On December 4, Henry, who had “no history of violent outbursts, became unruly and bit two other patients” says the New York Times. According to SILive.com, Henry had also bitten staff including supervisor Erik Stanley, who “restrained him by putting one arm behind his neck, another in front of his neck, forcing him flat on his stomach, and getting on top of him,” while waiting for a doctor’s authorization to medicate Henry. Henry stopped breathing and died; coroners ruled “asphyxiation due to chest and neck compression” as the cause of his death. An investigation has revealed that Stanley “did not follow protocol nor use proper techniques while trying to restrain Henry.” The New York Times says that Stanley faces “charges of criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.”
The video below shows Henry’s mother, Sharon Rowe with her lawyer Gary Douglas speaking about her son’s death.
According to SILive.com, Henry had lived at home until last year, when he was placed in a Multiple Disabilities Unit after “becoming too aggressive to handle.” He had home visits on Sundays and his mother became concerned about what looked like injuries that staff workers “explained away”:
“First there was a burn mark on his leg, and they told me that it was some type of skin thing, but to me it looked like a burn,” Ms. Rowe said. “The next time, he came home with a chop over his forehead.”
At one point while speaking to reporters, Ms. Rowe became overcome with emotion and had to leave the room.
“Each time she expressed concern, they reassured her that he was in the best of hands,” said attorney Gary J. Douglas. “There’s no question that this was systematic. … It’s about an attitude of abuse and neglect, and a pervasive attitude of neglect.
“There was a pattern of abuse with Jawara,” Douglas said.
It does seem that Henry had a history of aggression, perhaps due — as is the case with my own 14-year-old son — his struggles to communicate. On SILive.com, Henry’s stepfather, Courtney Rowe, says that he was nonverbal.
Both Eason and Rowe died while in the care of state facilities, where protocols for their safety were not followed. Their deaths are tragedies and they shouldn’t have happened.
Reading about Eason and Rowe is why I recently told a friend, I sure wish I could live forever. That of course being impossible, I know I’ve got to spend every day I have making sure Charlie will be safe and cared for when my husband and I are no longer around to be squeaky wheels advocating for his needs.
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