 16, 1954 and died December 11, 2014. The look of fear in his eyes the last few days of his life is haunting his children. It haunts me. Fred is now with many other veterans the Home has had a part in the termination of their life. I know. Tough words. WHEN will I be able to report that the Home has saved a life and enhanced the life of our much loved veterans.
Rest in peace Fred. Your fears are now subsided as you stand with other veterans with the loving arms of our precious savior around you. The suffering and torture you were forced to endure at the hands of the incapable medical staff at the Grand Rapids Home for Vetreans will be rewarded with love and tenderness from our Heavenly Father.
After writing this article, I would like to take the opportunity to make some comments. I was told that the doctor that admitted Fred to the Battle Creek VA Medical Facility was appalled by what he was seeing in Fred. He went so far as to yell at one of Fred’s daughters, “What happened to this man?” It makes me wonder. Did this doctor follow up on any of this? Did he make contact with the Home to find out exactly what happened to Fred? What scares the hell out of me is how much more of this is going on that I don‘t know about. How many veterans are transferred to Battle Creek or Ann Arbor showing signs of malpractice like Fred was? If this was not followed up on by the Battle Creek facility, it raises the question ... Why the cover up?
This story isn’t over with this article. I have been assured that the names of doctors and health care workers can be made available to me. I have requested them and I have no problem publishing them and letting the whole world know the poor quality and mistreatment veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans are receiving.
I don’t want Fred’s death to be in vain. Lets make his suffering count for something.
Ed Note added 30 Jan 2015. There have been 410 reads of this post. And not one comment. None here nor on the facebook page. This is why the veterans continue to suffer.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Shame on Michigan.