Cases involving abuse and neglect at behavioral health facilities are alarmingly widespread in their rate of occurrence and appalling in their circumstances. While nursing home abuse and neglect does garner media and public attention with some regularity, far less attention is paid to the horrors that do occur behind the doors of behavioral health facilities.
A detailed report on behavioral health facility abuse and neglect was presented to the West Virginia Legislature in May 2021. While the report to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability was unique to events that occurred in West Virginia, experts in the field of behavioral health concur that what has been recounted in that state is found across the country.
Appalling Examples of Behavioral Health Facility Abuse and Neglect
The report on behavioral health facility abuse and neglect prepared in West Virginia presented a long list of cases of horrific treatment at these care and treatment centers. The list of appalling instances of behavior health facility abuse and neglect included:
- A young male patient who drank antifreeze and was left unaided for 12 hours
- A child resident in a behavioral health center that managed to get keys to facility vehicle and died in a particular violent crash
- A female patient who was restrained for 24 hours with her arms restrained behind her back by her shirtsleeves being tied together
- An incident when staff of a behavioral health facility refused to perform basic CPR on a patient in need, resulting in that individual’s death
- Multiple instances of no staff training unless a patient died
The complaints and cases enumerated in the report occurred during a two to three year period of time. They were not some comprehensive recitation of horrific events going back many years.
Specific Types of Behavioral Health Facilities Included in Report
Behavioral health facilities are defined as centers that provide what are considered a continuum of services for the care and treatment of people who are suffering from or at risk for certain types of conditions. These are:
- Mental health disorders
- Behavioral disorders
- Addictive disorders
Three types of centers are included in the broader definition of behavioral health facilities. These are:
- Group homes
- Day programs
- Substance use disorder facilities (with a behavioral health services component)
As is the case in other U.S. states, the extent of these types of facilities in West Virginia is significant. There are 611 licenses behavioral health facilities in West Virginia. Of that number, 228 are residential group homes.
Coverup of Behavior Health Facility Abuse and Neglect
A key conclusion in the report is that time and again behavioral health facilities coverup instances of abuse and neglect. Ascertaining how frequent coverups of nonfeasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance occurs proves impossible. In an unknown number of cases, coverups work and information on abuse and neglect is never revealed.
When this type of misconduct is discovered, there facilities rarely are shuttered. They are allowed to keep operating under the guise of the state providing more frequent inspections. The end result is that time and again when behavioral facility abuse and neglect occurs, victims and their families are left to seek justice on their own. The best course to obtain justice in these types of situations is being as proactive as possible in retaining qualified legal counsel, like an attorney from The Doan Law Firm ay (800) 349-0000.
Legal Rights and Behavior Health Facility Abuse and Neglect
If you or a loved one have endured behavioral health facility abuse or neglect, the experienced, tenacious legal team at The Doan Law Firm is committed to fighting for your rights. A nationwide law firm, with 40 offices located from coast to coast across the United States, you can reach us any time of the day or night by telephoning (800) 349-0000.
We can also schedule an initial consultation with a behavioral health facility abuse lawyer at your home or any other location convenient for you. We can arrange a virtual appointment online with a behavioral health facility abuse attorney as well. There is never a charge for an initial consultation with a behavioral health facility abuse lawyer.
The Doan Law Firm has an attorney fee guarantee for you. Our firm will never charge an attorney fee unless we when your case for you. Our firm is committed to fighting tirelessly to obtain justice and the compensation you deserve in your case.