Seattle TV Station Examines Deaths At Washington
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 4, 2005
BREMERTON, WASHINGTON--A Seattle television station aired a special report Friday, investigating deaths and sexual assaults at Frances Haddon Morgan Center, Washington's smallest state-run institution.
KOMO-TV looked into four unexpected deaths of residents at the facility, beginning with the August 1998 death of Arvid Arden. The man, who was supposed to be closely supervised to keep him from stealing food, choked to death on pancakes he had snuck from a kitchen.
In 2000, Bob Elder, who had a seizure disorder, choked to death during a seizure shortly after FHMC doctors changed his medications.
Both deaths were ruled accidental.
On July 2 of this year, 29-year-old Kristina M. Shannon died from what the Kitsap County coroner ruled an acute overdose of the antihistamine Chlortrimeton. Her death was not reported to police until after the September 4 death of Jenny A. Jessup, 27. The pathologist has ruled that Jessup died of a perforated bowel.
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services, which operates the residential habilitation center (RHC) through its Division of Developmental Disabilities, has hired Northwest Autopsy Services to perform an independent forensic investigation into the deaths. The state called for the outside analysis because the coroner's report didn't match the institution's medical records.
The KOMO report also focused on the sexual assault conviction in 2000 of a former FHMC worker who admitted forcing sex on a teenager multiple times.
In 1999, a U.S. Department of Justice reported cited FHMC for over-medicating residents to control their behaviors, along with a lack of expertise in dealing with autism, and failure to prevent and investigate incidents of self-abuse.
There are about 1,000 people with developmental disabilities housed in five state-operated institutions in Washington. The Haddon Morgan Center houses 56 people, most of which have autism.
"Death And Denial" (KOMO-TV)
"Televised Report Focuses on Bremerton's Haddon Morgan Center" (Kitsap Sun)