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The 1999/2000 Orange County Grand Jury reported that within 12-18 months after leaving the foster care system 27% of males and 10% of females had been incarcerated.

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Is Bureaucracy Killing a Young Epileptic Woman?

Arrogant hospital intern sets off a chain of events that destroys a family, daughter
By: Harry V. Martin

She is but a pawn in the hands of the State, a large attorney firm, and care home providers. They control her life through psychiatric drugs which leave her mostly in a lethargic condition. Her parents have fought to regain her custody for years and now they have been restricted to one short visit a month. Such a visit brings pain to the eyes of Nancy who wonders why they won't take her home and why they leave her in this place.

Nancy's life changed when an arrogant intern doctor at Stanford University Hospital made the wrong call. This intern took it upon herself to declare that the parents of Nancy were "over medicating" the young woman for her seizures. She reduced the amount of medication Nancy was receiving only to start her seizures again. A neurologist had prescribed the exact dosage that the parents of Nancy had been administrating. A neurologist at Stanford University Hospital interceded and restored the proper dosage to Nancy which stopped the seizures. Nancy went home with her parents and that should have been the end of it.

But the intern, ignoring the Hospital's neurologist and Nancy's personal neurologist, notified Adult Protective Services and filed a complaint against Nancy's parents, stating they were over medicating her and therefore were abusing her.

Adult Protective Services made five or six calls on the parents of Nancy, investigating the allegations of the intern. Then things became silent. Adult Protective Services knew or should have known that Nancy's private neurologist and the neurologist at Stanford University Hospital acknowledged that the dosage Nancy was being given by her parents was correct and necessary. At this point the files should have been closed - and that is exactly what Nancy's parents thought. But not so! The Adult Protective Services' files were not corrected to reflect the reports of two neurologists.

Over a year later police arrived with an Adult Protective Services agent and whisked Nancy away; placing her in a psychiatric ward for "her protection." Under the law her placement was illegal. The psychiatric ward reduced Nancy's Phenobarbital seizure medication to the same lower levels as the intern had recommended - a dosage vetoed by the Stanford neurologist; the seizure began again.

California Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, is actively looking into CPS reforms. Her aide Dennis Morris, is collecting personal accounts for a legislative inquiry in hopes of effectuating CPS reforms (and hopefully APS).

If you reside in California and are having issues with the way CPS operates, please contact Dennis Morris.

While this is all going on the District Attorney's office files charges against the parents for abuse of Nancy for over medicating. The District Attorney's file show no mention of the neurologists reports contradicting the allegation. Nancy was never allowed to go home again.

The Stanford neurologist's interceded but it didn't matter because they had to hold onto Nancy after that because of the injuries they did. They had other things they tried to pull, like the burn injury to the top of Nancy's foot which Stanford doctors, themselves, had caused five months earlier by a misplaced IV that they then refused to treat, then called this a neglected foot injury of unknown origin after it had already been treated and healed. Despite all that, the District Attorney Office continued the criminal case against the parents for 14 months before it was dropped.

The reason the District Attorney's Office kept the criminal charges of abuse and neglect so long was to allow the State of California to secretly apply for and obtain a temporary conservatorship over Nancy. As long as the parents were under criminal charges, they were not eligible to fight the conservatorship. Even when the State went to court over the conservatorship they told the judge that they could not find the parents. The parents were visiting Nancy every week at the care facility. In fact the District Attorney's Office had the couple arrested on felony abuse charges. The District Attorney's Office offered to drop the charges down to a misdemeanor and a slap on the wrist. The parents refused the offer.

The parents rejected any lesser charge for fear that a plea bargain would mean they would never see their daughter again.

When one judge ruled favorably for the parents, the State went shopping for a new judge. The new judge ignored the expert testimony of the neurologist in favor of written memos from the State. The law does require more credence in court for live witnesses as opposed to written memos. The Public Defender's Office represented Nancy. Because the conservatorship was awarded to the State, the parents were denied by the court to the discovery process. The parents were stripped of any legal rights in relationship to their daughter. The Court even reduced the amount of time the parents would have for visitation rights. Nancy saw her parents less and less and felt deserted.

The drugs they were giving to Nancy began to eat away at her esophagus. "They're killing her, she can't swallow," the parents complained. The esophagus problem continued, however, until the parents suspect that Nancy has throat cancer. The parents have not been allowed to see Nancy's medical records. Nancy had a precancerous condition two years ago which was left untreated by her State conservators.

The parents have gone to State and Federal Courts - including the United States Supreme Court, but the Federal Courts have rejected the case on the basis they don't have jurisdiction. The State has paid $2 million dollars in Court to keep Nancy. The parents have had no way of amassing such a sum and have, at times, represented themselves in Court.

The parents' visitation rights were reduced to one hour per month. When the parents are allowed to visit, Nancy keeps asking to go home and doesn't understand why she cannot. Many times on their visits the parents would find Nancy in a comatose status.

But there is much more behind this case as to why the State, Courts and others want Nancy - and victims like her.

This article originally ran in the Napa Sentinel on April 15, 2005. Reposted here with permission from the Golin family.


Help Free Nancy

Send cards, letters or direct donations to:
Jeffrey and Elsie Golin
13736 De Leon Ave.
Santa Nella, CA 95322

Posted: June 13, 2005