Go Into Hospital For Hernia Surgery; Get Grabbed By The State

Charlie Fink is an 85-year-old man in North Texas who had to have surgery for a hernia. That was two weeks ago. He hasn’t been home since. He thought he might never get home—a story that seems familiar.

From Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth:

An elderly North Texas man may be able to go home soon after a hearing took place on Thursday to decide whether or not he should remain in the custody of the state.

For more than a week, FOX 4 has been covering the case of 85-year-old Charlie Fink.

Fink is the man who made a call to FOX 4 asking for help after he went to a local hospital for hernia surgery, then was placed in the psych ward and told the state was taking custody of him.

Fink has been in state care since last week. He went to Richardson Methodist almost two weeks ago to have hernia surgery.

A doctor there (an internist — not a psychiatrist or psychologist) contacted Adult Protective Services because Fink wanted to go home and not to rehab.

Fink was then placed in the psychiatric unit of the hospital.  

Adult Protective Services got a temporary protection order and put Fink in an Arlington nursing home with his wife, who was removed from the home Feb. 5 over concerns regarding Fink’s ability to care for her.

The state wants to keep custody of Fink and seek guardianship.

And they did so without even bothering to get a psychiatric evaluation. They testified that Fink had made dire threats. But the threats were outbursts from Fink when he learned that his wife was being abducted from their home and that they were never to return.

The good news here is that a judge was fair and impartial and that Fink had loving neighbors.

State testimony did not produce any doctor that said Fink lacked the mental capacity to take care of himself, and the state has not done a psychological evaluation of fink since he had been in its custody.

That bothered attorney Geoff Henley, who was observing the hearing

“I was astounded that you could be placed in custody against your will with only the word of a single internist,” he said. “One physician. The statute is very clear about this — you got to have a physician and another physician and at least one of them has to be a psychiatrist.”

Fink’s neighbor, Kenny McIntosh, was at the hearing Thursday. He testified he and his family have already started cleaning Fink’s home, and that he would look after Fink if he returned home.

After a nearly five-hour hearing, the judge ruled that if Fink passes a psychological evaluation Friday, he can return to his home.

Fink’s attorney said the ruling was fair.

It is great living in a political environment where the rule of law is respected. But the only way to keep totalitarianism at bay is by not relying on politics alone. Without neighborliness, society degenerates into tyranny.