Former Wiregrass teacher forced into hospice care; daughter fights for custody

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Marian Leonard, a native of Abbeville, is a retired Wiregrass school teacher.

Mrs. Leonard’s daughter, Nancy Gregory Scott, never expected her 103-year-old mother to be in the supervision of strangers. According to Mrs. Leonard’s daughter, Nancy, they were vacationing in Tennessee when her mom fell; causing her to be temporarily placed in Westmoreland Rehab in December 2017.

Nancy said once they received the appropriate discharge from the facility in Tennessee, they made plans to return home to the Wiregrass.

“I was accused of taking my mother out of a facility in Tennessee against medical advice and that was not true. I had paperwork to show that a doctor has examined her and gave written permission for her to leave,” Scott said.

According to Scott, on the way back home to the Wiregrass, her mother got a fever and had to be taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham. After a two-day hospitalization, she learned her shocking fate — that her mother could not continue on the trip with her back to south Alabama.

“She was placed in hospice against my wishes and hers with no terminal illness,” Scott said.

Although Mrs. Leonard’s will names her daughter, Nancy Gregory Scott, as her power of attorney, Alan King, a judge in Jefferson County took that right away from Scott. In February 2018, he filed a protection order placing Mrs. Leonard in the care of a guardian and DHR which now control her medical care and finances.

“She had everything in place and in an instant it was gone,” Scott said.

For nearly a year, Scott could not visit her mother. Her visitation rights have only just resumed a month ago. However, now she can only visit one and a half hours twice a month under the supervision of her court-appointed guardian.

“My mother’s wishes, spoken wishes, are being ignored and her civil rights have been violated more than anyone that I’ve seen in the 21st century,” Scott said.

Since the protection order was filed last year, Mrs. Leonard has been staying at Diversicare of Riverchase in Birmingham. Scott claims that since they took over her care, her mom’s health has declined to include untreated bed sores and allergies to certain medications.

“Former students would check in and report that she was not being fed,” Scott said.

WDHN called the administrator of Diversicare of Riverchase, Randolph Patel, for a statement about the situation.

“Due to patient confidentiality laws, we are obviously unable to comment on the specifics of a patient or resident’s care, but we can state that the article is a gross mischaracterization of what happened in this instance.”

Randolph Patel, Administrator, Diversicare of Riverchase

Scott said they have filed an emergency hearing, but the next court hearing will be held in November.

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