The young autistic man picked up from the Manchester Memorial Hospital emergency room on Friday by a group home operator under contract with the state has been dropped back at the hospital and state officials were scrambling to find another placement for him, The Courant learned Wednesday afternoon.
With the exception of about two weeks, the 21-year-old man, who also has an intellectual disability, has languished at the hospital since July, and the doctors and nurses are at their wit’s end, according to the advocacy group Disability Rights Ct of Hartford. The young man’s parents had abandoned him at the hospital.
But apparently, the hospital staff has been able to deal with the young man, who has been periodically disruptive, whereas the group home provider said it could not manage him during the weekend he spent in “respite,” or temporary care, said Nancy Alisberg of Disability Rights Ct.
Alisberg, the former legal director of the state protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities, said she was stunned by these events, including that it has taken the state five months to act.
“Now you have a provider under contract with the state dumping this young man back at the emergency department, where he doesn’t belong in the first place? And if this activity had started earlier, wouldn’t there have been more options for him?” Alisberg said late Wednesday afternoon.
Jordan Scheff, the commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services, was asked Wednesday about the group home provider’s decision to take the young man back to the emergency department.
“Our providers are charged with assuring the health and safety of the people in their care. When they feel they are not able to do that, then they need to rely on whatever resources are available to them,” Scheff said.
He said his agency is “doing whatever we can to resolve the situation in the best interest of the individual.”
Scheff said on Friday that legal impediments, including lack of consent from the family, has slowed the department’s response.
A spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday that the state is committed to finding a solution.
“Our hearts break for this abandoned young man,” said spokesman Jason Novak. “While we all wish for a swift resolution, this is a particularly tragic and complex case. The DDS is currently exploring all possible options to ensure that this individual gets access to the compassionate service that he needs, while working within the confines of the law.”
Alisberg said that a DDS psychologist was gathering information on the young man and that department staff members were working on trying to find an emergency placement for him.
“Now it’s an emergency?” Alisberg asked rhetorically. “Why did it take until now?”