Deaths Hastened by Jewish Family & Children’s Service

by Lisa Siegel Belanger, Esq.

(The following article appears in the Feb. 1, 2018 printed edition of The Boston Broadside along with several detailed stories related to those mentioned here, as well as others.)

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office website explicitly holds out to the public that its mission includes “combatting fraud and corruption,” as well as “investigating and prosecuting crime.” AG Healey further claims that her office combats elder abuse.

Now those claims made by AG Healey all sound reassuring and make you feel protected as a citizen of this commonwealth, don’t they? Beware: this is no different than any other electoral doubletalk. In fact, it’s worse—so let this article serve as an all-points-bulletin that AG Healey’s above-described mission statement does not apply to criminal perpetrators cloaked as probate court public officials and to their agents/representatives.

In a nutshell, after many prolonged under-the-pea shell games played by AG Healey’s staff, in my official role as an attorney, urgently reported substantiated criminal acts of hastened elder death openly and vehemently facilitated by Jewish Family & Children’s Service. As a matter of existing law, hastening of a death is in fact a criminal killing.1

One of the two unlawful deaths that I reported directly to AG Healey pertains to Beverley Finnegan—which death has been previously reported extensively by Boston Broadside and posted online, providing specific details surrounding Beverley Finnegan’s death and the role played by Jewish Family & Children’s Service. The other unlawful death involving Jewish Family & Children’s Service that I reported to AG Healey is that of elder Alice Julian.

In actuality, the initial triggering factor leading to Alice Julian’s death is the involvement of elder “protective” services in August of 2017—which occurred because certain disgruntled adult children made a false report of abuse to Central Elder Services against the sibling who Alice Julian had appointed in writing to be her health care proxy which was witnessed by a registered nurse. As shown from my previously published articles in the Boston Broadside, this scenario is overwhelmingly common place not only throughout Massachusetts but also nationwide.

Specific to Alice Julian, Central Elder Services through its private counsel, Mary Kate Connolly, of O’Sullivan & Connolly, facilitated the court appointment of Attorney David Schwartz of Jewish Family & Children’s Service as guardian and conservator over Alice Julian. As standard operating procedure, Attorneys Mary Kate Connolly and David Schwartz forced 89-year-old Alice Julian against her will into a nursing home, while also obtaining a court-order forcing Alice Julian to be drugged with antipsychotics. Also as a matter of routine, they used a purported diagnosis of dementia as the pretext for obtaining court-ordered antipsychotics.

Like so many other elders forced under court-ordered guardianships, 89-year-old Alice Julian had no prior history or diagnosis of dementia—it was only when Attorney Mary Kate Connolly became involved in her role with Central Elder Services that such purported diagnosis arose. And like so many other elders, attorneys for elder protective services and court-appointed guardians had Alice Julian sign advance directives pertaining to end-of life decisions.

It appears that Alice Julian had been forced to take antipsychotics starting around October of 2017. Up until December of 2017, Alice Julian was an exceptionally healthy person at 89-years-old. She did not have any terminal illness prior to developing pneumonia sometime around New Years—after months of court-ordered forced use of antipsychotics.

Through court statements made to Justice Gaziano of the Supreme Judicial Court on January 8, 2018, counsel of record for Alice Julian—Attorney Frank  J. Teague—outright expressed that Jewish Family & Children’s Service had placed Alice Julian into hospice care for pneumonia instead of providing treatment. He indicated that she had been  given 2-3 dosages of antibiotics, but was stopped based on the claim that the antibiotics were not working; that she was overtly being deprived of IV fluids & nutrition; and that she was being given morphine. Attorney Teague explicitly stated that Alice Julian was being given morphine based on two reasons: back pain and to help slow down her breathing. Egregiously, the April 2017 advance directives explicitly states that Alice Julian wanted IV fluids.

While Alice Julian’s daughter, Pamela, had fervently sought an emergency hearing before Judge Gaziano to obtain court orders to give Alice Julian IV fluids, nutrition and to treat for her pneumonia because her mother wanted to live, Judge Gaziano took it under advisement, evidently deciding he needed to sleep on the decision. Less than twelve hours after the teleconferenced hearing, around 4:30 a.m., Alice Julian died at the hands of these court officials. One would think that a judge would err on the side of caution and have ordered her to receive life-sustaining treatment when contemplating such an urgent and immediate matter.

If that does not show solid evidence that Alice Julian’s death was hastened, then nothing does. Yet, Alicia Perez and Dean Mazzone of the AG’s Office—specifically and adamantly informed me that the AG’s Office does not handle this type of criminal matter.

Yep, you read that correctly—feel free to read that sentence again. But hold on to your seats, because I emailed AG Healey specifically addressing this proclaimed patently absurd notion. I emphasized to AG Healey that after 21 years of practicing law—especially criminal law—that I know which way is up; particularly, given the plain language of the controlling statute that expressly states that the AG’s Office has direct power to handle reported crimes of hastened death of elders.

I expect that nobody is really surprised by the fact that AG Healey has not had the gumption to respond to me. Adding insult to injury, initially, when I went on AG Healey’s website to obtain an online criminal complaint form, the website stated that such form “has been deactivated and is closed to any further submissions.”

AG Healey well knows, having worked in a direct key role with former AG Martha Coakley for many years, how to prosecute the use of antipsychotics for increasing the risk of fatality for elders having dementia, arising from pneumonia and cardiovascular complication.  The AG’s Office has prosecuted the following matters:

  • In 2009, the AG’s Office prosecuted Eli Lilly for off-label promotion of its antipsychotic drug (Zyprexa) for unapproved uses in the treatment of dementia. It was alleged that Eli Lilly had specifically promoted Zyprexa as a way to “reduce nursing time and effort” because it sedated unruly nursing home residents. Eli Lilly paid $1.415 billion in federal fines, with a dozen states opting out and obtaining amounts ranging from $13 to $45 million. AG Coakley opted out of the federal settlement and pursued a settlement separately as a state matter.
  • Also in 2009, the AG’s Office prosecuted AstraZeneca—maker of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel—for unapproved uses in the treatment of dementia. A consent judgment of over $2 million was reached for AstraZeneca’s unlawful promotion of the use of Seroquel with elders having dementia.
  • In 2010, Johnson & Johnson was charged with paying kickbacks to the Omnicare nursing home chain for prescribing Risperdal and Levaquin—with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston having filed the action. AG Coakley issued a press release stating that she was “playing a lead role in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving the use of kickbacks and other illegal marketing of antipsychotic drugs”—especially, “the use of its atypical antipsychotic drug Risperdal in nursing homes.”
  • In 2011, AG Martha Coakley filed a complaint against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) for promoting Risperdal to be used with elders having dementia. A consent judgment was reached for $15.1 million.2

My message to Attorney General Healey: the citizens of Massachusetts voted you into office under the blind faith that you were going to uphold your sworn oath of office to protect the citizens of this commonwealth and to prosecute all criminals, including public officials who commit crimes. You owe a duty to elders Beverley Finnegan and Alice Julian to at the very least investigate their deaths that directly occurred because of unlawful hastened death by these public officials.

1 Commonwealth v. Carlson, 447 Mass. 79 (2006)
2 2005 Black-Box warning issued by  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its most serious medication alert—known as a black–box warning—regarding the overuse of the antipsychotics, such as, Seroquel, Risperdal, Zyprexa) for elderly dementia patients

The author expresses her appreciation to Steve Wallingsford, case manager, for his assistance with this article.    ¨

Editor’s Notes: Mary Frank (see story in this and prior two editions) has previously implicated Mary Kate Connolly as the attorney responsible for forcing her into a dementia unit at Sudbury Pines Nursing Home (where Mary said she contracted scabies). Atty. David Schwartz played a key role in the efforts by JF&CS and others in Probate Court Judge Maureen Monks’ courtroom, to end the life of Beverley Finnegan when she was on life support at Framingham Union Hospital.