​ “Dying in the Streets With Your Rights On” – Week 475 at Many Meals – February 22, 2018

I commend an article to you about the sufferings of homeless people with a mental illness. It was written by Lloyd I. Sederer, MD   “Dying In the Streets With Your Rights on” .He is a psychiatrist and treated many patients.

Linda Bishop was found dead, presumably from starvation and hypothermia, in a home she had broken into in New Hampshire several months after she had a two-year psychiatric hospitalization. Her last journal notation was in January 2008, and her body was accidently discovered in May.

Neither Bishop’s sister, a longtime advocate for her (who works in the justice system) whom a court years earlier declined to make Bishop’s legal guardian, nor Bishop’s daughter were informed of her condition during her extended stay in New Hampshire’s state hospital — nor were they told when she was discharged. Instead, a fantasy relationship that Bishop had for years in her head, with no contact with the man was her plan for support, even marriage, upon leaving the hospital.

“The story of Linda Bishop’s multiple psychiatric hospitalizations, her misdemeanor (non-violent) offenses and time in jail, her abandonment of her teenage daughter, her assertion that she was not mentally ill and her refusal to follow any treatment plan, the lack of evidence that she could care for herself, and the self-imposed distance from her family was all too familiar to me and my colleagues working in public mental health, even if the details of her situation may vary in some ways from others. Recognized experts (and longtime colleagues) Drs. Tom Gutheil and Paul Appelbaum in 1979 (!) aptly called this type of tragedy “rotting with their rights on.”

 Our laws stipulate that Bishop had to consent to provide information to her family, which she did not. Privacy violations would have been the consequence of the hospital contacting her family during the hospital stay or at the time of discharge. Bishop’s “right” to live where (and how) she wanted derives from legal rulings that stipulate a person’s right to live in what is called “the least restrictive setting.” The letter of the law had been met. And the patient died.”

We see this developing in many of our people and have seen deaths as the result of people not able to do for themselves. We have to do better.

A part of doing better will be revealed on Friday morning at 9 am and you are all welcome to attend.  The Ventura County Healthcare Agency is hosting a ceremony to introduce and officially launch the latest effort in their Whole Person Care Program. The Care Pod/Shower facilities will be open for viewing along with the Islas Mobile Care Unit which serves the Santa Paula homeless population every Friday. It is the new One-Stop Center for preventative care and addresses mental and physical health issues.

It will be at the site of the Care Pod at El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 1029 E. Santa Paula Street in Santa Paula.

Please join us for a brief program. You will meet our Supervisor, Kelly Long; Ventura County CEO Mike Powers, Ventura County Health Care Agency Director, Dr. Jackson Gill, and many others who made this possible.  It is a dream come true for a small organization like the SPIRIT of Santa Paula and a small church to be a part of such a magnificent program that adds quality to the life of many people every Friday.

The Homeless Count is this Thursday, February 22, 2018 starting at 6 am. If you are interested in helping, call me at 805.3340..5025.  There is a final training on Wednesday, tomorrow February 21, from 3’30 to 4:30 pm, at the administration building of the Ventura County Government Center, 800 South Victoria, Fourth Floor, Pt. Mugu Conference Room.

If you want to participate in the Santa Paula Count, please register at the United Way’s volunteer site  http://www.volunteerventuracounty.org/aem/general/event/?doc_id=4649.

We will meet at 8:30 am in Santa Paula at 113 North Mill Street for assignments. If anyone would like to help count at Many Meals tomorrow night, please come at 4:30 pm, 121 Davis Street.

To our menu. Food Share had a great supply of hot dog buns today so we will be serving the ever-popular all-beef dogs from Costco, Spanish rice from El Pescador, fresh cook carrots supplied by Garman’s Pub, chips, orange slices and romaine salad with tomatoes and sesame dressing.

Next week:  A homeless person in a child’s eyes.

Kay Wilson-Bolton is the volunteer director of SPIRIT of Santa Paula.  She can be reached at 05.340.5025.

website is http://www.spiritofsantapaula.org.

Address is 113 North Mill Street, Santa Paula CA 93060.

Mailing address is: P.O. Box 728, Santa Paula CA 93061-0728

“Serving the least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in our Community.”


The Good Neighbor Award 2017