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Federal Report Cites Abuse And Neglect Problems At Facility
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 18, 2002

FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY--Last week the U.S. Department of Justice issued a 35-page report on living conditions for 400 people with mental retardation housed at Oakwood, a facility in Somerset, Kentucky.

The Justice Department found that the residents were at risk of abuse from staff members, and that they did not receive the medical and psychiatric care they needed. It warned that if the problems are not corrected, the department may sue the state for violating the civil rights of Oakwood's residents.

The federal inspection a year ago came after a series of problems and reports of abuse at Oakwood. In October of 2000, two former staff members were charged with kicking a resident in the head. A year later another former worker was indicted after being accused of beating a resident in the stomach.

The report released last week highlighted other instances of abuse, and focused on specific medical concerns.

''Bowel and bladder disorders have been identified as a recurrent medical issue in residents at Oakwood," the report said. "In a review of the charts of residents who died while at Oakwood, all of the autopsy reports indicated dilated colons."

Kentucky's Cabinet for Health Services, which operates Oakwood, pointed out that the letter is based on an inspection done in 2001, and that a number of corrections have already taken place. A representative of the facility's parent group said the report was "all old news".

Related:
U.S.: Care at Oakwood inadequate; suit possible (Courier-Journal)

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