Nine Developmentally Disabled People Dead in State Care – No Charges Filed

The Washington Post has reported that a list has recently surfaced titled “Abuse and Neglect with Death Involved” relating to the deaths of nine developmentally disabled individuals that died while under state care. According to the article, this list surfaced as part of a Freedom of Information request by an advocate for developmentally disabled people under state care. The advocate alleges that this serves as an example of how the State of New York’s oversight body has failed to properly investigate suspicious deaths of developmentally disabled individuals that died while under state care. All of these deaths occurred in Suffolk County, and related questioning about the report that surfaced seemed to pit the oversight body that says it did report suspicious deaths to appropriate local law enforcement against local law enforcement bodies that said they never received such referrals. The Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner also noted that it had reported two suspicious deaths to local police. Subsequently, local police eventually conceded that they had, indeed, received the referrals in question.

 

This particular report goes on to detail two specific cases that may ultimately qualify as neglect if families and other concerned individuals are successful in bringing the deaths under further investigation. In one such case, and individual victim was said to have died as a result of sepsis resulting from a kidney infection. According to one of the victim’s former caretakers, who had also worked for the group home where the victim was housed but has since left, the sepsis resulting from kidney infection could have been a sign of patient neglect and may have been avoided under different circumstances. In the other specific case detailed in the article, a victim died from respiratory failure due to pneumonia and fever after a series of potentially unexplained incidents of alleged abuse had taken place, including the failure to provide prescribed antibiotics to the victim.

Citing privacy concerns, New York’s oversight body did not provide details of investigations related to the allegedly suspicious deaths. However, they did provide information that revealed multiple instances where the oversight body’s investigations had found caretakers or their supervisors obstructing incident reporting procedures and several other incidents where related investigations had uncovered neglect. New York State’s laws governing reporting procedures require the oversight body to notify local district attorneys and medical examiners of any death involving allegations of abuse and/or neglect even while the oversight body conducts its own investigations into those allegations. According to Suffolk County’s medical examiner’s office, two of the deaths on the list in question were investigated and referred to local police as potential homicides. Having come under fire for the mishandling of these deaths, all of the agencies involved in investigating the suspicious deaths will be taking a more careful look into those deaths.

Violent Criminal Charges

Abuse and neglect are potentially serious criminal charges, especially when alleged actions result in the intentional or unintentional death of a victim. If you are facing criminal charges over alleged violent crimes, contact Anelli Xavier’s dedicated criminal defense team to schedule a consultation about your case. Anelli Xavier’s criminal defense team can help you understand the charges you may potentially be facing as well as the options available to you under the circumstances surrounding your case. While no outcome is ever guaranteed, a strong and experienced criminal defense team is crucial throughout the legal process involved with violent criminal charges. It is extremely important that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that they can promptly begin their own investigation and begin to provide the most comprehensive defense available to you under the circumstances.