The Case That Prompted this Blog
November 21, 2012
West Seattle Brothers Accused of Leaving Father to Rot
Submitted by Rose Egge, KOMO Communities Reporter
November 16th, 2012
Two West Seattle men are facing felony elder abuse charges for allegedly allowing their father to waste away so that they wouldn’t have to spend their future inheritance.
According to charging documents, Kenneth and Keith Shaw, both in their 50s, lived rent-free in their parents’ Alki home for 2 years while neglecting their father of any basic care. The 86-year-old man lost 43 pounds during that time because he wasn’t given enough food, court documents report.
Paramedics were called to the Shaw’s Alki home on Nov. 12, 2010 because a relative claimed the father had not been eating or drinking for a week and was drifting in and out of consciousness. When an EMT arrived at the home, she told police she smelled urine and feces in the father’s bedroom and saw the man sitting on the toilet wearing only a t-shirt and socks.
The EMT reported that “the socks looked like they had grown into his feet,” according to charging documents. One of the sons stated that he’d been wearing the same socks for a year. Doctors later found his feet were rotting inside them and left a bloody trail when he walked.
As she moved the father out of the home, the EMT told police he was in extreme pain, screaming “get me out of here.”
Once at Swedish Hospital, doctors diagnosed the elderly man with dehydration, sepsis, acute renal failure, acute hyperglycemia and altered mental status. He was admitted to the ICU and doctors predicted he would have both feet amputated if he survived.
The man died two weeks later after being released to Life Care Center of West Seattle. After performing an autopsy on the man, the medical examiner’s office claimed the conditions leading to his death included muscle atrophy and weight loss, pneumonia and cardiovascular disease. The medical examiner could not say whether the man had died from natural causes or neglect and malnutrition.
According to charging documents, the brothers refused to put their father in a nursing home because they didn't want to clean out his savings and be left with nothing when he died.
Keith Shaw asked police “Why should we clean out the accounts….I don’t have any retirement and Ken’s never worked….If we spend all the money on nursing homes he’ll (Ken) end up homeless, living under the viaduct.”
When asked by a community nurse consultant why he did not respond to his father’s obvious pain, Ken said “Pain is the signal that the body is healing itself.”
Court documents report the brothers were also caring for their mother, who reportedly suffered from dementia, in the Alki home. The woman died from a heart attack in February 2011. Keith reportedly told a community nurse consultant that he only gave his mother a mug or two of fluids each day so that he would not have to change her incontinent garments more often, increasing her cost of care.
The brothers have both been charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment and have not been jailed.
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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.