EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – A man claims in court that his stepmother poisoned his father with morphine and laxatives until he died, leaving everything to her.
Plaintiff Gary Krela is the son of George Kryla, who died in 2009. He claims in his federal complaint that his stepmother Florence Kryla poisoned his father.
According to the complaint, Florence also is or has been known as Florence Kelley, Florence Gleason and Florence Fenton. Also named as defendants are South Coast Hospice & Palliative Care Services, and Dr. Thomas F. McAndrew.
Krela, who spells his name differently in the complaint than his father, describes himself as the natural son of George Kryla. Gary Krela’s co-plaintiff, Linda Krela, is his wife. Krela also sued on behalf of his late father.
Krela says in the complaint that the trouble started in 2008, when his father informed him he could not travel to Krela’s home in Eureka, Calif., because “there was something wrong.”
“He could not identify exactly what was wrong, but could not leave the proximity of a toilet,” according to the complaint.
In subsequent visits to George and Florence Kryla, Krela says, he noticed his father had lost weight, but had a good appetite.
When the Krelas invited the couple to their Eureka home for Thanksgiving, Gary claims, Florence told him “George had something wrong with his bowels and was losing a lot of weight.”
“She advised [Gary] that George had undergone a lot of health care testing, but the results were all inconclusive. In telephone conversations, George told [his son] that he was dizzy and would ‘fall over like a tree,’ but he still had no idea what was wrong,” according to the complaint.
When Gary went to visit his father in February 2009, he says, Florence showed him a “do not resuscitate” order from a hospice care facility, supposedly signed by George.
“George objected to the document, indicating that he never signed it and that he did not understand why he could not go to the emergency room; as he had excellent health care coverage,” according to the complaint.
During that visit, Gary says, he learned that Florence had threatened to put his father in a nursing home, arranged for hospice visits, and got him an oxygen respirator he did not need.
“During this February visit [Florence] complained to [Gary] about how miserable she was because George refused to allow her to re-arrange anything in their Flower St. residence because he wanted it to remain as his deceased wife left it,” the complaint states.
“She voiced multiple other complaints about George’s conduct, and told [Gary] that eventually something will happen and she will get a Dumpster and throw everything out.
“Also during this visit, defendant identified George’s medications, including little brown pills, apparently a laxative, three of which ‘nearly’ killed him, so she reduced his intake to only two per day. Neither the morphine nor the laxatives were prescribed for him; or alternatively plaintiffs are informed and believe that any health care provider, including South Coast Hospice and Dr. McAndrew, who may have issued any prescription therefore, was misled by the representations of defendant,” the complaint states.
During subsequent phone conversations, Gary claims, his father told him that he “thought he was being over-medicated and did not know what defendant was giving him.”
When Gary went to visit his father in June 2009, he says, he found him “frail and incoherent,” and “he could only mumble and barely open his eyes.”
Gary claims that Florence told him his father “had been this way for days, and that he was on morphine, which she said at first was because of pain from an old shoulder injury.”
The complaint continues: “When challenged because of the lack of any prior complaints of shoulder injury, defendant abandoned the idea and instead insisted that ‘He’s 81 years old and that’s reason enough.’ Defendant claimed that the hospice program had prescribed the morphine, but later retracted the allegation, admitting she did it herself, providing liquid morphine. After she agreed not to give him any more, by the end of the next day he was perfectly lucid and said he was free of any pain anywhere.”
During that visit, Gary says, a hospice nurse came to Florence’s apartment, where George was staying, and told Gary his father was taking morphine because “his body was shutting down, from end-of-life.”
But the son says: “Despite the understanding of the nurse, George had a large appetite, and was vigorously and lucidly conversational.”
Toward the very end of his father’s life, Gary says, he and his wife intervened to stop the morphine, and “George quickly rebounded into completely coherent conversation and interaction with them. He announced to defendant that he was ‘sick and tired of her threats’ to put him in a nursing home, whereupon she gave him more Kool-Aid with morphine in it, telling plaintiffs that was the only way she could control him,” according to the complaint.
It continues: “George died June 20, 2009. Defendant told plaintiffs he was screaming at the end; and that she had poured the rest of the morphine down the drain. Plaintiffs attended George’s funeral, which was the same day as the reading of his will, wherein he left all of his worldly possessions to defendant.”
The Krelas seek damages for wrongful death against all the defendants, for elder abuse against Florence Kryla, and for professional negligence against the doctor and clinic.
They are represented by Steven McCarthy, of Independence, Ore.