Disturbing New Details on Alleged Whiting Abuse

There are disturbing new details about what some staffers allegedly did to a patient at Connecticut's maximum security forensic hospital.

The abuse at the Whiting Forensic Division on the Connecticut Valley Hospital campus in Middletown was first reported in April. 

A new report documents video surveillance from a patient's room from February 27 to March 22 this year. Investigators said they saw evidence the longtime psychiatric patient was repeatedly:

  • Kicked and spit upon
  • Had water poured on him
  • Had a dirty mop rubbed in his face
  • Had a dirty diaper placed on his head
  • And staffers put salt in his coffee and hot sauce in his food

The patient’s conservator, Karen Kangas, has seen some of this video.

“What was the most disturbing about all of it is it was things that were unprovoked. He was not yelling, and screaming, or doing anything, he was trying to sleep," Kangas said.

The agency overseeing Whiting said it is appalled and has taken steps to address it. That includes putting 31 staffers on paid administrative leave.

The report said the video shows 40 Whiting employees either committing or witnessing the abuse and wonders why they're not all on leave. The state said it has initiated various personnel actions based on the severity of the alleged work rule violations.

This isn't the only report on this. State police have an ongoing criminal investigation as well.

This is the full statement from the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS):

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) is grateful for the efforts of the Department of Public Health on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Their efforts have provided a detailed report related to allegations of client abuse. DMHAS had already taken corrective action on most of the findings included in the report and will continue to address them on an ongoing basis. Steps that have been taken include:

o Initiated various personnel actions based on severity of alleged work rule violations.

o Increased managerial presence on-site

o Provided enhanced staff training

o Environmental and security improvements

o Increased office hours for client rights officers and client advocate

o Reviewed reporting mechanisms with staff and clients and reporting requirements for staff

DMHAS is appalled by the nature of the abuse in the allegations. We will complete a thorough HR investigation once the criminal investigation into these allegations is complete. We continue to work to identify more ways to improve patient care and safety and will do whatever is necessary to prevent future incidents. We remain committed to our vision of providing high-quality behavioral health care that is compassionate, genuine and professional.

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