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Families seek big changes to guardianships

(WCTV)
Published: Jan. 30, 2020 at 4:22 PM EST
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

January 30, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- State lawmakers are about to crack down on guardians after an Orlando guardian allegedly initiated 'Do Not Resuscitate' orders against her patients’ wishes.

People from across Florida whose loved ones are in a guardianship assert major reforms are necessary.

There multiple stories of people who were put into guardianships, isolated from their families and had their assets liquidated.

Their family members came to the capitol to tell their stories.

“There is no due process, so its really open season on families,” said Dr. Teresa Kennedy, whose Aunt Lilly was put in a guardianship.

Dr. Kennedy came from New York to try and free her aunt in Deland.

"A family friend, who said he was a nephew petitioned without any of us knowing, and that started it off,” said Kennedy.

Lynn Sayler came from St. Petersburg.

Her mother was put in a home an hour and a half away.

Her mom died in 2012 and Lynn has been fighting for change ever since.

“We couldn’t get an emergency hearing. We couldn’t get her home for any holidays while other people were coming and leaving the facility,” said Sayler.

Hillary Hogue came from Naples.

“My father, who was doing quite well financially, was left with five dollars in his wallet,” said Hogue. “And I am begging for changes. This is happening. Thousands of people are being held captive.”

All of the families said they would expect what happened to them in another country, but not in America.

And attempts to get a meeting the Governor have been futile, until on Thursday, they hijacked A Seniors Day event at the Capitol.

It got them a meeting with the Secretary of Elder Affairs and now they hope that will turn into meaningful conversations that could eventually protect Florida Seniors.

In addition to requiring a judge to sign off on a do not resuscitate order, lawmakers are also looking to put a timeline for the state to investigate valid complaints within 45 days.

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