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Independence man charged with involuntary manslaughter

Honoring our elderly parent's wishes regarding their healthcare can be a slippery slope. Many of our seniors live on a limited fixed income and the thought of going to a hospital for treatment and the subsequent medical bills are overwhelming. However, it is important to use good judgment when their health has diminished to where they have stopped responding and eating. If medical care isn't pursued at this point, it is possible that charges may be issued against the caregiver(s) -- as a Kansas man recently found out.

A 52-year-old Independence man is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with his mother's November 1, 2011 death.

According to Jackson County prosecutors, the man neglected his 74-year-old mother and let her live in terrible conditions. Prosecutors allege that the man did not provide her with the food and medical care she needed. An autopsy revealed that the woman died from complications of sepsis and infected decubitus ulcers -- otherwise known as bedsores.

The pair lived in the 300 block of N. Peck Drive. The man told detectives his mother wanted to die at home. He said she refused to have a doctor help her or to be taken to a hospital.

The man claimed his mother's final meal was October 23. It was then that he believed his mother suffered from a stroke because she did not move from her recliner after that point.

Emergency workers summoned to help the woman on October 27 reported the house smelled so putrid they wore air masks while assisting her. According to police, conditions at the house were so unsanitary it needs to be condemned.

Prosecutors charged the man with forgery shortly after the woman's death. They allege he cashed a government check in her name. However, the check was dated three days after her death.

Prosecutors added the involuntary manslaughter charge after medical examiners listed the woman's cause of death as homicide in their recently released autopsy report.

The man is being held in jail. Prosecutors have asked for a $100,000 bond.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Independence man charged in mother's neglect-related death," Tony Rizzo, Dec. 22, 2011.

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