Aussie Nurse Under Investigation After Receiving $900k
Lionel Cox, a 90 something-year-old bachelor with no close family moved from his home in Melbourne’s Fitzroy to an aged-care facility in Collingwood called Cambridge House after he became too ill to live alone.
Mr Cox lived in his Fitzroy residence most of his life, as neighbours came and went, and house prices continued to rise.
Mr Cox was reportedly suspicious of those who tried to help him, believing they were trying to get a piece of his will, which he intended to leave to a charitable organisation.
However, when Mr Cox died in August last year, his neighbours were shocked to learn that he had left more than $900,000 to a nurse from the Cambridge House where he spent his final month.
Abha Anuradha Kumar, the facility's manager, reaped Mr Cox's estate along with $36,000 in cash and the rest of his belongings.
Victoria Supreme Court documents show Mr Cox's will had been changed on July 27, just weeks before his death, with Ms Kumar becoming the sole benefactor.
Mr Cox's Last Will and Testament was visibly changed, with crossed-out corrections and two different handwritings, as well as the misspelled "Fitzoy" and a crossed-out "O" before the state of "Victoria".
Mr Cox’s neighbours made a complaint to St Vincent’s Hospital last Christmas and an investigation was promptly launched which saw Cambridge House staff and neighbours be interviewed.
The hospital’s investigation found nothing untoward, with no evidence Ms Kumar has influenced Mr Cox into making last minute changes to his will.
"The staff member has indicated they have not, and do not want to financially benefit from the resident's will, and intends to donate the proceeds of the estate to charities named by the deceased in a previous unsigned will he had prepared by his solicitor," the spokeswoman told Fairfax.
"Nevertheless, this case has raised a number of issues of concern for St Vincent's. As a result we are revising our wills policy and increasing education of staff."
The investigation found that Mr Cox was competent and of sound mind during his stay at Cambridge House.
However, one of Mr. Cox’s neighbours identified as ‘John’, told The Age he did not believe the hospital conducted a “vigorous investigation”.
"I knew Lionel for more than a decade and find it impossible to believe that he would knowingly have left his estate to an individual he hardly knew," he said.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board would not provide comment on the investigation until it was complete, nor would the lawyer representing Ms Kumar.
According to a spokesperson from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, the nurses' code of conduct states practitioners should only accept small and inexpensive gifts and never try to influence their patients.
Reportedly Ms Kumar has revealed that she will be donating the money to charity.