Boston.com recently shared information about a particularly horrifying new medical malpractice filed against of a school for juveniles with behavioral challenges. Critics have been concerned about the treatment at the facility for troubled youth for years, but it is only recently that some of the treatment methods at the facility have been legally challenged in the form of a medical malpractice suit.
Each Illinois medical malpractice attorneys at our firm was surprised to learn that the controversial school apparently engaged in shock therapy as a way to help the children. The story explains how the school continues to use “aversion therapy” that involves shocking the skin of teenage students. One teenager was apparently screaming in pain as the aversion therapy was applied. The male teen was given thirty separate shocks within a seven hour period while in restraints. In the aftermath of the “therapy” he had to be taken to a local children’s hospital where he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The child in this case was later diagnosed with autism. He now lives in a state mental institution. A settlement was recently reached in the case, with the proceeds set to go to his long-term care.
These sorts of situations can spur medical malpractice cases, because even professionals providing treatments not received in a hospital are forced to abide by reasonable standards of care in their profession. That may include therapists, psychiatrists, and others.
Video evidence appeared a crucial component of this particular case. The Illinois injury lawyers at our firm know that more and more legal cases are hinging on video footage of certain conduct. More than at any time in the past, juries are able to see actual clips of the conduct at issue in the case. This is most common in negligence cases like slip and falls or nursing home abuse. However, as this case demonstrates, occasionally a medical malpractice lawsuit may also include video evidence.
In this particular case there is video footage of the teen being shocked. The video was shown to the court in the medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the mother of the teen on her son’s behalf. The footage allegedly shows the teen screaming as he was being shocked with electricity while in restraints.
This particular case has generated widespread community outrage. Apparently other videotapes exist showing other children at the facility receiving the same shock treatment. In one tape, the teens were shocked for a prank phone call that it was later learned they never actually made.
A petition signed by over 215,000 residents was recently submitted to state lawmakers seeking to force the school to stop its aversive therapy. For their part, school officials have long-tried to shield videos of the treatment from being made public. School officials apparently destroyed tapes in violation of the law. One former teacher at the school has already come forward to share information about the practices inside the institution and to raise a call for legislation to stop the abuses. It remains unclear if the lawsuit and petition will actual lead to any changes at the facility.
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