Elderly woman claims guardianship program holding her hostage

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Elderly woman fighting for her right to go home, Miya Shay reports. (KTRK)

At 87 years old, Doris Davis planned on enjoying her golden years in her own home, the house she built more than 60 years ago. But these days, she can't even make decisions for herself.

"You done worked and saved your money," said the retired nurse. "And they walk into a place and tell you , you don't have no money, you don't have no house, and you don't have nowhere to live."

In May 2014, Davis says she had a bad headache, wasn't feeling well, and called an ambulance. She somehow ended up at Memorial Hermann Hospital. One thing led to another, and the hospital discharged her to a nursing home. The specific details of how she ended up in a nursing home is murky, but what is clear is that until then, Davis had lived in her own house. During her stay in the nursing home, a doctor at that facility signed papers declaring she was incapacitated. That began a process to place Davis under the guardianship of Harris County, something she never wanted. Almost two years later, she's still there.

"I feel like the system failed her," said Monica Shaw, a neighborhood activist who is trying to help Davis.

Shaw was shocked to learn that Harris County planned to sell Davis's home in order to pay for the guardianship she never wanted.

"That hurt me very deeply, because you know, I built that house, from the very beginning. And you know how I did, I had to pay $10 a month on a lot," recalled Davis, who first moved into the house in the 1950s.

Shaw stopped sale action, and recently got another physician to examine Davis. Court records show that the doctor determined Davis doesn't need a guardian and is not demented. Shaw says it's now up to the probate judge to rule that Davis can go home.

"He has signed the order to place her in this program. So if he signs the new order, she can go home," she said.

However, things are not so simple.

ABC13 talked to Probate Judge Mike Wood over the phone. He says he's waiting for an independent doctor's evaluation. Davis' court appointed attorney says he is still trying to arrange that independent evaluation.

Meanwhile, Harris County says the guardianship program has served county residents in need since 1992. However, it can't comment on specific guardianship cases.

For Davis, that means she must return to the nursing home, and wait.

"I don't want to be there, no."

Related Topics:
elderly womanhospitalhomeHarris County
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