Hello, my name is Jasmin Devitt and I am fundraising to help our family cover all the Final Expenses for my Father-in-law, Michael's Adoptive Dad, Thomas Devitt. After being hospitalized since July 1st, 2021, Thomas aka Grandpa Tom, passed away at Iowa Lutheran on December 8th, 2021. According to Tom and his Last Will and Testament, he wanted his body donated to science and said not to have a Funeral since "he wouldn't be there to enjoy it". We did not know that Iowa requires establishing the agreement to donate the body to a local Medical University before passing, therefore he was not a candidate to do so. Then we thought we could get assistance from the County Community Assistance only to find out that because Tom has a home in Florida in his name, he has too much in assets in-spite of it being nearly condemned from the hurricane damage and extensive mold that's grown there ever since.
Tom had been flying to Iowa from Florida twice a year, in the summer and Christmas, to visit his five grandchildren. In June he sent the money for a plane ticket but thereafter everything began falling apart. After 10pm on Wednesday, June 30th, we received a call from an Officer with the Orlando Police Department. She stated that Tom kept making calls to the Police claiming someone had stolen something like his Grandson Alex's Confession of Faith; he called over and over again and the Officer went out in person. She said not only was he in a terribly confused state mentally that his house was unlivable and we were the only ones she could find information for to reach out to. We started making arrangements then for me to catch the next flight out of Des Moines, to Sanford, FL; a more affordable airport near him. Unfortunately the next flight we could afford, considering hotel and rental car as well, wasn't until Saturday.
I flew out on July 3rd and arrived late in the evening. I went to Tom's house the next morning and he wasn't there. I made trips multiple times a day to his house and kept leaving notes to contact me. After 2 days of trying to find him, including driving around his neighborhood and checking local businesses I knew he frequented, I was really getting worried. Before I panicked and called in a missing person's report I started calling the local hospitals. Thank God I finally got a call back from Advent Health saying he was at there Rollins location near Winter Park. I was there as soon as visiting hours started the next morning. Knowing our return flight was the same afternoon.
Apparently Tom was sent by the Officer whom had called us, to the hospital via ambulance since he was unsafe to remain home alone. The hospital deemed him to have serious mental instability and called it sunset dementia, meaning he had moments of clarity in the morning but as the day went on he deteriorated more and more. They had him in padded mitts because he apparently started fighting assistance more and more, causing injury to nurses and himself.
After a few delays and having to change the return flight from Tuesday to Thursday, I finally got Tom discharged into my care. And thus my challenges really started. Tom was so sedated he couldn't stand on his own. I had to get him onto my back like a backpack to move him from the car to the hotel bed where we would spend two nights until our flight to DSM.
Once we got to our home in Iowa, Michael and I took shifts taking care of Tom around the clock. This was more challenging and sleep depriving than having an infant and a toddler at the same time. He wouldn't sleep through the night and refused to stay in bed, instead choosing to crawl all over the floor getting into things. It was in trying to pick him up off the floor and get him seated again that he bean to fight back and clawed the crap out of my arm fighting me one night. His increasing violence left us no choice but to commit him to a hospital in Des Moines. After a few days in a regular room where we could visit him, he was moved to a Geriatric Psych Ward where we were no longer allowed to visit at all. (Thanks Covid!!)
We tried calling to speak to him a few times but his hearing loss made that super frustrating. Eventually November 30th, Tom was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia (both lungs filled with fluid) and he was moved to the ICU. Thankfully this meant we could visit him again but little did we know his time on earth was coming to an end. Saturday he moved to the ICU, I spent from 8am to 7pm with him on Monday as his kidneys started to fail and he went into Atrial Fibrillation. As the numerous Doctors and Nurses told us he was showing signs of passing, Tom's estranged son, Chris, flew into Des Moines on Tuesday to say his goodbyes, and returned home Wednesday after Tom had passed away around 2:00 am.
Even though his Will states he wanted his body donated to science, we couldn't because he didn't pre-apply while alive. We thought we'd get County Assistance, but we couldn't because of his house.
- Now the least expensive option to simply cremate him is $1250.
- Plus we will have to pay the first funeral home he was transported to, $350.
- A Flight to Florida, round-trip is anywhere between $350 to $600.
- A Rental Car for four nights, assuming Sunday to Thursday is $300 before Tax and Gas.
- Filling the Rental Car with Gas a few times is anywhere from $100 to $150.
- A hotel with free breakfast, between Tom's house and the Airport averages $110/night, thus $450+.
- Medical bills collected so far $61,000
- Other debts collected so far $5,000
Luckily I can use my EBT Food Stamp card at Stores in Florida even though from Iowa, so I can reduce the cost of meals which is also why I seek out hotels with Free Breakfast.
This is just to take care of the cremation and sorting items to empty his house and give things to Chris, donate to Salvation Army or take to the dump. Its not worth trying to take anything from Tom's to bring to Iowa, so at best I might get a photo album or two that could fit into my luggage.
Once we know the extent of his medical bills and other debts we may update this as well.
Thank you for reading this far and for your prayerful consideration,
Rest In Peace
05/20/41 to 12/08/21
P.S. - We would love to hear about how you knew Thomas Devitt, so whether you can donate or not please feel free to leave comments on your interactions with him and how he impacted your life!!