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State Investigates After Nurse Finds Disgusting Creature In Man’s Breathing Tube

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Steven Wenger was lying in his bed at a New York State group home when nurses noticed something unheard of in his breathing tube: maggots. After a car accident in 1991, Wenger suffered severe brain trauma. He hasn’t been able to walk, speak or breathe without a ventilator for the past 26 years. The maggots may have been kept secret, if not for confidential report that the Associated Press obtained about the case. Now a New York state assemblyman is demanding a federal probe into the stat’s facilities for the disabled.

In Wenger’s case, investigators found that the maggot infestations the 41-year-old man was experiencing were the result of several days of neglect by caretakers. The caretakers failed to keep Wenger’s tracheostomy clean. But Justice Center officials said they couldn’t pinpoint the specific employees at fault, so no punishments were handed out. Investigators simple suggested that the home “consider” brushing up on training.

Secrets In State-Related Institutions?

In New York, and most other states, abuse and neglect investigations in state-related institutions for the disabled, addicted and mentally ill are very rarely made public. Robyn Grant is the director of public policy at the National Consumer Voice For Quality Long-Term Care, a Washington-based advocacy group. She said, “If a complaint is substantiated, there should be a pretty detailed report… but you cannot get that information.”

Grant explained that there are no consistent disclosure rules when it comes to data on care of the disabled in state-regulated facilities. She added that many state reports are “redacted to a ridiculous point, to a point where the sentences don’t make any sense.”

Harvey Weisenberg, a former state lawmaker whose son is disabled asked, “What the hell are they hiding? They won’t tell the public, or anybody else for that matter, what they’re doing.”

Abuse And Neglect Allegations In State-Run Facilities

When State Controller Thomas DiNapoli attempted to audit the Justice Center earlier this year, he was given just 8% of the reports he requested on 82,000 abuse and neglect complaints between 2013 and 2016. “What’s troubling is this cloud of secrecy that seems to cover their operations,” he said. “So you don’t know if they’re doing the job that they’re expected to do.”

In most routine cases, the Justice Center only discloses broad statistics on the abuse and neglect allegations made each year. The complaints include inadequate supervision of patients, physical abuse, sexual assault and death. Last year, the Justice Center reported 4,169 cases of abuse or neglect in public and private care regulated by the state.

Leslie Morrison, director of investigations for the advocacy group Disability Rights California, strongly suggests that families do their own detective work. “Go visit the facility. There’s nothing better than walking around, doing a sniff test, doing it unannounced,” she said. “If you can get in the door, that is. If you can’t get in the door, that might suggest something to me also.”

Watch the video below for more information:

Sources:
NBC 26
Star Tribune
Daily Mail
Rutland Herald








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