Thursday, April 21, 2011
A VOPA Victory
If you were the family of James Roots IV you would surely want to know why he was allowed to die in the institution that promised to help him. You would want to understand why he was held in restraints for over 30 hours, even after he complained of being unable to breathe.
If you were the family of a patient at a so-called training center (read institution), you would surely want to know why he was allowed to swallow two latex exam gloves and subsequently die.
If you were the family of another person at that same training center, you would surely want to know why your family member’s ear was chewed off and where the staff were that were supposed to ensure such incidents never happened.
But the families of these three people were not told anything. They wanted details and the details were withheld. Then, with the assistance of the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy, legal proceedings were initiated demanding that the records be shared. The state agency in charge refused, and the circuit court in Virginia stood with the state agency.
But the wonderful staff at VOPA refused to let that deny the family members their information. The case went to the Supreme Court of the US and yesterday, that court ruled in favor of VOPA. Read the story of this historic decision here.
VOPA has been a Godsend to my family, and especially to my Ashley. I’ve written about them many times over the years, but here is one such post.
I applaud these champions of Virginians with disabilities. You continue to make a positive difference, and I am so very proud to count myself as one of your ardent supporters.