Fatal Restraint Was Girl's Ninth At Clinic
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 27, 2006
RICE LAKE, WISCONSIN--A state investigation has revealed that staff at a Wisconsin day treatment program put 7-year-old Angellika Arndt in "time out" 18 times, and physically restrained her nine separate times -- each time for up to two hours -- during the four weeks she was in the program.
They put her in a "control hold" for the last time on May 25 -- as a consequence for "gargling milk". At least one staff member reportedly held Angellika's feet and one or more others held her shoulders and arms down while restraining the girl facedown on the floor.
Five minutes after they released her, Angellika stopped breathing. She died of a heart attack at a Minnesota hospital the next day. A medical examiner ruled her death a homicide due to "complications from chest compression asphyxiation".
The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services released its report last Thursday, citing Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic for multiple violations of state code.
Among other things, the report said Northwest had failed to provide a proper level of care for the girl, who had diagnoses of reactive attachment disorder, mood disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The agency also said the clinic failed to provide adequate medical services by a doctor or registered nurse; document the side effects of the girl's drugs; review the number of restraints the girl endured; and to follow state law regarding physical restraints in clinical settings.
DHFS found that during six of the restraints, the girl had not been offered medications which had previously helped her calm down.
The agency gave Northwest 30 days to respond. Investigators are expected to revisit the facility after that response to decide whether it should be closed.
The clinic's board president responded Friday by saying the facility had concerns with what it called "errors of fact, incomplete context, and misapplications of statute references".
"There's a lot of things that just don't sit right with me," Rick Pelishek, director of the Rice Lake chapter of Disability Rights Wisconsin, told WCCO-TV.
Pelishek said his group is also investigating the clinic's treatment of Angellika.
Angellika's foster parents, Daniel and Donna Pavlick, told WCCO-TV they did not understand why the girl was restrained so frequently. They said they had scheduled a meeting to discuss this with clinic staff, but the meeting was scheduled for two weeks after she died.
"It's not fair," Mr. Pavlick said. "You think, 'Why did this have to happen?'"
"Reports Show Girl Restrained Multiple Times" (WCCO)
"Report: Clinic 'Failed' Girl Who Died" (WCCO)
"Foster Parents Question Girl's Death" (WCCO)
"Angellika Arndt, 7, Died After Ninth Restraint At Clinic" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)