Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Future Is Now

Judge Gibney, please sign the Department of Justice agreement and help Virginia to move to a community based system of care. The agreement is important because it would transform Virginia’s system of care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) from one that is reliant on large segregated institutions to one that is focused on integrated, community-based services. What happens to people with disabilities in institutions is unspeakable! I don't want to read anymore reports like this one excerpted from the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy Amicus Curiae brief:

In 2007

  • A training center staff member used sticks and other objects to beat at least four residents on several occasions

  • A staff member fed marshmallows to a resident whose chart called for him to eat only fine, chopped, pea-sized food. The resident aspirated the marshmallows, went into respiratory arrest and suffered cerebral anoxia. He died after being removed from life support

  • A resident with a documented history of swallowing inedible itesm was left unsupervised and died after swallowing several objects, including latex gloves

In 2008

  • Several staff members terrorized a resident by threatening to cut off his genitals. The abuse was so pervasive they eventually did not have to verbally threaten the resident; they just held up two fingers and made a scissoring motion

  • Staff members repeatedly used a wheelchair and seatbelt to restrain a resident who was able to walk as punishment or for their convenience. The resident attempted to escape the restraints and suffered injuries, including a fracture.

  • A resident with a long history of swallowing inedible items was left unsupervised and swallowed 19 different objects, requiring surgery

  • A resident was scalded and suffered second degree burns on his feet, hands and buttocks when a staff member bathed him in a tub with a malfuntioning water heater. The staff member did not touch the water before putting the resident in.

In 2009

  • Staff members slapped a resident, forcibly removed his clothing and told him to perform oral sex on another resident

  • A resident suffered multiple injuries, including a broken leg, after a staff member shook her and threq her to the ground

  • Staff members failed to follow a resident's treatment plan, which called for him to wear specialized shoes. The resident suffered blood deprivation to his feet, was diagnosed with Ischemic Necrosis and was to have two toes amputated. While awaiting surgery, he was transferred to another state facility, where he choked on food, suffered cardiac arrest and died

In 2010

  • A resident suffered second degree burns to her buttocks and lower back. Staff members did not notice the burns for approximately two hours. The resident was not sent to the hospital until the next day, despite having visibly blistered and sloughing skin

  • A resident suffered first and second degree burns to her left arm, abdomen and thigh. Even though the resident's chart called for her to be bathed in a tub, the staff member used a shower spray, which supplied up to 167 degree water

  • A resident was left unsupervised and fled his cottage through fire doors that had been left open. The resident was injured when his wheelchair overturned

  • A resident was hospitalized for 10 days after staff members gave him the wrong medication

  • A resident suffered at least 50 injuries over a four year period. None were reported to VOPA despite state law requiring reports of all such incidents.

  • A staff member took residents' money and bought himself clothing and alcohol

In 2011

  • A staff member, tasked to buy clothing and necessities for a resident, spent almost $500 of the resident's money to buy himself clothing and cologne

  • A resident, who had standing orders to always be supervised due to a heart condition, was abondoned on a toilet in a locked unit for over an hour while staff and other residents went on a community outing

  • Staff members placed a resident on a toilet chair that was not properly secured to the wall andm issing its lap bar. The resident fell and suffered a head injury

  • Eleven residents were placed on a training center van for an alleged community outing. Instead, staff members left the van to conduct personal business, including buying lunch at a KFC restaurant. No food was provided to the residents on the van

  • In an assult captured on video, a staff member hit an elderly resident so hard that he flew 6-8 feet across the room and crashed to the floor. Other staff members falsely stated that the resident had made sexual advances toward the assailant.

In 2012

  • A training center had all of a resident's teeth extracted because it was more convenient than providing him with regular dental care and examinations

  • A resident suffered internal bleeding, hernias, severe bruising and swelling in the groin, penis and scrotum after staff members lifted him by his support belt

  • A resident suffered a head injury when she fell from her wheelchair after staff members did not properly attach her seat belt

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