Though a physician has reaffirmed her belief that 85-year-old Nichelle Nichols has moderate, progressive dementia, a lawyer for a friend of the “Star Trek” actress said he still remains skeptical.
Dr. Meena Makhijani, a Woodland Hills geriatrician, first offered her opinion in documents filed in August in Los Angeles Superior Court. She said Nichols lacks the mental capacity to consent to any form of medical treatment and that the actress had been prescribed 12.5 milligrams of a dementia medication daily “as needed for agitation.”
In new court papers, Makhijani says her views on Nichols’ mental state remain the same, although she added there have been some changes in comprehension, communication and mood since a few months ago. Makhijani does not state whether the changes are improvements or setbacks.
She also says that based on information from Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, his mother “is still able to do her work as a performer.”
On Sept. 10, Judge Barbara Johnson named the 67-year-old Johnson – who is not related to the judge — as the temporary conservator of his mother’s person, and Marina del Rey psychologist B.J. Hawkins as the temporary conservator of the actress’ estate to manage her financial matters pending a trial on permanent conservatorships. Johnson has offered Makhijani’s findings as guidance for the court.
Nichols’ friend, actress/producer Angelique Fawcette, maintains that no conservatorship is needed. Fawcette alleges in her court papers that Johnson is anxious to sell his mother’s home so he can put her into an assisted living facility.
While Fawcette and Johnson agree Nichols has suffered memory loss, Fawcette maintains it is less severe than what Johnson is alleging.
Fawcette’s lawyer, Troy Martin, said he is still skeptical of Makhijani’s findings, given her area of expertise.
“Why is a doctor of osteopathy making findings about dementia?,” Martin asked.
Nichols played Lt. Uhura, a translator and communications officer, aboard the USS Enterprise in the “Star Trek” series that ran on NBC from 1966-69, and also appeared in some of the later “Star Trek” movies. She and Fawcette met in 2012, according to Fawcette’s court papers.