Abuse and Neglect in the Hospital

I am beside myself with anger, frustration and helplessness regarding the situation with our friend, Kevin.
Kevin has not been “on hold” in the ER at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington since April 24, 2019 (for this episode)


Below are messages that I received from Kevin’s mom and legal guardian last night and this afternoon.  Kevin is a 26 year old young adult.  Kevin is autistic and is a vulnerable adult with a legal guardian.

“Cheryl, the hospital let Kevin leave the hospital and he was on scrubs and no shoes running down one of the busiest streets in town. He made it to the respite bed where he was a couple of weeks ago. He ran in the middle of cars for 2 miles. They called me and let me know he was there, the hospital called me after the respite bed told them he was there. He had blood blisters in his feet. Then they had the audacity to tell Tom (respite care administrator) that Kevin checked himself out of the hospital. The police came later and took him.

“The police took him back to the hospital and told the ER manager that Kevin is gravely disabled and should not be let go in streets like this.

I have asked for a DMHP assessment, but they are giving me the run around

He has blisters on his feet and sticks stuck in his skin – the doctor is supposed to see him sometime today.

They just called me and said they will let him leave again. I guess the DMHP assessment was not done because it was done when he first got to the ER.

It’s a never-ending mess.”

I went to the Bellingham police station and they said that when they drop him off at the ER they let the hospital know that he is a danger to himself and others and needs to be in involuntary confinement.  The hospital disagrees.  I hope he does not escape again tonight – it was a miracle that he didn’t get hit by a car yesterday.

This ongoing nightmare has been reported to the DD Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, the Department of Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration yet no action is taking place and the hospital is continuing to neglect Kevin and put his life at risk.

As a mother, nurse and advocate I am totally appalled and sickened by the lack of attention and concern that these state agencies, which are there to provide protection and care and the hospital which is to provide safe, appropriate healthcare continue with this neglect.

This is more than insane – is anyone listening?  Does anyone have any solutions?

Kevin’s mother has requested over and over again to allow Kevin to return to Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center (one of our States’ Intermediate Care Facilities) but DDA has continued to refuse saying there are no beds.  If this is an entitlement and there is “no refusal” how can DDA say there are no beds?

Is the only choice to let the hospital and state agencies continue to neglect their duties until Kevin runs into the street and gets killed by a car?  Then what?

Susannah Frame – King 5 Investigator – Please read this and help!


7 comments on “Abuse and Neglect in the Hospital

  1. Carolyn Guinotte says:

    He needs to go to ProvidencecStPeters where my son was stick for 4 months. They will take much better care of vim and will bring him back if he elopes. Get him committed involuntary detainment….then the court will intervene. Best he gets into Western State to the HMH unit where my son is now getting stabilized.


    • Thank you for the information. I’m glad your son is getting stabilized. I think the hospital agreed late last night to have an assessment done. A major part of the problem is that lack of action on the part of DDA – Kevin had been at Fircrest for a few years prior to living in a group home near his home community for about 4 years before this crisis. DDA refuses to allow Kevin to return to Fircrest for stabilization – a request his mother has made over and over again – they just let him deteriorate in the ER “on-hold”.

      We had hoped that with the DD Ombudsman report “Stuck in the Hospital” (https://ddombuds.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/DD-Ombuds-Hospital-Report-12.10.18-Final.pdf) and a couple of bills this past legislative session written to address this ongoing problem, there would have been some action towards solutions – unfortunately, that was not the case and the problem will just get worse.


      • Carolyn Guinotte says:

        We followed those Bill’s very closely and talked to our Senator (Hunt) and he put him name on one of them as a sponsor. Trouble is. They got trimmed and chopped and re written so much they lost most of the good they could have done. We also called NW Justice snd our legal rep from there is appealing all the changes they did to our son like take away his core waiver, his SSI and Medicaide and food stamps because he is at WSH. He was admitted into St Peter’s because he had a medical condition but couldn’t leave due to being dropped by Community Resources who had him under 24/7 care in a rental with 2 others. We found the “CARE ” he was getting was totally lacking and reported them for several violations and they retaliated by dropping our son.
        The agencies are cherry picking to the max and so those like our don who has behaviour issues get dumped at hospitals.
        NW Justice can do some things to help, The DDOmbuds the same, they report and do data entry but not much else tbo they can point you in the right direction for some help which isnt much.
        We finally got a meeting with Kris Pederson director of region 3 in DDA and had a very strong discussion with her. All thecSOLA homes are being earmarked for those coming out of PAT A at Rainier nd from Fircrest as they list their funding due to non compliance. Short staffed are the agencies and SOLA have state paid staff in those homes which pay higher than the agencies are hard to find.
        Mental Health is taking the most money and attention from the State funds that Inslee has appropriated.
        You can email the Financial Management people on their web site to ask how the funds are being appropriated.
        It’s a mess, a total unholy mess, those like Kevin and my son Alan are just the tip of the iceberg.
        Talk to your senators, to the director of DSHS Evelyn Perez and good luck if you can get a response from her.


  2. Valorie Hawk says:

    WE had a horrifying time at St Peter’s last month with my Autistic, brain injured son.


  3. Valorie Hawk says:

    Mary Bridge held my Autistic son for nearly a month, telling him there were no beds at Children’s. They discharged him, I drove straight to Children’s, where there had been beds all along. Mary Bridge just wanted to release him to Catholic Community Services, who cannot fulfill their contracts, have a young, untrained rotating staff, and caused more trauma and PTSD, this in both Tacoma and Oympia. I would like to do some digging, on the money CCS is getting/wasting, and how many people are falling though the cracks. An investigative reporter needs to dig deep, the abuse and trauma he was subjected to he will never get over. Two years later, and we cannot drive by Mary Bridge. I have so many horror stories, it could take up a book. I was a former Congressional researcher. staffer and worked in other political positions, and media, and I’m so blown away, I can still barely talk about what they did and are still doing to him. Now he’s at Evergreen, where the ADA director does not accommodate for special needs students.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marcia Alspaugh says:

    The good news is that Kevin was put on mental hold since last Friday, not allowed to leave the hospital again. Tomorrow he will go to a new group home with access living. We keep praying and hoping that this time it will work and he can be stable once again. Thanks for your support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for the update on Kevin. We sure hope that all goes well at the new group home – please keep us posted.

      This whole experience has been a nightmare and our hope is that DDA steps up to the plate along with paid advocates to increase funding so that appropriate supports can be in place for others in this situation.

      We believe in full choice of home, life and work – unfortunately, that is not the philosophy of the paid advocates who say they speak for all of us touched by significant disabilities.


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