Autistic adult left in van on hot day, dies of exposure

28 Jul

I have a real hard time discussing these events. The story Woods Services client dies in van appeared on a site called PhillyBurbs.com. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Middletown police are investigating the death of a 20-year-old Woods Services resident with severe autism who was left inside a van parked on the campus for more than five hours on the hottest day of the year.

Brian Nevins, originally from Queens, N.Y., died of hyperthermia Saturday after he returned with several others from a day trip to the Sesame Place theme park, said Bucks County Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell.

5 Responses to “Autistic adult left in van on hot day, dies of exposure”

  1. David N. Brown July 28, 2010 at 07:37 #

    It will be hard to get around a “blame the victim” angle on this. Two issues that could put this in a little perspective: Autistics can be overly passive, and in some cases not very sensitive to pain.

  2. Dawn July 28, 2010 at 15:30 #

    @David N Brown: well, reading the comments under the article, most are blaming the center and/or the caregiver(s). No comments blame the victim. The poor man was stated to be a lovable person, with severe disability but able to walk. What I, like many of the commenters find unforgivable is that NO ONE missed this person for 4 hours! He missed lunch and no one looked for him until 4 pm when he had medication due. Poor soul.

    Given his level of disability, he may not have known how to get out of the van or even that getting out would help (it seems he was not buckled in, or he had the ability to unbuckle a seatbelt, since he was found on the floor of the van.)

  3. Jerebear July 28, 2010 at 22:34 #

    My wife worked as a residential counselor in a much smaller facility. This case is cut and dried:

    Two counselors, one the driver, chaperoned three patients on a field trip. When they got home, they simply forot about one of the patients and he roasted in a closed van for several hours, dying in the process.

    This cannot happen. There is no way to blame anyone but the driver/counselor and maybe the other counselor. Of course, the facility is legally responsible for their actions as well, but not criminally culpable.

    You’re looking at two out of work counselors who may do jail time, and a huge settlement from the facility, bottom line.

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  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Autistic adult left in van on hot day, dies of exposure « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com - July 28, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, bitswt02. bitswt02 said: RT @kevleitch: Autistic adult left in van on hot day, dies of exposure: I have a real hard time discussing these eve… http://bit.ly/d4t9G1 […]

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