Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and theFlorida Department of Law Enforcement announce the arrest of guardian Rebecca Fierle-Santoian on charges of aggravated abuse of an elderly person and neglect of an elderly person. Fierle-Santoian was arrested by Marion County Sheriff’s deputies on an FDLE warrant this evening.
The investigation began following a complaint to the Office of Public and Professional Guardians about the death of a 74-year-old man under the guardianship of Fierle-Santoian. 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 done on May 9, 2019. The man died on May 13, 2019 at a Tampa hospital.
The investigation continues and the case remains active. The FDLE, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office continue to investigate. The Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting this case.