A Farmington Hills mom says she was left to die inside a group home. Now, she is telling her story to warn others about how quickly anyone could go from living a normal life, to having their life taken over--- legally, through a court-ordered guardianship.
“I had no rights. Anything they said, anywhere they put me, I couldn’t say no,” Niki Disner told 7 Investigator Heather Catallo.
Disner walks now, because she can. Just a few years ago, she was in a wheelchair – and the thought of walking without a walker seemed impossible.
“I had to dig myself out of a grave-- like a grave where people threw dirt on me. I had to dig myself out,” said Disner.
Disner says back in 2009, she got in a car accident on the way to pick up her daughter from school.
“It was horrific,” said Disner.
Disner says after being put on morphine in the hospital, like so many Americans fighting opiate addiction -- she got hooked on pain meds.
When Disner asked for help getting her bills paid and her daughter cared for, she says the attorney she hired to fight her car insurance company got her a court-appointed guardian.
“They’re like, you don’t have to go to court, we’re going to take care of all this for you,” said Disner.
Disner agreed to having a local lawyer become her guardian. But what this single mom didn’t realize is that a legal guardian can have total say over where you live, which doctors you see and what you do.
“I no longer had any rights,” said Disner.
Disner says the doctors chosen for her put her on a fentanyl patch, plus other narcotic pain killers and muscle relaxers.
“I don’t even think they give that much medication to someone who’s dying of end stage cancer. I could not think. I couldn’t walk,” said Disner.
Disner says some of the guardian’s caregivers were emotionally abusive, and after a year, she demanded change.
That’s when lawyer and Attorney General-appointed Public Administrator Barry Seifman took over, both as Disner’s Limited Guardian and as the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust for the $230,000 settlement from her car accident.
“So I got like $150,000, minus the attorney fees,” said Disner.
Court records indicate Seifman billed from those funds, and with 24/7 health care for Disner, within 10 months – the money was nearly gone.
“By this time, I was in a wheelchair because I was so debilitated. I could no longer urinate on my own because the drugs were affecting me, just shutting down my body, shutting down my functions. So, I had to be catheterized,” said Disner.
Disner says the next thing she knew, her daughter was sent to live with her ex. And then, she received even more devastating news: court records show Seifman moved Disner to an unlicensed group home in Oak Park.
Disner says the home was not wheelchair accessible. She says for the next 7 weeks, she was rarely moved from her bed.
“I didn’t get a shower. My teeth were never brushed. They don’t know how to catheter. So, whatever they were doing was causing injury,” said Disner.
Disner says over the 4th of July, the caregivers all vanished, leaving Niki and a woman who was a double-amputee stranded in their bedrooms.