Friday, May 13, 2016

Why we need an ombudsman.

I want to take the time to explain something to the public, due to comments I have received because of a comment left by one of the volunteers.

When a person in Michigan gets their rights and freedom taken away from them, via Judicial due process, and they get sent to Jail, they have an Ombudsman to represent them in disputes with government officials.

At the Veterans Home, when a State Guardian is imposed on a veteran, usually after a different form of judicial due process, there is NO ONE to represent the veteran in disputes with government officials or the guardian. The Veteran becomes a virtual prisoner to the will of the guardian.

2 cases here, clearly show the reason we need an Ombudsman for the Veterans.

Case 1, Ron Stowitts. He and his wife Cathy are active on the face book page. Let me tell you about Ron's case.  Ron would come down to the pavilion in his wheel chair, and sit there quietly reading a book, having a smoke. Rons family has a medical history of a condition that can be treated with drugs, but Ron was NOT showing any signs of having this condition. Yet the home insisted he take a drug he did not need, as a preventative action. The drug made Ron feel weird and out of touch, so he quit taking them and then refused to do so. The home got upset and tried to impose a guardian on Ron so they could force him to take the unneeded medication. Tears came to his eyes as Ron told me the home had tried to get his wife Cathy to sign off on getting him a guardian against his will. He told me twice he had to go to mental competency hearings where he had to prove to an administrative judge that he was fully capable of making his own health care decisions. Both times Ron came out the winner. It upset him that the home was trying to take away his freedom and force him to take a drug he did not need. And we should all question why did the home try to force Ron to take an expensive drug that he did not need?

Soon after, due to an accident, Ron managed to "escape" the nightmare of the home, and is now living free and doing better from what I hear.

The next case was not so lucky. The home killed my friend Richard Ware by forcing him to take Depakote when he did not need it, and had proven he did not need it.  Richard stop taking the drug without informing his care givers. He would spit the pill out after he made them think he took it. This went on for a period of time, 3 to 6 months. The staff said he was improving greatly at the time. They had no clue he had stopped taking the drug  - one that he did NOT need.  Well, a trip to the local hospital for tummy flu or something and the blood work showed he was NOT taking his drug. The caregivers at the home found out and they Forced him to take it,  and threatened to take away his power scooter if he refused.  That too is wrong.

In other words they were abusing Richard by threatening to take his personal own property from him, if he refused to obey them. THIS was not right.  But Richard had no choice. He was property, owned by Cynthia Thornberry, the state imposed guardian (at the request of Richards counselor Karen Fugi.)
He died less than 45 days after being forced to take the drug he did not need.  A drug prescribed by a doctor who I am told, at the time did not even have a proper state license to prescribe such drugs.

In both cases, the Veteran had no one to assist them. No one to speak for them, No one to help them.

Changing the administration is NOT the solution. Changing the administration may lead to some improvements but it is just part of the over all solution to providing the care these veterans deserve.

Only by giving these veterans a voice, will things change the way they need to. And that change must be made to happen via an ombudsman.


  1. Without violating HIPPA Privacy, in regards to a member you say was "drugged " and killed. I believe that is a little harsh, and that you aren't aware of the complete situation, or of the behavior of the member . It was both a danger to him , the others living on the unit and the staff. Yes, I was a LPN, on the Unit, and no, I would never "force" a member to take his meds. We were to ask 3 different times ( as we are all members that refuse, he wasn't the only one) if he wanted to take his medication. If he refused, we recorded as such. This is at least the second or third time you have written that the "Home" killed him, and I really think you need to have the complete facts on all sides before you make such a terrible accusation. I do agree that an Ombudsman is needed. But, I don't agree that everyone thinks they are in a prison. There are a lot of staff that go out of their way on a daily basis to make a members day a bit brighter, and before I retired I was one of them.. The "Home" isn't like it was 10-20 years ago, that's for sure. But, there are still some great people working there , giving it their all to make a difference in the lives of the men and women who served Our Country!

    1. Saying killed, is NOT being harsh, it is facing the reality of that case. And yes, Drugged up is the best way to describe the ZOMBIE state many of those guys are in.

      And while you the nurse would not force a vet to take meds, the guardians did. Force does not have to be physical, it can be mental it can be abuse of the veteran. I clearly spelled it out in Richards case. They did take away his scooter on several occasions, something I consider to be stealing, aka THEFT.

      No, not everyone thinks its a prison, but under Sara Dunne it got that way.

      And yes, there are some very good people that work at the home - but they are not the ones messing up, and thus not the subject or focus of the reported problems, are they?

    2. Sally, I have never heard such garbage in my life. Yes, Richard was killed. Whatever you are trying to say about giving the veteran 3 options or choices is not true. Richard did NOT want to take this drug. He did not want to feel like a zombie. When he was off the drug, he was praised for being a "good boy", where nurses like you told him that the drug was working for him. How dare you say to the contrary. Richard was KILLED. If you don't like the term, you don't like reality.

    3. Sally Platt, you mention his behavior was "a danger to him, to others living on the unit, and to staff." Did he perhaps try to sneak a cigarette while sitting on the toilet in the bathroom? Was that the "Crime" for which he was drugged to death?

      For any Vets that smoke and who want some ammunition to fight for the same rights that the Geneva Conventions guarantee Prisoners of War, I'd recommend downloading, printing out, and sharing my "Lies Behind The Smoking Bans" (it's free!) from

      When you see how the facts have been twisted in order to bring these things about you'll get angry. Maybe angry enough to really fight and bring about some change.

      I was just reading about how some Vets at the GR Veterans Home are forced to wait endlessly for staff help just to go to the bathroom in their building. I can imagine how much they must be forced to wait in the middle of January if they want help navigating through the ice and snow to the unpleasant looking smokers' ghetto in an an outdoor tent.

      If anyone reading this knows whether such drugs are administered when a veteran starts objecting to that situation or instead tries to "sneak" a smoke in a bathroom, I'd like to know about it. My main focus is on smoking bans, not Veterans, but ANY person who is old, disabled, or otherwise required to stay in such assisted housing should NOT be getting forced out into the cold, risking falls and broken hips, simply because they smoke: there is NO sound reason in the world why comfortable and inviting lounge areas could be designated as "smoking allowed." A simple exhaust fan in the window of such a room would be more than enough "protection" for anyone who might otherwise scent a whiff of smoke at some point.

      - MJM, a smoker, though not a Vet. I'll check back for answers, or I can be reached as Michael J. McFadden on

    4. So does anyone know if the "danger" Richard was presenting to everyone was simply smoking? I was hoping Sally Platt might stop back to clarify, but it's been a full month without a response.

      - MJM


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