Events Leading to the Involuntary Holding of Reverend Dr. Robert Bennett
Reverend Dr. Robert Bennett is an 86-year-old retired Episcopal priest. In 2019, Upon the insistence of his stepdaughter Malica Aronowitz, he had cataract surgery. The surgery was not successful. Thereafter, his ophthalmologist recommended corneal transplant surgery. Robert was not in favor of the surgery. Upon the insistence of his stepdaughter, Malica Aronowitz, the surgery was scheduled and performed. The surgery did not vastly improve his sight. He did not possess peripheral vision. A couple days after the surgery, while wearing the molded plastic eye-covering, Robert fell. Concerned, his wife Marceline inquired if he were all right. He said that he felt fine and did not want to seek medical help.
The next morning after the fall, Robert began to complain of nausea. The nausea settled. He and his wife, Marceline Bennett ate breakfast and attended an estate sale. While at the estate sale, Robert vomited in the hallway of the facility. Marceline called her daughter Malica Aronowitz who told them to go the nearest hospital, Beth Israel in Needham, Massachusetts.
Accompanied by his wife and a friend, Maria Sensale, Robert arrived at the hospital with a presumed head injury. They were forced to endure a considerable wait time. Finally, they were told that the hospital did not have the proper equipment and Robert should be transported by ambulance to Beth Israel of Boston. Marceline and Maria drove in a separate automobile to the hospital.
Tests were performed including a CT Scan. Marceline could not get the results of the test from any nurse or attendant. Finally, two doctors entered the room but addressed all comments to Marceline’s daughter, Malica. Malica gave the doctors papers of some sort. Upon requesting to speak to the doctors, Marceline was told that they were busy and had to leave. Robert was required to remain in the hospital for further testing.
Meanwhile, Marceline discovered that her daughter, Malica, had given the doctors a Health Care Proxy declaring herself as the person making health decisions for Robert. Marceline or Robert were unaware of the existence of this Health Care Proxy. Don McInnis, a probate lawyer and neighbor of twenty years was contacted. According to Robert’s wishes, Attorney McInnis drafted a new Health Care Proxy designating, Marceline Donaldson, Robert’s wife as his Health Care Proxy. The Proxy was witnessed by Ms. Trudy Van Slyck, a friend of twenty to thirty years. Because the Proxy that Malica Aronowitz was of an earlier date, Attorney McInnis advised that it was invalidated with the creation of the new Health Care Proxy.
As a follow-up to his hospital visit, Robert’s Primary Care Physician, Dr. Glenn S. Kehlman, of the Washington Square Group scheduled an office visit. Marceline and Malica accompanied Robert to the office visit. After taking Robert’s vitals and requesting that he walk the hallway, he was declared in good health. Marceline gave a representative in Dr Kehlman’s office a copy of Robert’s new Health Care Proxy. The representative accepted the document.
A few months later Robert sustained a second fall when forced to use the rear stairs of their home while upgrades were taking place on the front stairs. The rear stairs were not frequently used and unfamiliar to Robert. His lack of peripheral vision limited his maneuvering on the stairs.
Marceline called Dr. Kehlman’s office and asked to speak to him relative to Robert’s fall. The person with whom she spoke stated that Dr. Kehlman was busy. He was preparing for vacation and would not have time to return her call. She inquired if they could recommend a neurologist that she could secure an appointment for Robert. The representative stated that they did not know any neurologist.
After contacting friends, one friend Desiree Ivey, Executive Director of Teaching at Shady Hills, recommended Dr. David Pilgrim, Chief Neurologist at Brigham and Women in Jamaica Plain, Mass.
Meanwhile, Robert had a scheduled appointment with his Podiatrist, Dr. Green. Malica called to say that Dr. Green’s office notified her that Robert’s appointment which occurred every five to six months had been canceled. Because Robert’s nails were in need of cutting, Marceline called Dr. Green’s office to reschedule Robert’s appointment as soon as possible. Dr. Green’s office stated that they had not called to cancel an appointment. Instead, Malica called them to cancel Robert’s appointment. But they stated that the original appointment was still available. Marceline accepted the time slot.
Marceline received a call from friend, Desiree Ivey. She stated that she had spoken to Dr. Pilgrim. Dr. Pilgrim advised that Marceline call 911 for an ambulance and have Robert taken to Massachusetts General.
An ambulance was called. Robert was taken to Massachusetts General where he was examined by a neurologist and Marceline was told that he needed brain surgery to drain the fluids from his brain cavity. Marceline further learned that Dr. Kehlman should have recommended Robert to a neurologist as a follow-up to his Beth Israel visit. Perhaps there would have been a difference in his medical condition. Perhaps the hemorrhaging would have been taken care of earlier.
Robert had surgery. Stints were placed to eliminate the pressure and the fluid. The surgery was successful. And, he recovered and was discharged from Mass. General on or about February 27, 2020.
During his stay at Massachusetts General, Malica Aronowitz gave the hospital a Health Care Proxy declaring herself as Robert’s Health Care Proxy. However, upon Robert’s admittance, Marceline submitted to Massachusetts General the current and updated Health Care Proxy declaring Marceline Donaldson, Robert’s wife as his Health Care Proxy.
Upon discharge, Massachusetts General referred Robert to Sherrill House for rehab. Robert decided to follow their suggestion since Sherrill House was supported by and had a long history with the Episcopal Church. As a retired Episcopal priest, Robert thought that the spiritual connection was a good thing.
On the day that Robert was admitted to Sherrill House, they waited a considerable amount of time before being cared for by nursing personnel. Upon asking questions at the Nurse’s station, Marceline was told that all nurses were busy. About 10 minutes later, a nurse arrived and instructed Robert that he was to remain in bed. Should he have a need to use the bathroom, he was to ring for help. When the urge to use the bathroom arose, Robert rang the bell. A nurse arrived 45 minutes later. The delinquency in arrival, caused him to experience the humiliation of an accident.
Upon arrival the next day to visit Robert at Sherrill House, Marceline was told that no visitors were allowed on the second floor because 4 patients had the flu. Marceline called Robert on the telephone. They, Robert and Marceline, decided it was best for Robert to go home.
Monday evening about 9-9:30 pm, a policeman rang their doorbell in response to a call request for a “wellness check.” Upon hearing Marceline talking to the policeman, Robert went to the door out of his concern for his wife addressing a policeman alone at that hour of the night. The policeman apologized and said that everything looked fine. He apologized for the intrusion.
The next morning eight white policemen arrived at the door with five or six EMT personnel, all white. They said that they were there to take Robert to Mount Auburn Hospital. Robert said that he did not want to go to the hospital, he had just been discharged and had no reason to return to a hospital. The policeman stated that Robert had no choice. If he refused, they would physically carry him out of the house.
The police did not have a hard copy of a court order. The police showed Marceline a cell phone and told her that the order was on the phone and she could not touch the cell phone. After extended conversations, the police forcibly entered the house. Marceline asked that they take Robert to Massachusetts General for continuity of care instead of Mount Auburn Hospital. Robert was placed on a gurney and taken to Massachusetts General.
Robert was admitted to the hospital on a Section 12 order. An order that is used for incarceration of those who are a threat to themselves or others, drug addicts, alcoholics or persons experiencing a mental or psychotic episode. Robert had none of those. He has never had mental problems, did not drink, did not use drugs nor has ever had a mental or psychotic encounter.
Being admitted to the hospital on a Section 12 order, he would be subjected to psychiatric examinations. We waited in the examination room for an available psychiatrist. The psychiatrist arrived to examine Robert at 2:30 am Wednesday morning. After examination, the psychiatrist stated that there was no reason for Robert to be there. The Section 12 order was lifted, and he was released for home. Robert and Marceline were given discharge papers.
On Thursday morning, Robert and Marceline went for a walk around the Charles River. They also walked around Harvard Square. They met friends and sat by the river for a period of time before returning home.
On Friday, Robert’s son and daughter arrived to visit with him and spend the weekend. About 6 pm Friday evening, the police arrived again with a Section 12 order and a Protective Order accusing Marceline of abusing her husband. He was to return to Massachusetts General. The Protective Order invalidated the current Health Care Proxy designating Marceline Donaldson, his wife, as Robert’s Proxy. Instead, the Court placed into practice the Health Care Proxy that Malica Aronowitz drafted without his knowledge or signature. Malica Aronowitz engaged Cambridge Elder Services as cohorts in her unauthorized proxy.
Currently, Robert remains in the hospital under the Section 12 Order. Marceline has not been able to secure his discharge or release.
For a period, Marceline was allowed to see Robert for a half-hour each day with the presence of a Security Guard. Then, in a two -week period, she was allowed a total of three visitation sessions. Each day upon arrival, Marceline was given various reasons for not granting visitation to see Robert, i.e., the hospital did not have sufficient staff to allow her visit. Most recently, upon arrival, Marceline was told by Security Guard, Robert DuBois that she could not see Robert because Robert had filed a restraining order against her. That statement was not true. Security Guard DuBois insisted that should Marceline not leave the hospital; he would physically throw her out of the hospital.
Throughout this entire ordeal, Marceline Donaldson Bennett has acted in the best interest of her husband, Reverend Dr. Robert Bennett. At this time, her prime interest is to solicit assistance in the release of her husband so that he, as an 86-year old man, can enjoy a peaceful life.