A woman in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand has been found guilty of neglect after failing to care for her elderly mother. She was slapped by another woman in court on April 3. Her case highlights the plight of elderly care.
The 51-year-old daughter of Maureen Quinn, Joanne Quinn, is the sole caregiver of her elderly mother. The Napier District Court is hearing her case this week.
The 82-year-old woman was discovered by healthcare staff on November 15, 2011 on a couch and blanket. The elderly woman's wounds on legs were infested with maggots. She died six weeks after she was treated for bronchial pneumonia in the hospital.
Before the court proceedings began, another woman approached Ms Quinn and slapper her. According to reports, she was believed to be a member of the family. After she slapped Ms Quinn, she ran from the court with security following after her. The woman had not been caught.
Judge Jonathan Down said that the necessities of life in context of the case were food, hydration and medical care. According to Judge Down, this was the type of case that can incite feelings of sympathy and prejudice. He said a person can just look at the evidence of photos and listen to the accounts of medical witnesses.
The judge said the medical evidence presented in the court appeared "reliant and consistent." The findings of the judge indicated that the elderly woman was severely dehydrated, malnourished and severely neglected while under her daughter's care.
After reviewing the "compelling medical evidence", the judge had arrived at an "inevitable conclusion." One witness in the case, Detective Toni Leppien, described the time he held the elderly woman's hand in the hospital.
The woman who was neglected by her daughter remarked that Detective Leppien's hand was warm. She said she can't remember the last time someone had touched her. Judge Down said the woman may have referred to the lack of warmth under her daughter's care.
If the elderly woman had not been admitted to the hospital, she would have died much earlier based on a medical assessment.