The METO Settlement
Roberta Opheim: Findings from the Investigation
Roberta Opheim: Yes, during the course of the event…the investigation, we determined that, while normally there would be this assumption if I'm in a hospital and I'm in a treatment program and you need to restrain me, there might be those soft Velcro cuffs or some other gentle way of restraining me. Instead, what we found was a very law-enforcement, punitive attitude; that it was the client's fault; that if they didn't engage in that behavior, they wouldn't be restrained; that if they'd just do what staff said, that we wouldn't have to do this to them.
And when I contacted the Department of Licensing for the Department of Human Services, we found out that they weren't employing those programs correctly and in the manner that they should be, at least not on a consistent basis. We also found that almost every resident in that program had been cleared medically for restraints. Now restraints can cause respiratory problems, they can cause any number of problems, and we saw that people with asthma, with lung abscesses were being approved as not medically contraindicated for that type of restraint. So that was a finding that was of a grave concern to us.