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Archive for the ‘hospitals’ Category

Georgia settles ADA suit over confinement of people with disabilities

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

From the Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AP/New York Times:

In a decision that is being hailed as a historic step toward enforcing the rights of people with disabilities, the state of Georgia has reached an agreement with the Justice Department to move many people with mental illness or developmental disabilities out of state psychiatric hospitals and into their communities.

The agreement, which settles a lawsuit alleging that the state was engaging in illegal segregation of people with disabilities, follows a federal investigation that found an “alarming frequency” of preventable deaths, suicides and assaults in the hospitals. From the LA Times:

As part of the agreement, Georgia will stop admitting people with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome and autism, into its state hospitals by July 1, 2011. The state will move all developmentally disabled patients from state hospitals to “community settings” by July 1, 2015.

The state must also expand community-based services for about 9,000 mentally ill patients.

“This is a monumental step forward for people with mental illness,” said C. Talley Wells, an attorney with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, one of a number of advocacy groups that worked with the Justice Department under friend-of-the-court status. “No longer will people be confined in a state hospital who could be living much fuller lives in the community.”

Program hones job skills for grads with developmental disabilities

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Project SEARCH offers hope amid massive unemployment

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

Project SEARCH, a national job training program for young adults with developmental disabilities, is helping a dozen young adults polish their skills at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The goal is to help the recent high school grads get long-term entry level jobs. It’s a daunting task at a time when the U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than 60 percent of people with intellectual and physical disabilities are out of work.

“There is a growing recognition, though, that individuals with disabilities have as much right to competitive jobs as anyone else, they just need the training,” said Julie Christiansen, the program’s coordinator in Rochester. She said the hospital hopes the program will help its workforce reflect the same diversity as is seen among hospital patients.

Disability protesters arrested in Atlanta

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

ADAPT protesters in Atlanta, photo from the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionFrom the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A handful of protesters were arrested in the courtyard of the Sam Nunn Federal Center in Atlanta Tuesday during a demonstration calling for better long-term care options for people with disabilities.

Representatives of the Office of Homeland Security refused to disclose how many had been arrested and whether they were being temporarily held.

The protest was part of a five-day campaign by members of ADAPT, a national coalition of disability advocates, to seek state compliance with the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead decision. The ruling has been interpreted as directing states to provide community-based supports for people with disabilities rather than continue unwarranted segregation in institutions.

See also: ADAPT Action Report

Disability advocates rally at Georgia capitol

Monday, October 12th, 2009

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Some 200 disability advocates rallied at the Georgia state capitol Monday, dispersing only after securing a meeting with Gov. Sonny Perdue’s chief of staff. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

The protesters are seeking state compliance with the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead decision, which directed states to provide community-based supports for people with disabilities rather than continue unwarranted segregation in institutions. They are members of ADAPT, a national disability rights organization.

“It’s a shame that 10 years after Olmstead, more people are going into nursing homes than before, “said Bernard Baker, an organizer with ADAPT’s Atlanta chapter. “Living in the community isn’t a privilege, it’s a civil right, and we are being denied our civil rights.”

Earlier post here.

Boston hospitals agree to improve accessibility

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

From the Boston Globe:

In the face of complaints about inadequate equipment and ill-prepared medical workers, two of the nation’s leading hospitals have agreed to spend millions of dollars to improve accessibility for patients with disabilities.

Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hopital, both affiliated with Harvard University, voluntarily agreed to remove barriers, improve equipment and train staff.

For patients such as Pamela Daly, who was paralyzed in a car accident 37 years ago, the agreement is an acknowledgement of the disrespect and discomfort they have endured. As part of the compact, patients will be directly involved in approving consultants and reviewing blueprints for improvements. “We finally get to have a voice,” Daly said.

For the hospitals, it is an explicit recognition that they have failed to do enough to accommodate the region’s disabled children and adults, who now account for 15 percent of the state’s population. And it also means they are spared the humiliation and expense of lawsuits that activists elsewhere filed to force improved access to medical care.

Couple faces end of battle over death of baby with Trisomy 13

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Barbara and Timothy Farlow, National Post photoFrom the [Toronto, Canada] National Post:

Barbara Farlow and her husband Timothy are facing what is expected to be the end of their legal challenge to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children over the 2005 death of their daughter Annie, who had Trisomy 13. If a judge rules today that the case cannot be heard in small claims court, as expected, the Farlows have said they will withdraw their challenge for lack of funding.

Barbara Farlow has claimed that the hospital denied Annie proper treatment, issued a “do not resuscitate” order without her parents’ consent, and gave her a lethal dose of painkillers as part of  an unspoken policy to deny life-saving treatment in the case of infants with genetic disorders.

She says she wishes not to blame doctors but to provoke a broader discussion about the discriminatory policies used to treat children with disabilities.

[Barbara Farlow] said the trend in genetic screening for birth defects is “discriminatory,” in that people who choose to terminate genetically abnormal pregnancies are offered care and support, but those who choose not to are “on their own.” Once Annie was born, she alleges, she was falsely told doctors would provide life-saving care for her respiratory distress and other ailments related to Trisomy 13, when in fact, she alleges, they intended to let her die naturally.

Earlier posts here and here.

(Photo from the National Post)

Parents: Ontario hospital withheld treatment from disabled girl

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Tim and Barbara Farlow, photo from Toronto StarFrom the Toronto [Ontario] Star, Global News Canada:

The parents of Annie Farlow, an infant who died at an Toronto hospital in 2005, are pressing a claim before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal alleging that their daughter received inadequate care because the hospital withholds life-saving treatment from infants with disabilities.

Barbara and Tim Farlow say their daughter, who was born with Trisomy 13, was admitted to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children with breathing problems but did not receive proper care because a “do not resuscitate” order was issued without their knowledge or consent.

The Farlows’ concerns are similar to those raised by the Wallace family last week, who alleged that staff members at the same hospital suggested that they stop feeding their daughter Kaylee and let her starve because she has a rare brain disorder. Jason Wallace said he was told that the hospital had to consider how much money Kaylee’s care might cost.


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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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