Ann was surrounded by privilege, but after arguing over caretakers who became squatters, she had to die
Neighbors of a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy woman left to die with her own garbage say they hadn’t seen here ten years before her death.
54-year-old Ann-Marie Smith died at Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6 from septic shock, multiple organ failure due to severe pressure ulcers and malnutrition.
A couple living several doors away in the well-kept house where Mrs. Smith died in horrific circumstances said they last saw her outside over a decade ago.
Another neighbor in the exclusive eastern suburbs of Adelaide said she noticed Mrs. Smith more recently but still at least five years ago, according to the ABC.
Most of the street residents lived there for a long time, saying that Mrs. Smith’s parents built the house for her 15 years ago and that she was regularly visited by a caregiver.
What they realize now, after a swarm of police and forensic detectives descended on the leafy street, is that the cerebral palsy patient had been living in miserable conditions for at least a year.
A decades-old photo of Ann Marie Smith who tragically passed away on April 6
The well-maintained home in the exclusive eastern suburbs of Adelaide where Mrs. Smith lived
The SA police are conducting a homicide investigation to determine what happened to Ms. Smith and the case has been declared a serious crime.
After being found in a semi-conscious state by a caregiver, she was rushed to Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 5 and died the following day.
A police press conference over a month later asking people with information about her life to contact them revealed the shocking details.
Ms. Smith died of septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure ulcers and malnutrition after allegedly sitting in a wicker chair and not being moved to even go to the toilet.
“Ann died in disgusting and humiliating circumstances and her death was likely preventable,” said Superintendent Des Bray of SA Police.
“It was a beautiful house from the outside, it was in a beautiful suburb, but unfortunately Ann lived indoors in disgusting conditions.”
The only visitors Mrs. Smith says neighbors had were caregivers.
Bram Fynnaart said he had regularly parked a sedan in her driveway at nine in the morning and heard that there were once resident caregivers who were fired years ago but refused to leave.
“They refused to move or claim squatters’ rights after a certain number of years, and then there was a security detail 24 hours a day for three or four months,” Fynnaart told the ABC.
Hectorville wife Rosa Maione has been identified as Mrs. Smith’s last caregiver and hired a criminal lawyer.
Her employer fired her for “serious and willful misconduct,” but was also fined for failing to notify Ms Smith’s death from national disability insurance within 24 hours.
Integrity Care SA, the company responsible for Mrs. Smith’s care, took two weeks to report her death.
The NDIS committee fined the health care provider on Friday for $ 12,600 for failing to meet its obligations.
NDIS Commissioner Graeme Head said by law that Integrity Care SA could choose to pay the fine or not, but if it chose not to, legal action was a possibility with a maximum fine of $ 262,500.
“Reporting serious incidents to the NDIS Committee is a critical safeguard for people with disabilities,” said Mr. Head.
The NDIS commission fined Integrity Care SA $ 12,600 on Friday for failing to meet its obligations
“There have been obvious shortcomings in the support that Mrs Smith has received, which justifies our thorough and careful investigation.
After Mrs. Smith’s death, a 12-member task force was established by the state government to identify gaps in the disability sector.
“This poor woman became so isolated that in fact it seemed that in her life there was no one but this one caregiver,” said the working group chief, Dr. David Caudrey.
“I’ve been dealing with disabilities and mental health for about 45 years, and I’ve never heard of such a horrifyingly awful thing as the experiences Ann Marie went through,” he said.
Ms. Smith was a customer of Disability SA, but switched to NDIS in 2018.
Her death has also come to the attention of the Royal Commission that investigates the care of the disabled, who has indicated that she can conduct her own investigation after the police and other investigations.