While radio icon Casey Kasem lies dying in a hospital, the New York Daily News on June 13 reports that death could have come much sooner and at the hands of his wife. Jean Kasem disconnected his surgically-implanted feeding tube at 2:30 a.m. on May 7, against medical advice, to take him to Washington state on a “vacation.”
Documents and an interview with a private investigator revealed the shocking information. “She disconnected his G-tube, which provided his only source to nutrition and hydration,” Dr. Paul Leitner, who was Kasem’s doctor at the facility, wrote to Santa Monica police. “She was informed of the risks of doing so and was told she was placing Mr. Kasem in great bodily harm or possible demise.”
A nurse, Jennifer Kusiappiah, also signed a statement regarding Jean Kasem. “Mrs. Kasem insisted on taking Mr. Kasem out of the facility, even though I have clearly explained that it was dangerous and can be fatal due to his medical condition.” Ms. Kusiappiah said she warned Jean Kasem about the dangers of traveling with her husband without “round-the-clock monitoring.”
The staff at the Berkley East Convalescent Hospital refused to authorize Casey Kasem’s release, telling Jean Kasem she would have to sign him out “against medical advice.” She refused to sign and left. She came back later and spirited the 82-year-old out the door at 2:30 a.m.
The signed statements from both the doctor and the nurse were provided to the Daily News and the elder abuse investigation unit in the Santa Monica Police Department. The private investigator also reported that Jean Kasem stole hospital monitors, IVs and the feeding tubes necessary to keep her husband alive. Nobody at the nursing home attempted to stop her, knowing that “Mr. Kasem would die” without them.
All of this stems from a legal battle between Jean Kasem, Casey’s wife of 33 years, and Casey’s three older children. The three older children claim Jean has not allowed them to see their father. Jean claims the three older children are disruptive to the life she shares with Casey and their daughter Liberty.
Kerri Kasem was awarded a conservatorship over her father after he was found in Washington state. Despite the ugliness of the entire affair, Kerri extended an invitation to Jean Kasem to visit Casey in hospice before he dies. “We hope she’ll come back. There aren’t any visiting hours in hospice, and the judge said she can visit at any time,” a family source told The News Thursday.
Casey Kasem is now in St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, Wash. The family’s attorneys and his doctors claim that he is dying from sepsis. His artificial feedings and hydration have been discontinued. The doctors claim these were causing symptoms of drowning and discomfort. As of this writing, no statement has come from Jean Kasem or her representatives.