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Author Topic: Man Sentenced to House Arrest for Wife's Death
CoolGal
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posted 17 December 2004 01:26 PM      Profile for CoolGal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A 76-year-old Ottawa man has been sentenced to one year of house arrest for letting his sick wife starve to death.

John Vockeroth has pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to provide the necessities of life for his wife, Lily, who died last year after being found in a filthy bed in their Ottawa home.

A psychiatric report says she refused to go to hospital after a fall, and became so abusive, that her husband just gave up trying to care for her.

Only 1 year for this,Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 17 December 2004 01:31 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nice. I guess he didn't have a telephone or something. Couldn't ask anyone. Couldn't notify a doctor, or request a VON nurse. Whatchagonnado?
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lagatta
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posted 17 December 2004 01:58 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As I suspected, the story is rather more complex, and deeply tragic.

I don't see what good to anyone could come of sentencing that man to prison.


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paxamillion
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posted 17 December 2004 02:06 PM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Lagatta, your link is to a football story.
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Anchoress
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posted 17 December 2004 02:13 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Links:

canoe.ca

Ottawa Citizen


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Sara Mayo
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posted 17 December 2004 02:15 PM      Profile for Sara Mayo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This story gives more details:
quote:
In the summer of 2003, Mrs. Vockeroth fell and complained of hip pain. Instead of going to the hospital, as Mr. Vockeroth said he suggested, she took to her bed and demanded alcohol, becoming verbally abusive when the need wasn't fulfilled. He said he would try to feed her daily, but she would refuse often.

Mr. Vockeroth said his wife was difficult in other ways too and wouldn't co-operate when she soiled herself. During a court ordered psychiatric assessment, Mr. Vockeroth told Dr. John Dimock that two days before she slipped into a coma, she told him to "go to hell" when he suggested she go to the hospital.

...

In a police interview following his arrest, Mr. Vockeroth admitted his wife had asked for assistance at various times during the last months of her life, but he had procrastinated about getting it because he felt to do so would be "delaying the inevitable."

This conclusion was also reached by Dr. Dimock.

...

"It was a sad mistake of not giving her the care she should have had and of not forcing her to go to the hospital," he said. "Those are the things I blame myself for. I gave her food and whatever she wanted, even red wine, and tried to keep her clean, but I must admit, I could have done a much better job of it.

Mr. Vockeroth said he slackened off in his care for his wife, cleaning her "every few days."

"It makes me look pretty callous, which I guess I was," he said.

"In retrospect, I realized I should have insisted she have treatment in hospital before she did."

The sentence of one year house arrest, during which Mr. Vockeroth can only leave home to work, get food, and go to the doctor for the first four months, was a joint position reached by his lawyer, Peter Beach, and Mr. Mack.

...

"However morbidly difficult your wife might have been, you are an intelligent, sophisticated and highly educated man," the judge said to Mr. Vockeroth before imposing the sentence.

"Too intelligent to have allowed the situation in which you both found yourselves to deteriorate so badly."


I agree with lagatta that we need not waste taxpayers' money sending this guy to jail. House arrest in punishment enough.


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 03:24 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Before I could say for sure that I understand this man, of course, I would have to have talked to him and know more in detail.

But I can imagine all too easily what happened. I'm guessing that he was at least mildly depressed, and he is, after all, 76, an age at which the average North American male is dead.

I'm also guessing that she was in some stage of dementia.

I know that these things happen often -- often -- to families left to cope with the disabilities of age on their own. A paramedic once described to me and a friend for about an hour the things he sees weekly in this city, the people who "fall through the cracks."

Charging this man in the first place is idiocy. There are many other questions to ask first, and others to question first. This is a terribly sad story, and he is as much a victim as she.


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 03:26 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Where were the 2 sons throughout out all of this over the year?

He freaking murdered her over a period of several months, apathy is a good defense it seems.

What kind of recriminations and judgement would have happened if it was the wife who did this I wonder?

Headlines and article may have read:

One of Canada's Leading Entomologists Was Murdered by Wife's Neglect

Wife was convicted of murder and sentenced to spend the rest of her days in a pyschiatric facility/jail. This judgement came following the death of her husband after a year of intentional neglect and abuse.....

He should be in jail.

Edited to change time frame from a year to several months.

[ 17 December 2004: Message edited by: remind ]


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 03:31 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
remind, I agree with your first sentence, but nothing after that.

The first question to ask is definitely: where were those sons? Where was anyone else in the family or social circle of this couple? Where were the neighbours?

And you are wrong, remind, about how long this went on -- you say a year; read the article over again.


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lagatta
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posted 17 December 2004 03:34 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't see why this story is under feminism. Based on other cases, I really don't think an elderly woman whose demented and abusive spouse was left to die of neglect would have been treated any differently.

Prisons are ill-equipped to deal with geriatric prisoners, even of a more traditional "criminal" as in "gangland" sort.


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 03:37 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree. This is not strictly speaking a feminist issue, although obviously it is an issue that concerns all humane and decent people -- and that includes a lot of women, eh?
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ronb
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posted 17 December 2004 03:40 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What kind of recriminations and judgement would have happened if it was the wife who did this I wonder?

Headlines and article may have read:

One of Canada's Leading Entomologists Was Murdered by Wife's Neglect


On the contrary, if your hypothetical dead entomologist were as abusive as this man's wife appears to have been, I suspect that she would recieve far more lenient treatment.


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 03:43 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
remind, I agree with your first sentence, but nothing after that.

The first question to ask is definitely: where were those sons? Where was anyone else in the family or social circle of this couple? Where were the neighbours?

And you are wrong, remind, about how long this went on -- you say a year; read the article over again.



Oh pardon me then, it was only several months of neglect not a year. She asked for help and he did not give it period. His actions were criminal period.

He is also not so elderly that he cannot go to work. If he can work at 76, he can damn well go to jail.


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 03:48 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think that's possible, ronb. But beyond that, beyond any suggestion of sexual politics, I am sure that situations like this happen ... too often, obviously, however often that is ... and simply never come to the attention of the public because no one brings them to our attention.

On the one hand, I think that the police and then the rest of the heavy-handed apparatus of the state came down in all the wrong ways in this case (read that pompous judge's message from on high). On the other, they at least did us the favour of waking people up to the existence of such cases.

There are so many reflections and observations to be made -- for instance, do you know how many seniors die in nursing homes covered in layers of feces and urine every year? Their bodies ravaged by untreated infections? The Toronto Star told us and our sainted minister of health (Mr Smitherman) all about that last spring, and our sainted minister cried copious crocodile tears in public when he read those stories ... and he has changed ... what?

Hint: this is a trick question. I go into a nursing home every day.


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 03:48 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ronb:

On the contrary, if your hypothetical dead entomologist were as abusive as this man's wife appears to have been, I suspect that she would recieve far more lenient treatment.


If she was that abusive and he could not look after her then he should have sent her to a Continuing Care institution. Premeditated neglect leading to death can not be excused by his crying of abuse after the fact.

And I disagree she would have been demonized.


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 03:50 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
remind, you have clearly never been depressed.

You have clearly never cared for a demented, incontinent person. You have no idea of what this man went through. None.

I do.


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jeff house
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posted 17 December 2004 03:57 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
House arrest is supposed to be given when the person presents no likely danger in the future. So, it is hard to quarrel with the judge concluding that a 76 year old presents little danger.

Of course, in jail, he would be in grave danger of being hurt or killed.

Also, when one is 76, a one-year sentence may mean you will spend half of the rest of your life under house arrest.


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 03:59 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But jeff! It also means that he was charged! Tried! Convicted! Sentenced!

And WHY?

I don't consider this man guilty of anything. I consider the rest of us guilty of quite a lot.


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jeff house
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posted 17 December 2004 04:05 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have sympathy for Skdadl's position; to me the crucial question is the state of his mental health.

If he is sharp as a tack, yet allows his wife to starve, I think he HAS done something wrong. If he is deteriorating, though, then it is probably a way of victimizing him for being sick.

The law is really strict on this, though; unless you are certifiably insane, you are "criminally responsible". Lots of people are "sane" but pretty foggy about what is going on.

To me, some sort of social service oversight of couples in their late 70's and eighties would be a good idea. Otherwise, stuff like this will continue to happen.


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ronb
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posted 17 December 2004 04:05 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have a friend whose mother was severely manic depressive. At every stage of her illness she stubbornly refused all treatment, which put her entire family through excrucuating pain. Her mania was particularly destructive when directed at her children, as it frequently was. And yet my friend still suffers terrible guilt for retreating from her in adulthood and abandoning his Father to the task of caring for her.

These cases, as you say skdadl, are not necessarily cut and dried.


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 04:12 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
remind, you have clearly never been depressed.

You have clearly never cared for a demented, incontinent person. You have no idea of what this man went through. None.

I do.


You are so absolutely wrong on this skdadl, I do know how hard it is to look after someone, most intimately. I have cared for 100's of demented and incontinent peoples in my 25 years as a nurse both in institutional and home care settings. This includes my mother for 2 years, 24 hours a day in her home, until she died last year at this time, from continuing mini strokes that ate her mind away.

Which is most likely why I am so upset about this, as I could not imagine this being my mother who this happened to all because someone could not be bothered to ask for help.

And yes, I do know what depression is, and the man was not so depressed he could not go to work, if he was clear headed enough to go to work he could have called for help.


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 04:14 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One of the things this thread has inspired me to do:

I am building up a list of people I want to interview some day soon. And I've just been reminded that high on that list should be the paramedics.

Off the record, they will tell you things that you're not often going to hear in a courtroom, for sure. They see us -- all of us -- when the wheels have suddenly come off our lives, when suddenly everything is falling apart.

Most people don't want to believe that that could happen to them. People want to believe there is something wrong with a guy like this precisely because they're afraid it could be them. So we distance ourselves, protect ourselves, by demonizing him.

He is a lot more average than you think. I know that I could have been him. I know it. So do the paramedics -- and the doctors and nurses, come to that.

The person who needs to know it, and take responsibility for it, is George Smitherman, not some pampered pompous judge.


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 04:29 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Most people don't want to believe that that could happen to them. People want to believe there is something wrong with a guy like this precisely because they're afraid it could be them. So we distance ourselves, protect ourselves, by demonizing him.

There is something wrong with him end of story.

quote:

He is a lot more average than you think. I know that I could have been him. I know it. So do the paramedics -- and the doctors and nurses, come to that.

Perhaps thing are different in Ontario, but it is not the average here in BC.

Please reread the end of the article and the comments by the Judge. I repeat the man at 76 went to work and is still working. He is not just some little old man.

quote:
The sentence of one year house arrest, during which Mr. Vockeroth can only leave home to work, get food, and go to the doctor for the first four months, was a joint position reached by his lawyer, Peter Beach, and Mr. Mack.

It was endorsed by Ontario Court Justice Paul Belanger, who said he sympathized greatly with Mrs. Vockeroth's plight, even if some of her difficulties were her own doing.

The judge said an intelligent man like Mr. Vockeroth could, and should, have taken steps to ward off the tragic situation that developed in their house on Birch Avenue.

"However morbidly difficult your wife might have been, you are an intelligent, sophisticated and highly educated man," the judge said to Mr. Vockeroth before imposing the sentence.

"Too intelligent to have allowed the situation in which you both found yourselves to deteriorate so badly."


[ 17 December 2004: Message edited by: remind ]


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 04:31 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What the hell does intelligence have to do with it?

Intelligent people can get depressed.


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paxamillion
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posted 17 December 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And depressed people often do some things better than other things when they feel down.
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CoolGal
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posted 17 December 2004 04:35 PM      Profile for CoolGal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with you (Remind)

"He freaking murdered her over a period of several months, apathy is a good defense it seems."


I can only Imagine the agony she went through being starved to death.Try not eating for 5 days and see.

Starvation is pure agony.

I know of a couple where the man left his wife to shag up with a younger woman(She was 56),took off to his cottage,renovated it,put in a brand new whirl pool bath for 4 and started a new life.(And this man still goes skiing.


He's 73


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Agent 204
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posted 17 December 2004 04:52 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

He freaking murdered her over a period of several months, apathy is a good defense it seems.


He didn't murder her. Murder is intentional killing. He tried to help her, and eventually gave up. He failed to get help when he should have, hence he was negligent, but that is not the same is murder. And apathy was not found to be a "good defense", otherwise he would have been acquitted. Whether I'd go as far as skdadl and say he shouldn't have been charged, I'm not sure, but then I don't know enough about the case to judge.

[ 11 May 2005: Message edited by: Agent 204 ]


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 04:52 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
BTW just where did everyone get the idea the husband was depressed even, as he was not!

quote:
A psychiatric report by Dr. John Dimock said Vockeroth has no mental problems.

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Agent 204
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posted 17 December 2004 04:54 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, that adds weight to the suggestion that it was legitimate to charge him, but it still doesn't make it murder.
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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 04:56 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
jeff house wrote:

quote:
The law is really strict on this, though; unless you are certifiably insane, you are "criminally responsible". Lots of people are "sane" but pretty foggy about what is going on.

Could people please take the trouble to read entire threads before they post to them?


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paxamillion
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posted 17 December 2004 04:58 PM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CoolGal:
I know of a couple where the man left his wife to shag up with a younger woman(She was 56),took off to his cottage,renovated it,put in a brand new whirl pool bath for 4 and started a new life.(And this man still goes skiing.

Okay. I'll admit, for the sake of arguement, that he's a bastard. What does this have to do with the case at hand?


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 04:59 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Failing to provide, on this level for this amount of time, is murder from negligence, I do not care what he plead down to as a charge to be found guilty of.

quote:
John Richard Vockeroth pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life to Lily Ann Vockeroth, 78, who died last year after being found in layers of feces in a urine-soaked bed on the second storey of their Ottawa home.

A serious fall had confined her to her bed for several months before her death.

Pathology reports showed the cause of death was starvation, complicated by the open sores that covered her body.

A psychiatric report on Mr. Vockeroth says his wife refused to go to the hospital after the fall in the summer of 2003 and was so abusive to Mr. Vockeroth as he tried to care for her that he just gave up.

However, according to an agreed upon statement of facts read in court yesterday by assistant Crown attorney Dallas Mack, Mr. Vockeroth admitted to police that his wife had asked for help and he didn't provide it.



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Debra
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posted 17 December 2004 05:02 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So perhaps she was the abusive person of the relationship for years.

Still wouldn't it have been an ideal opportunity for him to have her moved to a facility which could have taken proper care of her and left him his freedom?

I know about depression and care of a dying loved one, I still see no excuse here

And had it been the other way round I think there would have been less leniency
not more.


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Agent 204
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posted 17 December 2004 05:03 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:
Failing to provide, on this level for this amount of time, is murder from negligence,


"Murder from negligence" is an oxymoron. Murder is intentional.

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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 05:09 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is exactly what I meant, it was intentional negligence.
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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 05:10 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Y'know, this astounds me.

I tell you that paramedics have told me that these stories happen often. Most people never hear about them, but, through some fluke, this guy not only was not noticed by family or neighbours for months, but beyond that, he got charged, which is not what usually happens.

And all you can do is focus on him? The poor schlemiel?

[ 17 December 2004: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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Agent 204
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posted 17 December 2004 05:13 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:
That is exactly what I meant, it was intentional negligence.

To be more clear, criminal negligence is "wanton or reckless disregard for human life", while murder is a positive (not in the moral sense, obviously), intentional action of killing someone. There is a difference, no? As far as we can tell, his intent was not to cause her death.

[ 11 May 2005: Message edited by: Agent 204 ]


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Debra
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posted 17 December 2004 05:14 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Still Skdadl.

He's alive,in the house he is used to being in, she's the one that is dead.

I do think the people around them also bear responsibility for this.

However, surely you do not hold him blameless?

I would certainly hope that if I turned into an awful bitch through some illness (of which alcoholism is one ) that the people around me wouldn't consider an illness an opportune time to get rid of me.


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Agent 204
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posted 17 December 2004 05:17 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's a bit harsh to say he considered it "an opportune time to get rid of her", without further evidence. He didn't do enough to help her, granted, but I agree with those who say sending him to jail for this is pointless.

[ 11 May 2005: Message edited by: Agent 204 ]


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Debra
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posted 17 December 2004 05:18 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think sending him to jail would accomplish anything either.

I just don't think he should be held blameless.


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Agent 204
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posted 17 December 2004 05:19 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't either, but then neither did the court.
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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 05:19 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya, this astounds me too!

The heinous cruelty inflicted upon her was not done by some "poor schlemiel", which is most likely why he was charged and found guilty, albeit to a lesser charge than he should have in my opinion.

quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Y'know, this astounds me.

I tell you that paramedics have told me that these stories happen often. Most people never hear about them, but, through some fluke, this guy not only was not noticed by family or neighbours for months, but beyond that, he got charged, which is not what usually happens.

And all you can do is focus on him? The poor schlemiel?


He admitted he decided to let her starve and I cannot understand people thinking he is some poor schlemiel.


quote:
An autopsy showed Mrs. Vockeroth had been suffering from severe dehydration and malnutrition. The cause of her death was starvation. The pathologist concluded it took months of "neglect" for Mrs. Vockeroth's condition to get as bad as it was at the time of her death.

In a police interview following his arrest, Mr. Vockeroth admitted his wife had asked for assistance at various times during the last months of her life, but he had procrastinated about getting it because he felt to do so would be "delaying the inevitable."


Edited to address Mike Keenan's comment of:

quote:
It's a bit harsh to say he considered it "an opportune time to get rid of her", without further evidence. He didn't do enough to help her, granted, but I agree with those who say sending him to jail for this is pointless.

Based on the mans own testimony as in the above quote" delaying the inevitable", I would say that Debra's comments of an opportune time are a fair assessment.

[ 17 December 2004: Message edited by: remind ]


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 05:32 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't grasp the concept of "blame" in this situation. I just plain don't.

Unless we're talking about the wider world (especially George Smitherman, and every health minister who's preceded him -- and throw in the Finance Dep't in Ottawa while you're at it). Then I grasp it.

I know where I start from, and that is from the heart of a support group I sat through this spring.

I was there as someone who, through pure dumb luck I now think, didn't collapse and didn't lose her love for the person she cared for.

But you look up above at ronb's sad post about his friend, the son who withdrew emotionally, and who now torments himself over something that I know he could not control. (*heart* to your friend, ronb.)

I've heard that story so many times. I know of at least one suicide that was a consequence of the "blame" that we all aim at one another so much and that everyone who is suddenly caught up in a catastrophe has internalized so well -- well enough to commit suicide over later.

What I do not understand is why it is so hard for people to look at this man and say: That could be me.

I say that as someone who never was in his shoes. I wasn't him. I didn't do that. I am a lot younger, almost twenty years younger. I was healthy. I love my husband still. I had exceptional outside resources. Everything fell into place for me and for him.

But I could have been this poor schlemiel none the less. I know that I could have been. And I know that you could be too.

It is the most seriously tragic human flaw to believe that you are above what happened to this couple.


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 05:39 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What do you mean by above skdadl? There is no above in this. He plain and simple let her lie there and starve to death covered in feces and urine, covered in sores that were full of feces and urine. All the while saying she was a problem to move, she had had a bad fall for christ's sakes! More importantly:

She asked for help and he denied her!


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lagatta
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posted 17 December 2004 05:42 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Do remember that the woman had been an abusive drunk for years if not decades - they don't mean someone who sat there quietly sipping a bit too much sherry. Most spouses would have left such a person.

I can't see this as anything but a deeply tragic situation...


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 05:45 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No, remind, he didn't.

As I read that story, he worked at caring for her ... ineffectually. As you will know, if you have experience, it takes only an hour or so to become "caked in feces and urine."

He wasn't doing what you and I have done, which is brave the blows and the bites and the kicks and the head-butts in the first few minutes, many times a day, to make sure that the feces and urine don't get caked on.

But he was fumbling about, doing his ineffectual and probably depressed best. (Refer to jeff house's language above.)

That is what many people are doing when family members or friends finally step in.

I recognize, remind, that you are a super-competent angel who would never have failed to meet such a superhuman challenge.

However, most people faced with such a challenge finally do collapse. Ask the paramedics and the doctors and the nurses.

And look at the stats on death-rates for primary caregivers.


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Anchoress
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posted 17 December 2004 05:58 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is a truly heartbreaking story for all concerned. I do think the man did wrong, but I also agree that a prison sentence would not have served the cause of justice any more than his actual sentence.

I *do* see the pov of 'there but for the grace of God go I', because I *could* see myself in that situation; but IMO 3 months or however long is *too long* for someone to go without making any effort to help their spouse (or themselves) in any way.

And I echo the question of where were the children; also, where were friends, colleagues, other family members?


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 06:03 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Anchoress, I mostly agree with you, but please note: it is not correct that he did not try to help her "in any way."

He was trying. Ineffectually. But he was trying. Please read the texts.

To do primary care-giving effectively requires one of two things: professional training, or profound love that can be expressed easily and openly, physically.

Very very few people have either.

[ 17 December 2004: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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Debra
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posted 17 December 2004 06:10 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Do you really think it is that rare skdadl?

I mean maybe you have more experience so perhaps you are right.

My mom and I had many differences although I did learn a lot from her.

Caring for her even while pregnant was no big thing for me, Yet my sister would leave her for hours at a time.

Even were it necessary for me to care for my ex brother in law I would do it to the best of my ability and he took my innocence, as they say, at 8 years old.

I still do not see why he couldn't at least book her in somewhere.


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Anchoress
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posted 17 December 2004 06:13 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I did read the texts. And I didn't say he didn't help her, I said he didn't make an effort to help her. That's my opinion.
From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 17 December 2004 06:15 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
skdadl, could you please stop taking pot shots at remind? I feel like you either don't believe her story about caring for her mom, or just think her experiences aren't valid because they didn't result with her sharing your position.
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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 06:23 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Edited to say: this is in response to Debra.]

I think it is a shame that he didn't give up and call for help. In my mind, that is how it would have been: give up and call for help.

He didn't, and this is what happened.

The thing about easy and open, physical expressions of love: yes, I think that is hard.

It isn't hard between partners who still love each other. Well, it can be hard, but that definitely helps.

There's a hard truth, though: lots and lots of married couples in their seventies don't especially love one another any more. That's just the way it is. It's no one's fault, and it is dreadful in us, I think, that we should hold anyone's feet to the fire in such a situation.

One of my aunts, when she realized what she was facing with my beloved uncle, decided to commit him at what I would consider a very early stage. He turned on her and denounced her; announced that their marriage was over; that he would never see her again -- and he never did.

I understand what she did; I understand his desperate reaction. I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't grasp both.

Children? Taking care of their parents? I have met a few for whom there are no barriers. It happens. But it is unusual.

And to me, there should be no blame there at all. And yet so many feel it: they know that they are ineffectual in what they do, and yet they torment themselves instead of recognizing that their relationship with their parents would never have permitted them to go any further than they did.

Some psychological honesty would help us all so much. That's definitely not what the pompous judge was giving us in this case.

[ 17 December 2004: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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Debra
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posted 17 December 2004 06:30 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess what I am saying is if someone was drowning you would save them.. yes?

I know I would..

yes not all people would .. but you seem to be saying that if death is over a longer and more painful period that it is ok to look away.

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth...just understand your position.


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skdadl
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posted 17 December 2004 06:33 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Debra, I'm guessing about his moderate depression.

You ask why he didn't book her in somewhere.

I am wondering how he managed to get out of bed each day. Some depressed people just plain can't get up. And don't. They just stop. That's the way it is.


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remind
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posted 17 December 2004 06:39 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
No, remind, he didn't.

As I read that story, he worked at caring for her ... ineffectually.


This is what the article said:

"In a police interview following his arrest, Mr. Vockeroth admitted his wife had asked for assistance at various times during the last months of her life, but he had procrastinated about getting it because he felt to do so would be "delaying the inevitable."


quote:

As you will know, if you have experience, it takes only an hour or so to become "caked in feces and urine." .

Bed sores do not happen over night, nor does getting covered in them. He admitted he did not clean her for days.

quote:

He wasn't doing what you and I have done, which is brave the blows and the bites and the kicks and the head-butts in the first few minutes, many times a day, to make sure that the feces and urine don't get caked on..

Yes, I braved the blows, the bites, and the screaming in the ear if it happened to be close while I was washing, dressing or feeding her. Why? Because I loved her, she was my mother and my best friend. Her mother died when she was a baby and she had spent the first 3 years of her life in a orphanage, and was terrified of institutions, and I could not let her die in one. And I was fortunate enough to be professionally trained so that I could look after her.

Though at that time I had at that time changed careers, because I was burnt out from palliative care and working with mental health patients and decided to go back to school.

Look, skdadl, I understand that most families cannot do so, but they get help they do not leave their loved ones to starve to fucking death.

quote:

But he was fumbling about, doing his ineffectual and probably depressed best.

He is a working scientist not a doddering old man.

quote:

I recognize, remind, that you are a super-competent angel who would never have failed to meet such a superhuman challenge.

I met it because I loved her and wanted to spend that precious time I had left with her, for every bad day there were good days, where I would just lay with her, hold her hand and laugh or swear at politicians on TV with her. No matter how tired or stressed I was, I would not have left her for days without being cleaned or without food. Not many would either, I think. In all the years i was a hiome care nurse, I never once saw that degree of neglect.


quote:

However, most people faced with such a challenge finally do collapse. Ask the paramedics and the doctors and the nurses.

Yes, they do, I know this all too well. But the many do not do what this man did to his wife.

quote:

And look at the stats on death-rates for primary caregivers.

I am fully aware of that too, which is why I fight for home care reform and mental health support all the time. Which is also why I own a home support agency.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 17 December 2004 06:46 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
remind, I'm sorry that this has been turned into a contest between your views on these situations and mine.

I should have thought that we all would care more about the people caught up in catastrophic situations -- and there is no question that they often are catastrophic -- than about making debating points.

However: although I do disagree with you, and I think that you are quoting selectively there, I have been ruled wrong in my exchanges with you, so I'm gone.


I hope that others will read and consider quietly the posts made above, on various aspects of this case, by lagatta, ronb, and jeff house.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
remind
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6289

posted 17 December 2004 07:01 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh please, spare me, the rhetoric and dropping of names that you feel supported you. Nor did I select any more creatively than you. You were the one who suggested depression when the Dr who tested the husband said nothing was wrong with him for pete's sake.

It was not a debating point at all, and how dare you belittle my life and experiences with my mother by suggesting they are debating points!

It seems you just could not stop without trying a parting shot, eh?! You clearly have your convictions as I do mine, but your shifting it to making my actions suspect, are not appreciated.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
CoolGal
recent-rabble-rouser
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posted 17 December 2004 07:29 PM      Profile for CoolGal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
paxamillion

Okay. I'll admit, for the sake of argument, that he's a bastard. What does this have to do with the case at hand?


I was referring to skadadl's comment:

"But I can imagine all too easily what happened. I'm guessing that he was at least mildly depressed, and he is, after all, 76, an age at which the average North American male is dead."

I disagree that his age (70 to 80)should be an excuse for his crime.This is why I posted an example of an elderly person who is still quite active at this age and still moving forward.
We could go into this more extensively but you get my point.

lagatta

"I don't see what good to anyone could come of sentencing that man to prison"

Once again I have to agree with (Remind) This is Astounding.


The only answer here is: Maybe it would do the VICTIM some good and her family to sentence that man to prison.
And it would send a message to others out there that this is not acceptable.
Killing is Killing,but this is worse it was TORTURE.


skdadl

"I know that these things happen often -- often -- to families left to cope with the disabilities of age on their own. A paramedic once described to me and a friend for about an hour the things he sees weekly in this city, the people who "fall through the cracks."

I see your point of view here,but were not talking about someone with alzhiemers or a mental invalid who didn't know what he was doing.And the fact that it went on for so long is what appalls me the most.


From: Halifax | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
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posted 17 December 2004 07:43 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For what it's worth, I don't think satisfying or placating the loved ones of victims should *ever* be a factor in sentencing, but the word 'torture' is not out of place, I believe. I don't know if he meant or wished for her to suffer, but I have no doubt she did.
From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged

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