Cindy Hagen is finally home, after 294 days’ hospitalization. She was finally released from an Austin hospital, and allowed to go home to Mankato.
Hagen’s fight to go home made headlines recently. Her struggle galvanized fellow Minnesotans with disabilities. Hagen had been living at the Mayo Clinic hospital in Austin since last July after seeking treatment for an infection. Even after she was healthy enough to leave, she could not do so, because she could not retain enough staff to provide care at the apartment in Mankato where she had lived for 21 years.
After several failed attempts to move Hagen to a senior facility, a Blue Earth County District Court judge in January placed her under an emergency guardianship — which gave an outside entity control over virtually every aspect of Hagen’s life. Hagen and her attorney argued that she was capable of making decisions on her own, and that a guardian was not necessary.
For four months, Hagen lived in fear that a guardian would move her to a nursing home or other institution far removed from Mankato. Confined to a room for 24 hours a day, with a window that looked out on a blank wall, Hagen felt her mental and physical health deteriorate, day by day. She had frequent panic attacks and nightmares of being kidnapped. But Blue Earth County Human Services asked the court to dismiss its guardianship petition — after Hagen met the terms of a legal agreement that called for her transition from the hospital to her home.
“It feels like I’ve been freed from prison,” said Hagen, who is quadriplegic from a childhood car accident. “But in prison, I would have enjoyed more civil liberties.”
(Source: Star Tribune)