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Police Must Make Multiple Attempts Before DEA Acts

According to Narragansett police, it takes several attempts before they can remove a sick elderly man from his apartment.

Unless otherwise noted, information about the following incidents was supplied by the Narragansett Police Department. An arrest does not indicate a conviction.

According to police, the apartment of a local elderly man was condemned and he was finally removed from the residence, after repeated calls to the Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs.

Police said at about 4:05 p.m. on June 5, they received a call of an elderly man in his 80s possible urinating in a bucket outside of his residence on South Pier Road.

According to police, patrolman Justin J. Hoffman investigated, and found that the man’s apartment was covered in feces and urine. He also noted that there was almost no food in the apartment, and that there were buckets of urine in the apartment.

However, the man refused assistance, and told police that his family was checking in on him. Hoffman said he called a family member, who told them that the man had refused any treatment or help for his living conditions.

At about 6:30 p.m., Hoffman called Narragansett Building Inspector Tony Santilli, who told police he would coordinate with the Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs and the Narragansett Community Police Division to inspect the home.

Police said that at 9:22 a.m. on June 6, patrolman John A. Silveira called DEA to get a status update. DEA requested a fax of the police report from June 5, which police said they sent at 9:30 a.m.

According to Silveira, they received a call from the man’s family member at about 12:45 p.m. The family member told police that the company who deliver the man’s oxygen tanks told the VA Hospital that the man appeared to be confused, and his oxygen tank lines were all tangled.

Silveira also noted that DEA had not called back from earlier in the day. As a result, he called again at 1:04 p.m., since it appeared that the man’s health was in danger.

According to Silveira, the DEA worker that answered – identified in reports as “Donna” with no last name – said they had not gotten the initial fax.

Silveira said he re-sent the fax, although he noted that it did appear that the initial fax went through. When he asked if the man would receive help today, noting the poor state of his health and living conditions, Donna told him, “Usually.”

As Silveira went off duty at 2:30 p.m., he noted that he had not heard from DEA. At about 3:15 p.m., Hoffman was leaving active duty for the day, and notified Lt. Thomas Mahoney of the case.

Mahoney said he called DEA at 4 p.m. for a status report, and was finally called back at 4:30 p.m.

According to police, this was a different worker from earlier. Identified in reports as Diana Wilkins, she did not have any information on the status of the man’s case.

She called Mahoney back again at 5 p.m. for more information, and at 5:30 p.m. told him that a case on the man had been opened.

However, at about 6 p.m., the man called 911 to request oxygen. At this point, the Narragansett Fire Department transported him to South County Hospital for treatment.

At 8:30 p.m., Santilli investigated and condemned the apartment, with Mahoney and patrolman Daniel A. Sorice assisting. Condemnation notices were posted at the front and rear entrances.

At 9 p.m., the family member arrived at South County Hospital, and told police she would make arrangements to document the apartment, so that the man could be transported to a VA hospital for more extensive treatment.

Wilkins also arrived, between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., to document the scene.

Gerryann Ashworth June 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM
You're right, they often don't state ALL the pertinent facts! If I got that kind of run around from the DEA I would be calling the AG's office to have their lack of response to your situation investigated! The DEA dropped the ball big time and anyone involved in this case should be either reprimanded or fired! I ,personally, would want them fired! State agencies need to know that there are some folks are not going to take this kind of treatment! Call the Governors Office and make him aware of what's going on in the DEA! They should be held accountable for this! this makes me so angry that these agencies get away with stuff like this! The DHS/Food Stamp Offices are full of people who could care less about the people who need their help. It makes me sick to see that you had to go through all of this!
Family member June 13, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I am a family member and I spent hours dealing with the DEA . The DEA told me that there was nothing they could do because this person refused help. When I told them of the conditions he was livlng in, their reply was , "it is his choice." When I said, "then my hands are tied and I have to let this person live in the filth that he is living it, the woman that I spoke with said "yes." When I asked her that even though I felt it was inhumane to just back off and not do anything else, she said once again..."there is nothing we can do."
Robert Trager June 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM
I guess it proves the point, that less government is better. Why do we need all these government agencies that cost so much, but do so little? BTW, my sympathy to the family that is dealing with this.
Ted Geisel June 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM
You'd just get the run around from the AG, unfortunately. As for them getting fired, that would never happen. They are unionized so the most that might happen is administrative leave, aka a paid vacation.
Family June 14, 2012 at 03:54 AM
I hope nobody has to ever go through this..... Something must be done ...I have to wonder how many elderly are out there not being serviced..So so many,,,, That's what makes me so ill......

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