Hi. I’m new to the forum and in desperate need of advice and guidance. I have reason to believe that my stepmother has criminally neglected my elderly father and mentally disabled half-brother. My father has been ill for quite some time, in and out of ICU repeatedly over the past year for various severe medical conditions. His wife “works” out of the country in places like Bermuda and Cayman Islands, and more often than not (per her social media posts) she can be found drinking and partying while away—she is away more than she is home. The last time he was in ICU, she refused to board a plane home to be by his side.
While she is on the islands, it is left to my mentally disabled brother to care for my father. While he does what he can, my brother cannot drive and can barely take care of himself let alone a very sick elderly person. He receives no assistance from my other half-brothers, and my sister and I live too far away. He does not have a regular medically-trained caregiver coming to the home to assist in his care.
A few days ago my father collapsed and his heart stopped. My brother had to perform chest compressions until the paramedics arrived which thankfully kept my father alive. As per usual, my stepmother was in Bermuda “working.” My father is now again in the ICU and may have suffered brain damage. He is currently unresponsive and on a ventilator, has stage 4 kidney failure, low blood count, pneumonia, and MRSA from old wounds that have not healed properly. They are not sure if he will pull through and, if he does, he will need round-the-clock care. When I spoke to the ICU nurse, she said that he was “filthy” when he arrived at the hospital, had obviously not taken care of himself, and had not been proactive in keeping up with medical treatment and medications.
My stepmother has not shown any interest in providing or assisting in my father’s care. Prior to the latest hospitalization, she had contacted myself and other family members claiming that she and my brothers couldn’t take anymore and that she wants to put him in a home. She has complained that he has become a “burden” and, according to one family member, has stated that she “wishes he would die.” During his previous stay in ICU, she claimed that she could not leave Bermuda. My mentally disabled brother was left alone with no food and no transportation as my other brothers refused to help him, and I had to have groceries delivered to their home so he could eat. My sister traveled long-distance to check in on our father at the hospital since no one else would (I was unable as I was readying for another long-distance trip to provide assistance to my mother and stepfather for another medical emergency). My stepmother did not arrive home until after my father was released, and she left to go back to Bermuda soon after.
In the time between the previous ICU stay and the current one, my stepmother has been away most of the time. My mentally disabled brother has tried his best to care for our dad, but he is very limited on the care he can provide due to his own disability. I feel that this is a clear case of neglect by my stepmother—of both my father and my brother. Even worse, she called me today and said that I should come say goodbye as she is prepared to sign papers to take my father off life support despite the doctors and nurses saying that they won’t know anything for at least a week. I want very much to report her for neglect, but I am worried that doing so will cause her to remove me from my father’s emergency contacts and limit my access to information on his condition. To make matters worse, she has repeatedly contacted my elderly aunts (who I am responsible for their care) in an attempt to solicit money and telling them that their brother is going to die. This has become very stressful for them and has made it hard for me as I am trying to keep them calm.
To put it mildly, I’m very concerned for all involved. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.