As reported by the New York Post, an autistic patient died after being held in a wrongful restraint. Erik Stanley, 37, a supervisor for disabled adults at a Staten Island mental health facility was charged with criminally negligent homicide.
Stanley allegedly applied excessive pressure to the neck and torso of Jawara Henry, 27, inside the Multiple Disabilities Unit on the grounds of the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Sea View Avenue.
Apparently, this action led to Henry’s death. The medical examiner determined Henry died of asphyxiation by neck and chest compression.
According to the New York Post, a source said Stanley placed Henry in a “chokehold” and forced him onto his stomach. Stanley then got on top of the struggling patient as he was lying face down. This was considered “excessive force.”
“Restraint should only be used as a very last resort and when there is immediate physical danger to the individual or others,” said David Perecman.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the investigation found Stanley did “not follow protocol nor use proper techniques while to trying to restrain” Henry, who was “agitated and aggressive and was biting staff and other patients.”
Stanley, who worked at the facility for eight years, allegedly broke protocol by not waiting for back-up from other staffers at the center.
“Taking care of an adult with mental illness is hard. Both the demands of care giving and the behavior of a patient can create situations in which abuse is more likely to occur. However, under no circumstance is it legal for caregivers to abuse or neglect people under their care,” said Perecman.
Stanley was arraigned on charges of criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. He pleaded not guilty and was released without bail.
Institutional abuse and neglect can happen at any public or private institution. Often times there are signs of institutional abuse. However, in this case, the death was not reported by any news outlet to be part of a pattern.
Individuals who experienced or know someone who suffered from institutional abuse should seek justice and compensation. An institutional abuse lawsuit may prevent further incidents or neglect or abuse. Mental facilities are held in a position of trust. When they fail to meet expected standards, they should be held liable. The same goes for nursing homes and other institutions.
If an individual suspects institutional abuse or nursing home abuse in New York, he or she should contact The Perecman Firm.