It takes a truly patient person to work at a mental hath facility, taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves. Some people are born for the job and thrive in an environment where others would struggle. Unfortunately, as I am sure you are aware, mental health facilities in the United States are full of employees who lose that patience all too soon. They become frustrated, impatient and, well, rude when dealing with patients. Sadly, these emotions can lead to abuse quite often, and in the worst cases, death.
This is exactly what occurred in 2011 in state-funded Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center (“The Heck Center”) in Schenectady, New York. A 22-year-old man identified only as “K.C.” was beaten, starved and tortured until he finally perished from malnutrition and pneumonia. The New York Times exposed The Heck Center abuses in 2011 when an incredibly brave whistle-blower named Mary Maioriello came forward, but the center continued to function as normal for another four years.
Only last month was it finally shut down due to “downsizing of the state’s institutions for the developmentally disabled,” even though poor K.C. was not the first to die at the hands of its abusive caretakers. The most infamous case of abuse at the Heck Center was in a fact a 13-year-old autistic boy who died in 2007 after being crushed to death by an employee who was supposedly trying to restrain him. Although his parents immediately fought for better care of the mentally disabled, the Heck Center itself saw little improvement in its poisonous company culture.
K.C.’s mother settled his case last week for $2.25 million with the assistance of medical abuse attorneys. Her emotional pain and suffering are indescribable, but she says her largest regret is that she “should have known.” Considering she is a home health aid in Syracuse, NY, one would think her knowledge of human emotions is better than most. Tragically, even her experience could not help her son. He was a powerless victim caught in a poisonous culture of greed, cruelty and abuse. It was absolutely not her fault, but rather the managers and state officials who allowed the Heck Center to operate in such a manner.
This poor mother is not alone in the United States. Thousands of mentally ill patients are abused and mistreated, while their caretakers see little to no repercussions. The problem is systemic; mental health is undervalued in this great country of ours, and it will take a massive movement to change that. One way to help is to make noise in the legal system. Contact abuse attorneys like those at Baizer Kolar P.C. in Chicago if you or a loved one are suffering a similar fate to that of K.C. Contact us today for a free consultation, and begin your road to redemption.