A woman was recently arrested for allegedly abusing a 21-year-old disabled
man in her care. Disabled adults face abuse risks whether they are cared
for in the home or at a residential facility. Such cases, particularly
where serious injury occurs, can be difficult to read about, but they
offer lessons for the disabled, their loved ones, and the people tasked
with caring for them.
My Fox Orlando, an employee of Carlton Palms in Mount Dora was arrested after being accused
of pouring hot water on a 21-year-old disabled resident. A surveillance
video in the home caught the caretaker filling a cup of hot water and
offering it to the man. When he didn't accept the offer, she threw
it on him, causing serious
Workers at the home noticed the man was acting differently, but he couldn't
vocalize his pain due to his disability. It was then that they noticed
his injuries and a doctor at the facility diagnosed him with second-degree burns.
A detective responding to the incident measured the temperature of the
water dispenser and found the hot water to be approximately 165 degrees.
The Burn Foundation estimates when tap water reaches 140 degrees, it can cause third degree
burns in a matter of five seconds or less. When the water is 156 degrees,
a third-degree burn can happen in a single second. In this regard, the
patient is fortunate his burns weren't worse than second-degree.
Second-degree burns affect the outermost layer of the skin and the first
few layers of the dermis (underlying layers). They usually involve blistering
and can become infected quite easily. In some cases, skin grafts are needed
to encourage complete healing.
When you consider the man was burned enough to blister and could have very
easily experienced third-degree burns, it's upsetting to think he
couldn't speak up about his pain and what happened.
When asked about the incident, the Carlton Palms administration said it
was an act of a single individual, who had been screened, trained, and
supervised. They said it isn't an indication of the level of care
provided at the facility.
Abuse and Neglect at Residential and Day Program Facilities
When you entrust a facility with the care of a loved one, you usually research
the company, ensuring the facility is operated by a company you believe
can be trusted. When that trust is violated, it affects everyone.
As much as we'd like to think these facilities have their patients'
best interests in mind, some of them are more concerned with their bottom
line. And even when the administration is focused on quality care, individual
employees can verbally, mentally, and physically abuse patients in their care.
For many elderly and disabled people, admitting
nursing home abuse is shameful and frightening. Some fear retaliation or being blamed for
their own abuse. Others can't speak up about the situation due to
a disability, like the man in this case. For these reasons and more, an
untold number of abuse cases go undetected.
Children, the elderly, and the disabled are all populations that depend
on others for their care and well-being. When this trust is abused by
someone in power, it's more than troubling. Holding abusers responsible
for their actions is one way to set things right again.