'Alarming video' shows patient abuse at Rhode Island state hospital, group alleges

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A disablement rights radical is alleging diligent maltreatment successful the psychiatric helping of the Rhode Island authorities infirmary following  the release of a video showing correctional officers doing a contraband hunt and stepping implicit a antheral who was "in evident distress."

The diligent was "lying connected the floor, successful evident distress, wearing nary covering different than boxer shorts and socks," wrote Morna A. Murray, enforcement manager of Disability Rights Rhode Island, successful a missive to the authorities bureau that runs Eleanor Slater Hospital.

"Twelve (Department of Corrections) officers, 1 aft the other, measurement implicit the petite-framed, older antheral diligent with nary evident respect for his information oregon quality dignity," the missive continued.  

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Murray said nary unit subordinate tried to assistance the diligent and helium was near lying connected the level passim the search, according to the missive sent to Richard Charest, director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. 

She added that the diligent was "forcibly grabbed by staff" and dragged crossed the level to his country wherever helium was assaulted by a younger patient. 

"The video depicts highly inappropriate and what look to beryllium acts of abuse,'' Murray alleged successful a letter.

The surveillance video of the Dec. 10 incidental was released Feb. 1 aft weeks of "delay and ineligible arguments," Murray said, aft Disability Rights Rhode Island requested it from the authorities agency. 

Disability Rights Rhode Island had alleged neglect aft an earlier probe prompted by the findings of different agencies suggested problems astatine the hospital.

In effect to the letter, a spokesperson for the authorities bureau said it "disagrees with the characterizations" astir the Dec. 10 hunt shared by the disablement rights radical and that the hunt was appropriate.

The department's "leadership believes the search, which followed incidents of diligent self-harm involving contraband, was carried retired successful an due mode and not successful usurpation of instrumentality oregon policy. DOC correctional officers are experts astatine conducting searches and uncovering contraband. 

Disability Rights Rhode Island's "conclusion that the hunt progressive 'highly inappropriate and what look to beryllium acts of abuse' ignores the nonrecreational and courteous mode successful which the DOC officers conducted themselves," the spokesperson said. 

Murray told The Providence Journal, portion of the USA TODAY Network, that her enactment is considering adjacent steps.

"The alarming video of the Dec. 10, 2021, hunt astatine Benton reflects a profoundly concerning civilization astatine (Eleanor Slater Hospital), and indicates that patients with disabilities are astatine continual hazard of maltreatment and/or neglect by ESH unit ... acting connected orders of ESH/BHDDH leadership."

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The contraband hunt followed the attempted termination of a patient, who had a past of self-harm and was expected to beryllium nether changeless supervision. The diligent had stockpiled and swallowed capable pills to beryllium sent disconnected field to Rhode Island Hospital for valuation and treatment. 

The hospital's main aesculapian officer, Elinore McCance-Katz, led what was officially described arsenic a "routine" hunt of the patients and their surroundings successful the Benton building. On Dec. 10, however, the Journal reported that situation guards had been brought successful to behaviour the contraband search.

At the time, infirmary spokesperson Randal Edgar said the wellness and information of the patients and unit is apical precedence and that the corrections officers completed a "routine contraband search" astatine the Benton facility. 

He aboriginal reported that "contraband was recovered and confiscated. As a result, the Benton installation is present safer for patients and staff."