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Left In a Van, Asphyxiated: Two Disabled NYC Men Died Tragically (VIDEO)

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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, 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, 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, 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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7:41PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012


10:41AM PST on Jan 27, 2012

Very sad incidents!

6:06PM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Why aren't there protocols to ensure that every one who got on the van also got off? After even one person dies in such a manner, I would think every single facility in the country would have implemented some kind of measure to prevent this! Of course, people with pools still act surprised when small children fall in the pool and drown ("Duhhh, I didn't think she would climb the stairs to the pool..".) Too many stupid people in jobs that require thinking.....

12:44PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

I'm sure the Repricklitans will just see this as a cost reducing measure. Vote Republican and doom your own country.

12:39PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

Once an for all, leave no one in a vehicle who cannot help themselves without assistance. No animals, children/babies, mentally or physically challenged. I don't care how much you make for a living, no one forced you to do the job, but you took it. So, DO IT RIGHT!!! No one forces women who have babies to have them or continue a pregnacy, be responsible! No one told you to get cat or dog, or whatever, so take care of it. What's the problem? I am so frustrated with people DECIDING to be reckless, self-centered and stupid!!!!!

8:33AM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

It seems to me that these jobs are open to almost anyone. And it does not pay much so one can't expect much from these employees. Only specially trained people should have the care of poor helpless individuals.

7:14AM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

I think the biggest problem is these facilities are understaffed, and staff are underpaid. When too few support staff are left to care for too many individuals on a regular basis, its a recipe for disaster.

9:54PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

How sad. These deaths should not have happened.

9:27PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

sadly noted............... R. I. P.........................

7:18PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

As the US becomes more impoverished- physically, economically, mentally, culturally- expect more and more of this.

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