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FL lawmaker proposes law requiring guardians to seek court's opinion for DNRs

New law comes after multiple I-Team investigations
Posted: 6:13 PM, Nov 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-01 18:22:41-04
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LAKELAND, Fla. -- Our I-Team's relentless reporting on Florida's troubled guardianship program could lead to lasting change.

Florida lawmakers are now hoping to reform the system.

I-Team Investigator Adam Walser has spent more than six years covering problems within the system.

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After our investigation into a man who died in guardianship, lawmakers, judges and even Florida Governor Ron Desantis have called for sweeping reforms to better protect Florida's seniors.

Now, one Lakeland State Representative is drafting a new law.

“When I first heard about this, I was like what do we need to do… and we need to do it now,” said Rep. Colleen Burton.

Burton says she's drafting a new law to protect vulnerable seniors in Florida's broken guardianship system

This comes after the death of Steven Stryker, who investigators say died as a result of the actions of his court-appointed guardian Rebecca Fierle.

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She is now under criminal investigation by multiple agencies.

Stryker choked to death after Fierle ordered his feeding tube removed and issued a “Do Not Resuscitate” order without permission.

The I-Team later uncovered Florida guardians widely using DNR orders on people under their care without the court's approval.

That’s something Burton says she hopes a new law will stop.

“If they don't have that expressed authority, they have to go to court. A judge will have to say that they can do that,” said Burton.

Burton says her bill has strong support from members of both parties and expects to file her legislation by the end of the month.

Later this month, the ABC Action News I-Team will launch an investigative series on the state's troubled guardianship program.

You'll be able to watch it exclusively on our free streaming apps.

We will explore some of the issues we've uncovered about the wide-spread use of “Do Not Resuscitate” orders and hospitals going to court to strip away patients' rights.

If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, email us at adam@abcactionnews.com