After nine Connecticut Valley Hospital employees were arrested and 31 others were placed on leave, lawmakers are calling for action.
The arrests happened last month, and more are reportedly coming, but the alleged abuse of a patient at the Whiting Forensic Facility in Middletown has now caught the attention of some state senators and local health leaders.
Arrest warrants show the patient, who has been at the facility since 1995, was pushed, kicked, and had liquid thrown at him.
“Placing soiled diapers on a patient's head, straddling a patient, and pressing a ‘groin against a patient's face.’ I felt compelled to make it clear, our state, our citizens and the many hardworking, dedicated employees at CVH and its vulnerable patients, all deserve much better,” said State Senator Heather Somers.
She and other lawmakers are calling for action as they say what happened inside this facility should have never happened.
“The harm that has happened here is unimaginable, unacceptable and hence, needed to be full investigated,” said State Rep. Dr. Prasad Srinivasan.
The commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said in a statement “The safety and well-being of the individuals we serve has always been the top priority for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). I, too, am outraged and disturbed by these allegations. Should the Public Health Committee call a hearing, the Department will fully participate and provide the committee with as much information as possible to help shed light on this issue without compromising the ongoing criminal or agency investigations. We have already begun implementing a number of systemic changes to ensure that such egregious behavior never happens again including overhauling the management team of the Whiting Forensic Division, centralizing our monitoring system of live video feeds, training staff and increasing access to client rights officers and advocates for patients.”
The governor's office also responded saying "there are a number of investigations already being conducted regarding this matter and criminal charges pending. The administration expects that all found guilty of any misconduct to be brought to justice and held fully accountable for their actions."
If you're a current employee, former employee or know patients at the facility, Senator Somers is looking to hear from you.
“We cannot undo the alleged violations of trust and abuse but we certainly can seek changes to prevent these atrocities from happening again. And the public deserves no less,” she said.
Somers is putting together a public hearing that is set for the end of the month.
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