MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Former Florida guardian Rebecca Fierle was arrested Monday and charged with abuse and neglect of an elderly person. She was booked into the Marion County Jail around 6:30 p.m. on Monday, according to jail records.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Fierle was arrested and is facing one count of abuse of an elderly person and one count of neglect of an elderly person in regards to the case of 74-year-old Steven Stryker.
"All I can say is that this is extremely emotional for me. I’ve waited a long time to see her held accountable for how she treated my father,” the daughter of Steven Stryker, Kim Stryker said
The Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting the case, according to FDLE.
She is accused of placing do not resuscitate orders on clients who did not want them.
She's admitted to doing so in court.
A state investigation reveals one of her clients may have died as a result. According to a statement from the FDLE, the investigation began after a complaint to the Office of Public and Professional Guardians about Stryker’s death, he was under the guardianship of Fierle.
FDLE said the investigation shows Stryker did not want a do not resuscitate order and stated several times he wanted to live.
The investigation shows the elderly man did not want a do not resuscitate order (DNR) and stated several times that he wanted to live.”
Medical professionals who examined him believed he was capable of making end-of-life medical decisions for himself and informed Fierle-Santoian that her client had a strong desire to live and that he understood his condition. Despite the wishes of the elderly man and those of his family and friends, Fierle-Santoian ordered his doctors not perform any life-prolonging medical procedures saying she preferred “quality of life versus quantity of life.”
In addition to the DNR, Fierle-Santoian insisted the victim’s feeding tube be capped ignoring doctors who told her this would likely cause his death. The man also requested that he continue receiving nutrition through the feeding tube. Contrary to the advice of medical professionals, Fierle-Santoian obtained an order to cap the feeding tube which was capped on May 9, 2019. The man died on May 13, 2019 at a Tampa hospital.
State investigators contend Fierle’s decision to place the order against Stryker’s wishes caused his death.
An Orange County audit revealed Fierle received almost $4 million from Advent Health for guardianship services she provided for the hospital over a 10-year span.
Fierle was held overnight on $22,500 bond before posting bail Tuesday morning. She walked out of the jail around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Fierle declined to speak to reporters outside the jail complex.