Right to Die - Right to Live
Witnessed, involuntary euthanasia of my father:

On Easter Sunday 3/31/13, I contacted my elderly father’s wife for a visit with my dad. I knew from previous visits he was getting dementia. I trusted his wife completely in caring for him, they had been married more than 20 years and together more than 40 years. Although she had animosity towards his kids, she allowed me supervised visits. A couple days later I received her call confirming the visit and she informed me of a particular hospice that had taken over “his case”. Not totally understanding why dad had “a case”; but, at the time the hospice name was comforting due to many local commercials that were favorable in my mind. An old guy fishing, ad stating, “Where end of life is a part of living” and “The sooner you call the sooner we can help.”

At my visit to the home, there was my dad, drugged on a death bed, his wife and a very nice caregiver watching; no nurses or doctors, no IV for hydration and he was zapped! I had my 4-year- old daughter with me as I approached the bed dad woke, but barely. He opened his eyes, looked at me and cracked a joke and smiled. He looked at his granddaughter and asked jokingly, “Who is that with you?”, smiling at her; but, he was too drugged to pick her up. He was not dying and from my years of home caregiving for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, I noticed the red flags in this home-care of death environment and I immediately started questioning.

Shocked at the wife’s sarcasm at a time when her husband was supposedly dying, she revealed quite proudly to me that it was her choice, not the docs, to drug him and take him off his life sustaining medications to pass away just weeks before my visit, without informing anyone, even his kids. Further, she revealed the doctors wanted her to put him in a nursing home instead of her plan to end his life. When I questioned the caregiver regarding the lethargic meds, she seemed to be in agreement that the drugs were necessary because dad was aggressive. Knowing my dad, the family history and the current demeanor of the wife, I was seeing a very different picture.

I left and started making calls. I had called a couple top nursing home directors regarding placement, I knew dad had money to pay for the best facility, his much younger wife was frustrated with the caregiving and she had started end-of- life with a local hospice that had him too drugged; I was told unfortunately, there probably would be nothing I could do, it is a common practice with this hospice and similar cases happen all the time.

I called the hospice administrator and they would not speak to me, stating only they could take my call; but since I was not on their list they could not give me any info, even though it was my dad and I was his only surviving biological daughter. I gave them desperate pleas that dad and his wife had marital troubles for years and to please not allow the wife drugs to zap him, he did not trust her, I knew this if they had only asked me beforehand; she had threated to leave him for years over money and I just had a hunch something was wrong. Her years of animosity towards his kids stemmed only from us being an obvious threat to the money. After multiple calls to the hospice, finally the wife allowed me to be on the list.

Once I got on the list, I pushed to find out why so many drugs! Even though he was being zapped with something, his personality was still viable and he was not dying-I just visited him weeks before. The only thing I could get out of the hospice was to seriously consider my request for a face-to- face meeting; which the wife denied, stating all my concerns would have to be answered by the hospice-but they could not answer my questions. When I explained to the hospice, this is abuse and they should call adult protective services; the face-to- face meeting was granted. The wife was right, she was the one that had control of the prescribed drugs being filtered through hospice and she had dad well under control with the drugs; no MD management in the home and excessive use of narcotics.

At the face-to- face meeting, I wanted to know two things. First was his living will followed and secondly was the drug-induced state dad’s choice. His case manager stating, “yes”; his living will was being followed and that it was his choice to have this hospice method. I did not find out until 6 months after death, I was lied to on that day to cover up a hastened death in progress; my biggest regret is that I did not call APS. But, in retrospect, the laws are such that I would have been interfering with someone’s death, which is a crime in the state of Kentucky. Then, his nurse, Nurse Joanie, telling me it was too late to reverse the drug-induced state because his organs had already started to shut down. Still today I wonder if this was also a lie. All I could do was accept, cry my tears and say my goodbyes; but, I still felt it was a manufactured death, it took an additional 10 days for him to pass.
The day of his death I receive the call to come to the house. I found the wife’s daughter kneeling beside his dead body. An odd sight since she hated my dad. The day after his death, the wife wasted no time to cover up her role in his hastened death with a call to me; I was not to discuss the way my dad died at the funeral home visitation. My thoughts for the moment were, “How did he die?”; although in the days after the face-to-face meeting with her and the hospice I had my suspicions that something still was just not right-all those feelings immediately reengaged in my mind with that one phone call. She killed him!

At the funeral visitation, I noticed strange behaviors from the wife, not a typical grieving widow; but, the tears could be turned on for a show. It was typical though, her and her daughter always knew how to work a scene. The wife was bragging to others about high ticket items she had purchased weeks before ending dad’s life; items I knew dad would never let her buy. I called the funeral home to see if all was recorded on camera, including her closely sitting with another man three sofas away from dad’s coffin.

After the funeral, I wondered why I had not been contacted regarding dad’s estate, in the manner as dad had stated would be. Although, it was expected, I still wanted answers especially regarding why he had to die so soon. I called his attorney, expecting a call back from him, instead I received a call from an attorney in the office; it was strange that his attorney would not call me back. The attorney that called me informed me I should get a probate attorney and that dad’s attorney did not know “what his role was in all of it”. “All of what?”, I thought. Further, I was told that dad’s attorney was in the role of a fiduciary. “Fiduciary?”, I questioned. Like Allice in the rabbit hole, things were just getting curiouser and couriouser!

I chose not to contest dad’s estate out of respect for him. I knew his wife did something to ensure she would get it all and I just did not want, what would appear to be, a wicked step-mother court case; her hate towards his kids was without cause, it was about the money. Dad loved his wife and he had every right to change his estate to keep her-I already knew that was what was done; although, his attorney did not formally state it to me until 3 years after dad’s death. Sad, but I did want answers as to how and why he had to die so soon; it was obvious that death bed was manufactured for him and I just knew the wife had a role in it. What I didn’t know is how dad had made the choice.

Six months after death I received a 177 page document from the hospice showing the info I suspected, including dad’s dialogue of him fighting the forced death process; and that of his wife, who was divorcing him, making multiple requests for calming meds- labeling him as aggressive to get the meds. She was given an unlimited arsenal and it was not by dad’s choice; she alone signed him up to end his life and it did not require any medical or psych exam. But, I still wondered, “How did she have the right?”

His living will had listed a Successor health care surrogate, his attorney, the fiduciary, to make decisions in the final stages of life. But, like his kids, the attorney was not involved in any of the decisions for hospice election, in fact, my guess is the first his attorney was informed of hospice to end dad's life was the day after my Easter visit request; the wife looking for a way to cover her tracks since someone (me) would soon discover her plan to put him (my dad) in the grave without anyone’s knowledge and dad was still very much alive. This is in fact the first day in the hospice documentation the wife starts conversations with the hospice employees about his kids, lies though; but, she attempts to reason a cover up since she never told his kids!

It was after the face to face meeting the attorney was called in by the hospice to sign and cover up the living will violations to document “final stages” as stated in dad's directive; I so discovered through grievances filed with the hospice. Dad had been given sedative meds for over three weeks at that point and he could no longer swallow, the attorney had no choice; but, the MD that prescribed the drugs admits in her response through grievances I filed with Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure that dad was not in final stages on day one of hospice end of life. On day four his life sustaining meds were withheld at the request of the wife to Nurse Joanie, after this, dad looses much of his fight-his dialogue stops; this removal of life-sustaining treatments was to be authorized by the Successor health care surrogate, his attorney. I believe it was this attorney that the wife consulted with for me to be approved to be on the hospice list to receive the information and get the face-to- face meeting. If it weren’t for me being on the list, I would have never known how my dad died.

It was hard for me to believe that a hospice would enter dad's home for the purpose of ending his life at the request of a wife and document specifically the dialogue of his unwillingness to have them in his home or take their off-label  narcotic and psych meds; yet, still continue with the terminal sedation dying process during a time he was responding to treatments and not in final stages of life, but that is exactly what was done.  All was done without patient choice, without notification to the ones he wanted to make the decision or his biological family- not even the presence of a doctor was in the home; it was done at the request of the wife and her family, whom I believe was her daughter only. It was not too difficult for me to process the wife making multiple requests for calming meds to zap him, she was abusive to him for years and dad put up with it to keep his wife, she was a trophy; in retrospect, I believe she was stock piling meds to zap him when I visited, but when others and his attorney visited she had him less drugged. She did not want him telling me what was going on and she knew I was the only one he would have told of the horror he was subjected to by her and this hospice for two weeks prior to my visit. She knew I would have labeled the aggression as marital troubles, that would have started an investigation to the attorney that would verify her plans of divorce; instead of divorce, she signs him up for hospice to end his life against the doctor’s orders and against his directive. Had I made my call to APS the day I discovered the death bed, at least I would have got the one he wanted involved in his final stages of life, his attorney.  But, even the attorney could have been arrested for interfeering with someone's death, it violates Kentucky's right to die case law.

After reading the hospice documentation, since I made the choice not to contest dad's trust, I had no legal standing in dad’s estate-part of the wife’s plan; therefore, the information I have is from complaints and grievances I filed to get further answers as to why this happened to my dad.  Some of the info is of public record with the state of Kentucky and some only available with the hospice, forever consealed under protected health information laws.  The operating inspector general stated my allegations to be correct, violations in living will, violation in patient rights and abuse; but because the doctor signed a DNR, a doc that was never in the home, it is all OK-they only deal with violations in CMS guidelines, not criminal acts. In a grievance through the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure I discovered the wife labeled dad unable to make his medical decisions by getting letters, over the phone, from his doctors claiming him to be incompetent; the letters were used as a qualifier for hospice election! The hospice stating in a letter to me:  On day one dad could not state his prognosis, diagnosis or plan or care.  They could really clean out a nursing home with that criteria. So, das's wife trumped his living will by claiming him incompetent for the purpose of using a in-home hospice, terminal sedation, to obtain narcotics and psychotrophic drugs for marital aggressive behaviors to ultimately kill him off; this is how my dad died!  All was done in a state where use of chemical restraints in the incompetent to control behaviors is illegal!

There was such a cover up with dad’s death, he currently has 5 different documented causes of death and the cause of death on his death certificate, "head injury" , is a cause of death for which hospice should have never been called, it required an autopsy; my guess is the wife modified his cause of death to accidental to collect more money off life insurance policies. She claimed a suspicious fall in the home four months prior as a cause of death, even though he recovered and was responding to treatments. On his day of death, Nurse Joanie documents to the coroner his cause of death as "respiratory failure", a common side effect of morphine toxicity; she was aware all along he was being terminally sedated to hasten his death with off-label narcotics administered at the approval of the wife. 

I still remain with a lot of unanswered questions, including the involvement of her daughter, who worked in the area of pharmaceutical and durable medical equipment sales. I believe she had a working relationship with the hospice and/or home care company involved. The changes to dad’s estate that occurred the last year or so of his life were to benefit her only and had mom’s divorce gone through she would have inherited nothing; she had motive and I still wonder about that suspicious fall in his home-catastrophic event the hospice translated to “history of falls” to justify further qualification to end his life. The daughter had to have played a role in the use of a hospice terminal sedation as a smoking gun! It was the perfect assisted homicide!

I discovered the reason for the supervised visits, they were all done before he went brain dead when the panic set in he desperately grabbed for me; after that the wife no longer supervised my visits-he passed 5 days later. Her motive being to prevent a lucid interval trust or will, Kentucky’s minimal standard for establishing testamentary capacity; as if I would have pulled out such a document for him to sign on his death bed. Two women really did their homework on this plan and all said here offers a rare glimpse of what hospices are really doing-using heirs to an estate to institutionalize the terminal, demented, elderly and disabled to end their life using terminal sedation. All is done without patient knowledge or choice; dead patients do not file criminal complaints and only heirs to the estate have the right to sue the hospice for a wrongful death. Dad’s case is a textbook example of a perfect plan, right down to the end, how to get someone’s money using coercion and kill them off using terminal sedation; but, dad had the right to live out his life with his dementia and other health conditions. Two women should not have had the right to end his life using terminal sedation of a hospice. The policies of Kentucky hospice need to change.

It was my hope that the policies of this hospice had changed since dad’s death in 2013. Through complaints and grievances I filed after I received the 177 page document, they are fully aware a hospice was used to hasten dad’s death by heirs to his estate. I believe the hospice was aware of the changed estate document on day one and that is why I was ignored and lied to at the face-to- face meeting; they knew I had no legal standing in his estate, therefore I had no voice in his death. The MD that prescribed the meds stated I did not complain until after his death, as an indication my complaints were because of being disinherited from his estate; no, my complaints were due to her medical license being used by her employer to administer excessive off-label narcotics to a spouse that had motive to kill her husband. They are aware this is happening and it even still is today. I received a call in August of 2016 regarding a woman I knew dying in hospice care, hospice nurse telling siblings their sister was not dying, only drugged; they only needed to get her off the drugs and into an nursing home to live out her days. But, because the daughter wanted her mother dead, she was the executrix of the estate and the one to inherit the bounty of the estate, the nurse was shut up and the woman was dead in about a week. By January 2018 a sister informed me, this same dauthter had killed off her dad and was working on a third family member.  Hospice terminal sedation is a murder weapon and no one wants this happening to them and we are all at risk if it continues; terminal sedation is not a peaceful death. Death most likely comes from a common side effect of morphine toxicity, respiratory failure, complicated by dehydration, malnutrition and infection.

My motive for writing this is not the disinheritance of dad’s estate, it was expected and I have never lived my life expecting money at dad’s death. His wife had hatred towards his kids only because of the money and dad would have never given her a reason to bad-mouth him beyond his grave; his favorite charity would have been the recipient had the divorce gone through-The Salvation Army. My motive is to raise awareness to get hospices to have life-promoting polices and focus on a patient's right to live out their condition. The general public does not realize what can happen to us as we age, and what is happening; they are using right to die laws, Kentucky’s case law, to usher in death at the request of heirs to the individuals estate. The fact that this hospice is still operating under the same policies in Kentucky is just not acceptable; it is too late for my dad.

Vicky Saling, Choices Right To Live
[email protected]

Dad’s obituary states:
Those left to mourn him are his beloved wife, Almettie; daughters, Vicky Saling (Robert), and Kristina Colston Schad (Parke); son, Tim Colston

In lieu of flowers the family has requested that expressions of sympathy be made to Hosparus in memory of Mr. Colston.

It was never my choice to have any money donated to this hospice as stated in dad’s obituary. Instead, I suggest any donations be made to organizations that promote life-sustaining options for the elderly demented. Some are listed below.

Since dad’s death, Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has posted a POLST on their website. This document is one of the best ways to protect yourself from such a situation, you can access it via the link below.