by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that professional guardian Rebecca Fierle has resigned after an investigation revealed that she had filed unauthorized “do not resuscitate” orders on almost all of her senior patients, against the wishes of the patient and their families.
The investigation was prompted by the Orlando Sentinel’s report that one of her patients died due to her “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order, even after the patient and family requested that the DNR be rescinded.
A man died at a Tampa hospital after staff could not perform life-saving procedures because of a “do not resuscitate” order his Orlando guardian filed against his wishes, state investigators determined.
The investigation into the final days of 75-year-old Steven Stryker of Cocoa caused Circuit Judge Janet C. Thorpe to seek the removal of his court-appointed guardian, Rebecca Fierle, from 95 Orange County cases at once in a hearing sealed from the media last week.
Thorpe found Fierle had “abused her powers” by requesting that incapacitated clients not receive medical treatment if their heart or breathing stopped — without permission from their families or the court, records show.
The investigation concluded that Fierle refused to remove the DNR despite Stryker’s desire for life-saving actions, and that her claims about his final wishes contradicted his daughter, friend and a psychiatrist.
“The ward had never previously expressed a desire to die, and it seems unlikely that, as soon as he was appointed a guardian, he would suddenly be unwilling to tolerate a condition that he had been dealing with for many years,” investigators wrote.
The investigation began after Stryker’s daughter, Kim Stryker, submitted a complaint to the Ninth Judicial Circuit on May 9 alleging that Fierle refused to remove a “do not resuscitate” order she had placed on Steven Stryker despite his expressed desire to live, court records show. (Source.)
We applaud the work of the Orlando Sentinel, fulfilling their role as the media was originally intended to be: a voice educating the public on matters that government and medical authorities would prefer remain in secrecy.
Too often in our own investigative work here at Health Impact News, we find that the corporate-sponsored media is the mouth-piece of the medical system and government, rather than exposing its corruption.
If not for the investigative work of the Orlando Sentinel, this professional guardian working for the State of Florida may have continued to euthanize seniors against their wishes and the wishes of their families.
Shortly after their interview with Kim Stryker and exposing the tragedy of Kim’s father’s death, the head of Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs announced “immediate” changes to the State-run guardian system, and guardian Rebecca Fierle resigned.
In a statement, Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom said Fierle “failed… families who entrusted their loved ones to her care. We will continue to work with law enforcement and the courts to hold bad actors who violate the trust of our most vulnerable citizens and their families accountable.” (Source.)
Rebecca Fierle has now resigned and faces criminal charges, but how many more like her are still out there?
Elder Abuse and Murder by State-appointed Guardians – 1.3 Million Adults Medically Kidnapped and $50 Billion of Their Assets Seized
Last year (2018) The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on a court-appointed guardian of seniors who had a previous conviction for fraud and bad checks, and was removed from her role as guardian by a judge due to her alleged theft of senior assets.
Their investigation revealed that nationwide, government guardians oversee an estimated 1.3 million adults and $50 billion of their assets.
That means that it is far more likely for a senior to be medically kidnapped in the United States today, then it is for a child to be medically kidnapped, as the total number of children in foster care today is around 450,000.
In most cases, all it takes for the state to take over guardianship of a senior is the testimony of a psychiatrist stating that they are incapable of making decisions.
To learn more, read Attorney Lisa Belanger’s report: