Active Senior Medically Kidnapped from her Home and Forced onto Drugs in Nursing Home Now Near Death
by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
Earlier this year, Beverley Finnegan, age 69, of Newton, Massachusetts, could walk, talk, and discuss the events from the daily newspaper. That was before she was seized from the condo that she shared with her sister, forced by police into a nursing home, and drugged against her will.
Years before, she had named her sister as her medical proxy, but the state of Massachusetts has ignored her wishes and placed her under guardianship with strangers.
Her whole life, everything she had ever known, was gone with the stroke of a judge’s pen.
Now, she is on life support, and on Monday, December 18, guardians and their attorneys petitioned the court in the attempt to have Beverley Finnegan euthanized.
They go back to court on Friday, December 22. Janet Pidge is fighting for the very life of her beloved sister who is just one court decision away from having her life snuffed out forever.
All of this started because a doctor filed a report that she had a particular lung infection for which she refused treatment. He wrote that, without treatment, she would die within weeks or months.
Since the diagnosis more than a year ago and the subsequent day that the senior citizen was violently seized from her home “in her best interest,” the alleged lung infection has never been treated or addressed. Not once. Presumably, it doesn’t exist. It never did.
In documents filed with the court, her sister calls the Mycobacterium kansasii a “pretext” from which Beverley “was falsely said to suffer.”
Instead, psychologists working for the agencies that have held her captive against her will have labeled Beverley Finnegan as combative and violent – for fighting those who broke into her home and forcibly took her away – and paranoid – for being suspicious of government officials and medical people.
Had these actions been taken by masked thugs, her responses would have been acceptable, expected even. But since it was doctors and people working for the government under color of law, she was apparently expected to submit and go away compliantly, without a fuss.
Lonnie Brennan, reporter for the Boston Broadside, writes:
Hmm, they tell her she has an ailment which they don’t treat her for, and she’s the paranoid one?
Sisters Beverley Finnegan and Janet Pidge have always been close. After the death of Beverley’s husband and their only child, Janet moved into the upscale Newton condo that her sister owned. Since 2012, the sisters have owned the home jointly. They both worked, and enjoyed keeping up with the daily news and engaging in lively debate over current events.
Beverley was the one who handled the finances for the pair. She had the foresight to legally name Janet as her medical proxy in 2012 in the event of any future health problems. They may not have always trusted everything doctors said, but they trusted each other.
Doctor Files “Protective” Order
After an accidental fall in the summer of 2016, Beverley became involved with a doctor affiliated with Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. Dr. Anne McKinley diagnosed her with a severe lung infection for which she would need long-term treatment, without which the doctor said she would be dead within weeks or months. That was September 2016.
Because Beverley made the decision to only follow up once with her, the doctor reportedly became concerned and filed an emergency protective order on September 26. This ignores the fact that she had been in the hospital two weeks prior.
On October 4, 2016, Elder Protective Services Caseworker Claire Wilms of Springwell, Inc., went to Beverley Finnegan’s condo with 2 police officers to investigate. They buzzed to be let into the building, but the sisters refused to allow them access. Another tenant reportedly let them in.
When the sisters refused to answer the door, they barged in anyway.
Beverley was reportedly furious at the intrusion into her home, and refused to answer Wilms’ questions about whether she knew that she was sick and needed medication. In her report to the court Wilms leaves out what they did to provoke the senior citizen at her home, but reports that Beverley was angry, agitated, yelled expletives, and threw a vase at them. At some point, a door was taken off of its hinges.
Thus, Beverley Finnegan has been labeled “paranoid” and “violent.”
Springwell is a private non-profit organization that provides and coordinates services to senior citizens. They work with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to, in the words of their website, “alleviate or reduce risk of harm to elders.” Also, according to their website:
At Springwell, we believe that when you want support, you get to decide what type of support you need, when you need it, and who provides it.
Apparently, that means only if they agree with your decision.
Ms. Finnegan was forcibly taken by police to the hospital where a psychiatrist alleged that she was paranoid.
That time, Janet was able to contest the Section 12 mental health order and get her sister discharged home.
Undeterred, the doctor wrote a letter dated October 18, 2016. According to court documents, Dr. McKinley stated that Beverley “has refused further treatment” for the alleged Mycobacterium kansasii.
The treatment, according to Dr. McKinley, involves several medications that must be continued for at least a year while the patient is monitored for drug toxicity and visual and liver damage. She stated that Beverley must start treatment soon:
Should she fail to do so, I would expect that she will continue to decline and ultimately die from her infection in the coming weeks to months. Unfortunately, she is now refusing all care at Mount Auburn Hospital, and I fear that if she is not compelled to seek treatment, she will succumb to her illness. [emphasis added in court document]
In December 2016, caseworker Claire Wilms filed a petition with the court to have Beverley brought to a nursing home to have her mental and psychological health evaluated, citing the lung infection and the senior citizen’s tendency toward violence.
The family’s recently retained attorney, Lisa Belanger, points out that the only violent incident cited is when Beverley Finnegan fought those who broke into her home who were kidnapping her. At no time was she ever a threat to anyone who did not break into her house.
Wilms wanted Beverley to be evaluated by Dr. Elizabeth Nasser, PhD, “a neuropsychologist that Springwell retains to conduct capacity evaluations.”
As we have noted many times with Child Protective Services cases covered by Health Impact News, it is very common for those with vested financial interests in the outcome to conduct various evaluations of family members. Attorney Lisa Belanger told us:
It’s always the doctors and the guardians working hand-in-hand.
Wilms also told the court that Beverley’s sister Janet, who was legally the medical proxy, would interfere with them doing the evaluations on her sister:
I believe that the only safe and appropriate way that the Elder can be evaluated for capacity would be by way of an admission to an appropriate medical facility….
I also believe that if the Elder and Sister are notified of a hearing in this matter, it will make it very unlikely for Springwell to be able to have the Elder evaluated, and it could result in further violence.
“Protection” Needed to Prevent Her Death
On January 18, 2017, Judge Maureen H. Monks of the Middlesex County Probate and Family Court issued a protective order demanding that Beverley Finnegan be taken by the police to a medical facility for evaluation. The order temporarily also suspended Beverley’s chosen medical proxy, without any kind of evidentiary hearing.
The order was based on the supposed infection that would kill her if she didn’t get treatment.
Beverley was seized for the evaluation and has not been home since. She was involuntarily committed to care.
There have been five hearings during which the suspension of Janet as her sister’s medical proxy was temporarily extended again.
Beverley Finnegan now has a court-appointed guardian, and is under the care of Jewish Family and Children’s Services.
A guardian who had never seen her before, who has no relationship with her or her family, is the one who now has the power to make decisions regarding Ms. Finnegan’s life, including the selection of the nursing home.
The guardian had Beverley admitted into what her sister calls a “subpar” nursing home. Janet Pidge has been fighting to get her sister out ever since. Beverley has begged many times to be released from the home where she said she was being neglected and abused.
When she was forced into the nursing home, she was able to walk on her own. By late summer, she was in a wheelchair.
The Mycobacterium kansasii infection has yet to be treated in any way since she was placed in protective custody. Dr. McKinley stated that the protocol was a 3-drug regimen that must be continued for a year, and any cessation of the treatment could have devastating consequences to her health.
Attorney Lisa Belanger and Janet Pidge find this odd because at no time within the ensuing year were any of those medications ever given to Ms. Finnegan. Nor has there been any symptoms or further talk of the horrifying lung infection that was supposedly so serious that it necessitated violating a woman’s autonomy and right to be secure in her home and person.
Denied Food and Water
A legal intern accompanied Janet to visit Beverley in August and September of 2017 and what she saw horrified her. In affidavits submitted to the court, the intern reported that staff at the Kathleen Daniel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center told them at one visit that Beverley had been vomiting just about everything she ate.
They were surprised then, that Beverley devoured all of the food that Janet had brought to her, including “oriental food, dumplings, fresh fruit, and one half of a small raspberry pie.”
Beverley told them that the nursing home staff had not been giving her food or water and she was “ravenous.” She did not vomit or show any signs of stomach problems.
The intern noted that there were water pitchers in the other residents’ rooms, but not in Beverley’s. They had to ask for water. They spoke with staff and requested that they ensure that she always had water available.
When she returned with Janet for other visits, she found that there was never water in Beverley’s room, and that she always ate everything that her sister brought her. When the other residents were given lunch and dinner, no food trays were offered to Ms. Finnegan.
Janet visits her sister on a daily basis and spends 6 to 8 hours a day feeding, bathing, and caring for her sister. In one document, Janet stated that:
In the past month, not one day has a water pitcher been provided to Beverley, she has received unexplained injuries and a deterioration in her physical and mental condition.
During these visits, the intern says that Beverley was “bright, alert, talkative, and lucid.”
She asked me if I would go across the street to the store and buy her a newspaper and some magazines, and I did so.
Psychologist Testimony Used to Violate Civil Rights and Force Psyche Drugs
One psychologist said that Beverley likely had mental illness for many years because of her paranoia. Yet she has never before had any diagnosis of mental illness, nor is there any family history of such. She held down a successful career for 27 years in the technical sector.
According to the documents, Beverley Finnegan said that she was abused in the nursing home and expressed fear that she could be killed there. The doctors and attorneys call that paranoia and mental illness.
However, based on the notion that she was violent and paranoid, she was administered a couple of psychotropic drugs, against her wishes.
At least 2 of the medications that she was forced to take carry black box warning labels about their use in elderly patients, because they increase the risk of death, primarily from cardiovascular and infectious causes.
Beverley Now Near Death
On December 1, Janet says that her sister suffered a heart attack at the nursing home, but the staff did not call for help immediately. She begged for them to help Beverley, but they refused to give her oxygen. By the time the ambulance got her to the hospital, she was unresponsive and CPR was initiated at the hospital. She was reportedly without oxygen for around a half hour.
Beverley Finnegan is now on life support at Framington Union Hospital.
Janet remains by her sister’s side at the hospital as much as she possibly can, but she is powerless to stop the devastation that she see happening to her beloved sister. She prays regularly for Beverley.
On Monday, December 18, a week before Christmas, she and her attorney faced a gaggle of attorneys and guardians who stood together to petition the court for permission to pull the plug on her sister.
Lisa Belanger says that Janet has seen signs of responsiveness in her sister, but a hospital intern and another doctor that they had never met has reported to the court that Beverley is completely unresponsive and not likely to be able to come off of the ventilator. Dr. Aba Somers said that she will likely need a tracheostomy soon.
Janet vehemently disagrees with the doctor’s assessment. Her attorney says that Janet has seen some signs of responsiveness. Because they have not yet been given access to Beverley’s medical records, they have no way of knowing if she is truly as bad off as they say, or if her condition is simply due to her being sedated.
Janet Pidge’s role as medical proxy was never vacated, only temporarily suspended, and she is not ready to give up on her sister yet. There are too many unanswered questions.
According to Drugs.com, a website with medical information about pharmaceutical medications, an overdose of one of the psychotropic drugs that Beverley Finnegan has been given against her will can result in symptoms very much like those she exhibits:
The patient would appear comatose with respiratory depression and hypotension which could be severe enough to produce a shock-like state.
in prolonged cases of coma, [a] tracheostomy [may be needed to open the airway]. Respiratory depression may be counteracted by artificial respiration and mechanical respirators.
Attorneys Want to Take Beverley Off of Life Support
Dr. Aba Somers said that Beverley stated that he believes that a “Do Not Resuscitate” and “Do Not Intubate” order should be in place and that she should be given comfort measures only. He argues that she will be dependent upon the ventilator in his judgment and that she will be:
at constant risk of complications, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, line infections and decubitus ulcers.
As the group of attorneys for the hospital, Jewish Family Services, and Springwell agency gathered in Judge Mareen Monks’ courtroom on Monday, their arguments to the court were stunning to reporter Lonnie Brennan of the Boston Broadside.
He attended the hearing and told Health Impact News that 6 people stood up to say:
It’s time to pull the plug.
A 7th person remained seated while attorneys for Jewish Family Services and Springwell actually argued, out loud, that she should be removed from life support because it would be painful for Beverley Finnegan if she were to suffer another heart attack, because intubation and CPR hurt.
To which, Janet Pidge’s attorney Lisa Belanger countered:
And that would be worse than death?
Belanger said that the counsel for the hospital argued that it would be “brutalizing” to keep Beverley Finnegan alive on life support.
She said that really isn’t their decision to make:
The hospitals cannot be allowed to play God! This is a family matter.
Family Desires Ignored – Hospital and Attorneys Believe They Know Best
One of the attorneys who wants to euthanize Beverley Finnegan reportedly tried to soften his rhetoric by suggesting that, perhaps, they could obtain more of her previous medical records and find a previously undiscovered document that might shed light on what HER wishes would be. He suggested that he believes that she would not want to live like this, so they need to pull the plug.
But they DO know what she would want.
Beverley told her sister that she wants to live. She begged for months to go home. She was afraid for her life in the nursing home.
She assigned Janet as her medical proxy several years ago before this nightmare ever began. Her sister knows her, and based on what she knows about Beverley, Janet is fighting for her life. SHE, not the elder protective service people, truly cares about her.
Janet does not believe that all hope is truly lost for her sister.
Is Beverley truly unresponsive or is she being overly sedated to appear that she is unresponsive? Based on the apparently imaginary diagnosis of the lung infection used as grounds to take Ms. Finnegan against her will, it seems a fair question to ask.
Her sister and attorney have not seen the medical records, and they would really like to have a 2nd medical opinion – from a doctor who is not affiliated with the system that has caused so much harm, and a doctor who does not have a conflict of interest in the case.
The judge has given them until Friday, December 22, to find a doctor for an expert medical opinion, and Beverley’s medical records are to be given to the attorney.
Attorney Lisa Belanger of Belanger Law is well aware of the tyrannical overreach of guardianship. She is still fighting for her own father whose freedom was taken when he was medically kidnapped.
How You Can Help
Beverley Finnegan’s life is on the line, and Janet Pidge and attorney Lisa Belanger are asking for all the help they can get to save her life. They ask for people to contact media, the governor, and legislators.
The U.S. Senators for Massachusetts are Ted Markey and Elizabeth Warren.
Senator Ted Markey may be reached at 202 224 2742, or contacted here.
Senator Elizabeth Warren may be reached at 202 224 4543, or contacted here.
Massachusetts Child Protective Services recently came under fire for not reporting serious harm to children in their care including rape and sexual molestation in foster homes. It appears that Adult Protective Services needs to be scrutinized as well.
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