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  • Reforming New York States Guardianship System: Its Time for a Change (Again)

    Ms. C is a seventy-eight-year-old woman who has lived in her Brooklyn apartment since she was ten years old. Three years ago, Ms. C was the victim of a robbery and was left for dead by the burglar. It was not until several days later that the New York Police Department found her on the floor in serious need of medical attention. After several days of observation, the doctors concluded that Ms. C was doing well, so Ms. C requested to go home. Because of her age and affliction with Parkinson’s disease, the hospital staff diagnosed her with dementia and sent her to a nursing home located a mere one and a half blocks away from her apartment. Over the next several months, Ms. C requested to go home on numerous occasions, and attempted to escape what she considered her prison. Seeking someone to make decisions on her behalf, the nursing home petitioned the Brooklyn Supreme Court to have a guardian appointed. During the hearing, Ms. C again stated that she wished to go home, but the court relied solely on the nursing home’s evaluation that she should not be able to return home without a guardian. The court denied her request and Ms. C was trapped. The nursing home became her guardian, and she was to spend the rest of her life there even though her home was less than two blocks away.