Fort Wayne Facility Cited Third Time For Mistreatment
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 9, 2002
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA--For the third time in a row, Fort Wayne State Developmental Center has failed a state Department of Health review of how its residents are treated.
A report released Thursday showed that staff members continued to abuse, neglect and mistreat at least 10 of the institution's 300 residents last month, even after the facility had been found out of compliance during separate July and August visits.
The state will make one more surprise visit within the next month to see if things have improved. If there continue to be violations, the facility could lose its federal Medicaid funding, which makes up about two-thirds of its $50 million budget.
According to local media sources, the most recent report quotes an employee of the institution as saying that a certain amount of abuse could be expected as supported by statistics from other facilities.
"This philosophy . . . supports that abuse to a client by staff of the facility was highly likely to occur or has already occurred and may well occur again," the surveyors wrote. "The facility has failed, through implementation of its policies, to set up a structure which protects clients from mistreatment, neglect and abuse."
Fort Wayne State Developmental Center had corrected many problems between the July visit and the next report that was made public on October 1, but several instances of abuse or neglect occurred in October and November.
On October 10, a resident who was supposed to have one-to-one supervision was found choking on a bathroom floor. The employee assigned to provide the supervision was fired.
Another staff member was fired on October 23 after punching a resident in the chest. No criminal charges were filed.
Still another employee was fired after pouring soda pop on a resident on October 18. The incident was considered psychological abuse.
The report also cited several incidents in which residents were given the wrong medications, money was stolen, and the wrong food was given to residents with allergies.
Police are still investigating the June 9 beating death of John Reed, a 16-year resident of the facility.
Steve Cook, director of the state Division of Disability, Aging and Rehabilitative Services, said that conditions at the institution have improved significantly.
"The center has demonstrated significant steady progress, but this is still very serious," Cook said.