María Irene Fornés is an internationally known playwright who has been dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s for a number of years. She is currently in a nursing home which is several hours from her home of New York City, making it difficult for her community of support to visit her. It has become clear that the more she has visitors to stimulate her the better she does, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Her guardian, who chose the home based on proximity to himself has—by his own admission and the accounts of numerous facility administrators—not made regular visits or inquiries into her care over the past seven years. He is the only family member living in the area and has frequently failed to inform either friends or family of Irene's declining health. On January 4th, the guardian sent a letter to a handful of family members stating his decision to place Irene in "comfort care." During these subsequent weeks, friends have visited around the clock. The guardian never appeared. The guardian's letter also stated that he was "arranging for Hospice care so that someone is with her at all times," which we've learned is not true. Irene has been given neither a feeding tube nor hospice care, leaving her in an increasingly vulnerable and inhumane state. Also, aides and friends have witnessed that after the recent influx of visitors, Irene started eating and drinking with more regularity and her spirits have risen. The guardian has refused or evaded the requests and suggestions of other family members and close friends who have visited her at the home and in the hospital. An ethics committee hearing was never conducted. Because of this situation we feel that Irene staying in Stamford is no longer in her best interest.
We, her community of long term friends, other family members and colleagues would like to appeal: if Maria Irene Fornes is deemed in good condition to be moved, that the guardian allow and participate in her being transferred to an appropriate facility closer to New York City, to be surrounded by her loving community of friends. We ask this in order to both increase the length and quality of her life and to simply enable her to have the most joyous and loving final period of the time she has left.
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