News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Monday, October 13, 2014

Disability Rights Center facing criticism for not protecting abused Riverview patient

Riverview Psychiatric Center is in the news again. This time the woman assaulted there was a patient, not a staffer.

An October 8, Portland Press Herald story blames Maine's Disability Rights Center for not taking faster and more decisive action when a Riverview patient was abused by staff:
The Disability Rights Center’s failure to immediately notify Adult Protective Services let down the abuse victim, critics said. 
“To just not report it because they could not urge others to do so is unacceptable,” said Rep. Richard Farnsworth, D-Portland, chair of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. “This report should have been made within 48 hours.” 
On Dec. 2, a corrections officer pepper-sprayed a nude patient who was in her room and not threatening employees, and then restrained her for hours afterward. The incident was kept secret until a former Riverview nurse reported the abuse to Adult Protective Services in late February. The state immediately investigated and concluded that abuse had occurred. One Riverview employee was fired as a result of the incident, and a contract worker was no longer allowed on Riverview grounds.
The article quotes Helen Bailey, a lawyer at DRC, saying they were working to try to get the hospital to take action on the patient's behalf so that hospital administrators would learn better how to handle such issues. 
Bailey said it is counterproductive for her group to report abuse when it is the hospital’s legal duty to do so. 
“If we do it for (Riverview), then they don’t learn how to do it themselves,” Bailey said. “They don’t get the point that these events are abuse if we do it for them.”
Read the complete article:  Patient advocacy group slow to report abuse case at Maine’s Riverview Hospital

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