Pennsylvania Special Needs Facility Faces Wrongful Death Lawsuit

People who care for the disabled and those with special needs are responsible for the welfare of those in their care. This is especially true when handicapped people are exclusively dependent on caretakers for their survival. Facilities that provide care for the mentally and physically disabled must realize that their patients rely on them for their basic needs.

Woods Services operates a nearly 800-bed facility in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, serving people with special needs. The home and one of their employees are the subjects of a wrongful death lawsuit that has been recently filed in Pennsylvania by the family of a resident who died while in their care.

A 20-year-old autistic man had lived at Woods Services. Last year, while in the care of an employee of Woods Services, the autistic man was left in a sweltering van in Langhorne for several hours. He died as a result of this neglect. The cause of his death was hyperthermia.

The building where the now deceased young man lived had 10 beds and has since been closed since its Pennsylvania license to operate was revoked. However, Woods Services is appealing that closure while the rest of their facility remains open.

The man’s family is suing both his caretaker and the home for negligence. The family is asking for $5 million in damages in the wrongful death lawsuit. With respect to Woods Services, the lawsuit alleges that they are responsible for their son’s death because they were negligent in the hiring and supervising of their employee.

In fact, the caretaker who was directly responsible for the man’s death was sentenced to two-to-five years in prison this past March. The family, however, was unsatisfied with that sentence.

This tragic accident could have been prevented if the caretaker was not negligent in her duties. Hopefully, this lawsuit will help the family obtain justice for the wrongful death of their loved one, and send a message to Wood Services that neglect and abuse will not be tolerated in Pennsylvania.

Source: newsworks, “Family sues over death of autistic man left in van in Bucks,” Carolyn Beeler, 12 July 2011