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Oregon's Pattern of Failure Allows No Protection for Disabled WomanTim King Salem-News.com
Black, Disabled and Discriminated Against (in Oregon in ways that are hard to believe, yet documented and true...)
(SALEM, Ore.) - We cover issues related to racism in Oregon regularly; our ongoing series about a former Corrections Officer from Oregon prisons; William Coleman, has illustrated the extreme lack of transparency and corruption in Oregon's government.
His story, like this one, places a particular emphasis on racism toward African-Americans.
The state agencies that have made life so difficult for Coleman are the Dept of Corrections (DOJ), the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and the state Dept. of Justice (DOJ). In the case of Kimberly Petitt, the agencies who have failed to help are the Dept. of Oregon Human Services (DHS), BOLI, and the Oregon Board of Nursing (OSBN) and several others.
What we are bringing you is the story of an African-American woman whose treatment in Oregon, at the hands of state, city and county officials, has been illegal and morally corrupt to say the very least.
She has been repeatedly victimized by individuals, businesses and governmental entities. Each time this former legal transcriptionist tries in vain to utilize the channels of legal recourse; they are closed to her.
Moreover, Kimberly represents a vast number of people including my own grandmother who have either been ripped off, injured, or have died because of poor care in these convalescent facilities.
My grandmother received poor care and died in a convalescent center in Morro Bay, California. We never forget this. Fortunately the place changed hands.
A friend and associate of Salem-News.com, Al Hayward, successfully sued the operator of one of these places and won over the death of his father; a terrible story of elder neglect and abuse.
Apparently that is the game. Crooked criminal corporations running convalescent homes bilk people out of everything they own, and then the patients sometimes receive horrible care.
Thank God this isn't the case everywhere, but it is a huge, widespread problem in America that is only going to get worse if it is not corrected.
What you will learn by watching the video interview I conducted with Kimberly in the last week of 2010, available in three parts below; is that the very agencies and courts directly responsible for monitoring these places are collaborating with the businesses and allowing them to go on.
I know there are loopholes, but people are being stolen from left and right, and even though it is often in the news, companies like the one in this case, Pinnacle Healthcare Inc., simply plow along and steal all they can, directly and openly, and after they are done, the person no longer has the resources to hire attorneys and properly defend themselves.
If and when they do, and Pinnacle has a court history of this, they simply pay the matter off in an out of court settlement, which allows them to stay in business.
What will happen in 2011 that these companies do not anticipate, is a lot of media coverage and hard questions being asked of the government employees and elected officials, who allow their criminal behavior, often toward elderly citizens; members of "The Greatest Generation", and sometimes they are younger people like Kimberly, to continue unabated.
I am thankful that Kimberly read my series on former Oregon Corrections Officer William Coleman, a Racism Whistleblower who has survived an amazing set of events which in retrospect, portray a highly illegal level of corruption that exists in Oregon's prisons and reaches into the state's highest law enforcement office, the Dept. of Justice, where Oregon's elected Attorney General is based.
This agency has been of zero help to William Coleman's Odyssey, though it is on a course that will lead to much change in Oregon's future. They can't change that, and it sure would be better if the clean up came from within Oregon. The alternative is federal intervention and I suggest nobody wrinkle their nose at the idea that feds could come into Oregon and that the state's government could be the subject of a sweeping investigation. Oregon's lawmakers need to toughen up and do what is right.
And I hope that the people named in this article call their attorneys, because there is going to be some explaining to do, even within this existing system. Also, we will be visiting the various agencies and establishments and asking a lot of hard questions. Nobody gets away with treating a human being this way, not even in Oregon.
In the first video, we learn how Kimberly suffered her share of racial abuse while growing up in the Battle Ground, Washington area, where only a handful of Black families lived in an otherwise totally white part of the US. But she grew up in the 1980's when there was still a sense that people could right a wrong by relying on the principles of law and the foundation of the US Constitution. Her family brought a serious case against her high school for allowing Ku Klux Klan members on campus in full drag in 1981. The difference is that they were able to get people fired, change what was taking place; they were able to exercise their rights as Americans for the sake of what was just and correct.
There is no way to adequately tell Kim Petitt's story in the span of a single Internet news story; there will be many more to follow because this story dwells at the root of the most sinister, outdated type of hate in existence. This is the kind that is partly about the color of a person's skin, and in this case, a person's physical state. In the world where I come from, we protect women, mothers above all; and we especially follow our obligation to ensure that people are not treated with open racial discrimination simply because the particular state's government has no system of checks and balances to adequately guard against it.
The interview with Kim Petitt continues, as does the article below that:
Kimberly Petitt's story is far ranging, but the matter at hand is that she is essentially homeless thanks to the convalescent group that led her to where she is; living in a motel room that is not even equipped for a disabled person. And that is scheduled to end on 6 January. Pinnacle's ultimate plan as it stands, involves taking tihs woman out of a motel room and placing her on the street, in the winter no less. It seems they believed they could get away with a great deal of immoral and illegal activity, and when you glean the details, it only gets worse.
Here is the final part of the video, once again the article continues below:
What Needs to Happen
Our mission in part, at this point, is to locate a home for Kimberly while she recovers from her illness. It would be wonderful if someone in the Salem area had a place they could allow her to live in while she maneuvers through her coming legal battles. Anyone with ideas should drop an email my way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What I find extremely troubling about the plight of Kim Petitt, is that both the convalescent home that stole her belongings and the Eugene Police who raided her while she slept in a convalescent home bed, screwed up. They took a violent cruel approach because she supposedly was 'violent' and 'suicidal'.
What these parties failed to do, was take a quick spin through the statistics about Black women and suicide. As you see in the stats to the left from Suicide Statistics 2001 - suicide.org, it is the absolute lowest statistic, because black women don't commit suicide except for rare exceptions.
The rate of Black females who committed suicide in 2001 for example, was a total of 330 in the US. That is 1.7 for every 100,000 people. For White men on the other hand that year, there were 22,328 suicides; that is 19.5 for every hundred thousand. 330 total?
So when you talk about a person who has no violent past, is educated, disabled, very very sick, with no hint of suicide in her past, fitting a non-suicide demographic, and yet still fighting like a tiger for her rights; you aren't dealing with a suicide case, that is obvious and clear.
The convalescent home that ripped off her belongings in a deal that never materialized, yet made the contents of her home and her antique business disappear, actually called Eugene Police and had a SWAT team come haul this sick, disabled woman away like a criminal. The act in and of itself should lead to police being relieved of their jobs.
Kim says the main person behind her problems was the man who ran the convalescent hospital in Lincoln City; Anthony Knippers. That aspect of her story will be fully detailed in another report. Right now it is all about Pinnacle Healthcare Inc. and their current role in this woman's despair.
Robert Lamb was the head of nursing (DNS) at South Hills Nursing Home in Eugene. He is the person who made the first 9-1-1 call about Kim as she lay sleeping in her bed. He told Eugene Police Dispatch that she was extremely dangerous and that they should hurry up and get there.
"And he was the main party at the nursing home harassing, menacing, and stalking me every day to a point where Julie, my friend of over 14 years who is a registered nurse talked, and decided I should call the police for relief, but the police refused to come, and as a result this gave the parties at South Hills free reign to further abuse me, and concoct their plan of felony false statements to police that led to my being brutalized, assaulted by a 4-member Swat team from the Eugene Police, namely Jay Worden and 'Officer Stewart' but all four as a collaborative, traumatizing, painful effort."
Even if Kim Petitt was violent and suicidal, which she emphasizes was never the case, and by all accounts is the case, it seems police might not require a SWAT team to contact a sleeping disabled woman in a convalescent home who had been through a hard day of medical treatment as Sacred Heart Hospital.
She recalls men yelling at her and then the words, "We can do this the easy way or the hard way". Sleeping, Kim didn't wake up in time to do it "the easy way" and the next thing she knew she was being placed into a police car and taken to a mental ward.
Her following statement has been checked out; in and of itself it is a damning indictment above and beyond the problems involving Petitt.
"There were other nurses who deliberately placed false statements into my medical records at South Hills, Dolores 'Di Di' King, Bobby Baker, of course Robert Lamb who has since been fired for carrying on a sexual relationship with Cassondra Wilkinson, a Med Aide who turned up dead in her bed one morning where her 15-year old daughter found her, but until then no action had been taken against Robert Lamb."
She recalls Lamb having a problem according to some of the CNA's she talked to at the convalescent center, being challenged by women who stood their ground with him.
"I personally observed this in him when I with dignity and control, stood up to him when he continued to menace me," Petitt said.
It became obvious to Kim Petitt that there was no hope in following the path citizens in her shoes are supposed to take. The Board of Nursing was ignoring the complaints about her medical charts being falsely modified with statements reflecting that she was 'mentally ill' which of course was a not very original yet still widely used method of squashing a person's credibility.
The apparent decision of the OSBN's Holly Mercer to not act upon Petitt's very serious complaints calls into question the very integrity of the agency charged with ensuring nursing is above the board and not corrupted by personal interests or sloppy care. (For nurses, false record keeping is addressed by one of the main oaths that nurses adhere to because the ramifications are serious for the victim.
Still, Kim Petitt kept trying to reach Mercer and see if she would actually perform her taxpayer funded job.
"I was told by the clerk that answers the phone that the Board has all of my complaints and I did not need to file new ones because they would thoroughly investigate all the complaints. But they never did except for William 'Billie' Dickson and Robert Lamb, the two white males that called in the false 9-1-1 calls on the same day/night."
That night of course is when Kim Petitt had a terrible nightmare that was no nightmare. She has the phone records and recordings and thus can assemble the timeline that led to her Eugene PD 'SWAT' arrest.
She says Lamb called police earlier in the daytime, and 'Billie' Dickson called them in the evening after Kim had returned from Sacred Heart, at approximately 9:00 p.m.
The arrest led to Kim quickly being seen by a doctor who immediately knew she was not a mental patient and released her. Even though the doctors at Sacred Heart had released Kim with a clean bill of health, when she returned, as noted earlier in this article, the South Hills Nursing Home staff in Eugene refused to let this sick woman back into the building.
Out in the Cold
"I had a clean bill of mental health from the doctors there, but was locked out as I was forced to sit on a cold green, iron patio chair, knocking on the front door every 10 or so minutes while the employees from inside just stood at the windows jeering, taunting, and pointing at me as I froze. I was bleeding profusely, in a great deal of pain, no meds for the afternoon or evening, only a thin blue gown on and a thin jacket, severe migraines and was very faint nearly delusional from the pain and cold. It was about 36 degrees."
Later, Kim says the Board of Nursing Home Licensing & Administration's investigator Janet Bartel, led her to believe early on that she was entirely disgusted with Pinnacle Healthcare Inc.
She recalls Bartel talking about her disappointment and deep frustration Pinnacle; the company that owns both nursing homes and several others.
"She found out who the insurance liability information was for them through her other State contacts, and she faxed it to me herself encouraging me to file an insurance liability claim against them, and she also told me that what Anthony Knippers did and what both nursing homes were doing to me was so heinously against the law and violated nursing home board statutes, etc., and to make certain to get both my complaints back to her ASAP. In the process of her so-called long, overdue investigation outcome, she was removed from the case because she had compromised the investigation by being too friendly with me. I did consider her a good person and friendly and who I thought was on my side for obvious reasons. But she let me down in the end."
Kim was seriously disappointed when Bartel, along with Lori Nelson, the Oregon State DHS Discrimination Investigator, sent out on 12 October 2010 what she called, "A frivolous 18-page mumbo jumbo report" and cc'd it to as many as 30+ people via email including other State agencies where Kim had complaints pending about the nursing homes, etc.
Kim believes that it was simply an effort to smear her. This is very similar to the tactics played out against William Coleman during his long ordeal of retaliation faced because he was a racism Whistleblower. If nothing else, she believe that Robert Lamb would be in trouble for his involvement in her seemingly ridiculous treatment.
"Even with the restraining order I obtained where Judge Eveleen Henry found there was abuse, that I was forced to get against Robert Lamb - head of nursing (DNS) at South Hills Nursing Home in Eugene, Holly Mercer - director of Board refused to take any disciplinary action against Lamb."
No Hiding Racism Like This
Along the way, reaching out to the appropriate agencies, Petitt got a real earful from Barbara Jaye of the Lane County Senior and Disabled Office.
Petitt describes what she saw as offensive, racist statements, when Jaye said:
"We're all White out here so why would even someone like you move out here? You need to use proper grammar and better English when you speak, especially Living out here with all of us White people."
When Kim told the woman about her serious physical problems, and explained that she had fainted, Jaye replied by saying, "Oh, you got dizzy and fell, but you got back up right? You got right back up? No, we don't have any funding or resources and it's not racially diverse out here for you; not sure why you moved out here"
That is what Lori Nelson's main focus of the investigation was to be, Kim says, "But she would inadvertently send me dysfunctional emails concluding to me that she was all over the place and was not focused. This gave me room for concern over months' time so I finally contacted her supervisor for explanation. After I did this is when Lori Nelson sent out the rambling, slanderous and frivolous 18-page report."
I'm sure many of our readers already get this, but this type of behavior has to change. I don't know if it is going to be John Kitzhaber, Oregon's incoming return governor; he might really be able to help if he sets his mind to it, but will he have time to keep people like Kim from falling this far?
Kim concluded by saying:
"It is so hard to get justice when you're Black and telling the truth in Oregon; I know other citizens have bad experiences but the stakes are much more different when you are Black; that's just the facts.
"The State offices knowing that you're being honest, only mission is to shut you down therefore leaving the door open to many more abuses and they occur in droves. They want a Black person or disabled person to have no ammunition against the persecutors who are 9 times out of 10, white, so they lie and conspire against you illegally to make you look like you are a complaining fool, or to have no credibility when they have overwhelming evidence to prove otherwise and the guilt of the parties being complained against.
"The offices are not diverse in staff and there are a few Black people working in these State offices, or some other people of color, but they are not in authoritative positions, no positions of supervisor so they cannot or will not act by law. I have found that they are reluctant to take proper, lawful action because they are cowards afraid they will lose their jobs."
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