Two years ago my 93 year old mother came to live with me in Riverside. Most of the family members had died and we felt this was the best option. She is usually quite adept, walks with a walker, makes herself toast for breakfast, makes her own bed and remains generally lucid. I try to encourage her independence in spite of her increasing frailty. We installed a Life Alert system to give both of us peace of mind whenever I leave to run errands in Kearny or in the Valley. On Wednesday, March 14, she fell in the kitchen while I was away on errands. As taught, she pressed the “button” because she couldn’t get up. Rather than receive assistance, however, Kearny PD and ambulance determined it was OK to let a 93 year old woman lay on the floor until a sheriff’s deputy from Florence got there. When I arrived home she had two bloodied fingers and a sore hip.
She waited a long time on the floor and somehow managed to get a chair cushion under her because she was hurting. I found blood all over the legs of my kitchen chair. The deputies did get there, assisted her to a chair and fed her lunch. (She had prepared lunch but fell before she could eat it.) The deputies came back later to see if she was ok and if I had come home.
In speaking with the deputies I didn’t seem to get a clear understanding as to why they were here and not Kearny. I asked them several times why didn’t Kearny come. I don’t think they knew Kearny had received the call first. I called Kearny and was told they do not do “lift-assist” in Riverside. They confirmed they received the call for assist. Life Alert also confirmed this. Whatever their definition of “lift-assist” means, my mother fell, was on the floor and hurting. Rather than assessing the person or the problem Kearny used some type of paper protocol that says “we don’t pick people up in Riverside” and left a 93 year old woman on the floor until someone from Florence showed up. Maybe it was a financial decision, we can save money if… She still says every day, “I can’t believe Kearny didn’t come…I had to wait for Florence…I’m so much trouble”.
We are not talking about a small problem or misunderstanding here. Kearny received notice of a Life Alert activation in Riverside and did not respond. Kearny does however come to Riverside to pick up hikers and take them to breakfast. Now they want to give hikers free T-shirts. Kearny even erected a sign advertising they are a gateway community to the Az. Trail. Last I checked, the Az. Trail was in Riverside.
It’s time for a reality check. Let me be perfectly clear. Your elected Kearny officials are actively promoting the accommodation of all hikers in Riverside while ordering city employees to leave elderly Riverside residents on the floor, bleeding, frightened and alone. Words escape me but what comes to mind is that Kearny leadership is comprised of depraved human beings. The actions taken by Kearny PD and ambulance personnel (or lack of) would not be considered professional, not even amateur professional. Their actions (or lack of) would be considered wanton disregard. The policies set forth by the city of Kearny would appear to be the same.
Your leadership appears to be woefully lacking in core values such as concern for residents and integrity. I’ve lived here 31 years and I don’t believe the people of Kearny want or deserve this. I don’t think any one of them would want their 93 year old mother lying on the floor while city personnel looked the other way. I think we have had enough.
I understand that Kearny may say Riverside is under the jurisdiction of Pinal County. They may even say I am a bad daughter. There is no defense that holds water. Reason dictates emergency personnel and ambulance services emanate from Kearny which is 15 minutes away. They were notified, it was their job to respond and they did not. It also clearly appears that they did not want to respond which is a much bigger issue. Hence, the need for sweeping leadership changes. It may be necessary to have a court of law enforce these needed changes.
/s/ Janice Salm