Suit: Care Home Resident Died With Paper Jammed in Windpipe

2 months ago 57

Cheryl Yewdall spent astir of her beingness astatine a Philadelphia attraction location for radical with developmental disabilities. It was there, connected Jan. 26, that the 50-year-old was recovered look down connected the floor, successful a excavation of urine, suffocating connected a ample wad of insubstantial that had been stuffed down her throat.

She died 5 days later.

No 1 successful authorization has said however a 6- oregon 7-inch insubstantial towel oregon disinfecting hitch coiled up successful the trachea of a pistillate with cerebral palsy and profound intelligence disabilities. The aesculapian examiner’s bureau said it could not find the mode of Yewdall’s death, and a constabulary probe has yielded nary arrests.

But an lawyer for Yewdall’s mother, successful a caller wrongful decease lawsuit, casts suspicion connected an unidentified unit subordinate astatine Merakey Woodhaven—and suggests that Yewdall herself near a disturbing hint astir what however she was treated astatine the spot she called location for 4 decades.

“She was conscionable truthful saccharine and guiltless and helpless, and she depended connected them to attraction for her and emotion her and beryllium safe,” Yewdall’s mother, Christine Civatte, said successful a telephone interview. “I conscionable thought they would support her.”

In a written connection to The Associated Press, Merakey said it “denies immoderate responsibility” for Yewdall’s death, which it called “a superior and tragic incident.” The enactment said it has cooperated with authorities and section investigations.

“She was a valued subordinate of the Merakey community, and we were honored to person had her successful our attraction for much than 40 years,” said Merakey, a supplier of developmental, behavioral wellness and acquisition services with astir 700 locations nationwide.

Born 3 months premature, Cheryl Yewdall went to unrecorded astatine Woodhaven arsenic a child. She loved nursery rhymes, doo-wop euphony and particularly Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue”—whenever her parent enactment it on, Yewdall would smile, clap her hands and stone backmost and distant successful her wheelchair.

Christine Civatte said she thought everything was fine.

But successful January 2021, a twelvemonth earlier her death, Cheryl suffered a breached limb that went undiagnosed, the suit said. Then, aft an X-ray confirmed the fracture, unit failed to spot an immobilizer connected her limb arsenic required, telling a visiting doc weeks aboriginal they didn’t cognize how, the suit said.

And successful a abstracted incident, from September 2021, Yewdall was reported to person a achromatic oculus and swollen cheek, which Woodhaven attributed to a fall, the suit said.

Yewdall, who had constricted verbal skills, often repeated words and phrases she heard different radical say, a information called echolalia. One day, her sister asked her to say, “Hi Daddy.”

Yewdall’s response, recorded by her sister connected an iPhone, was chilling.

“Listen to me, [expletive]. Settle down baby. I’m going to termination you if you don’t settee down,” said Yewdall. “I’m going to termination you, [expletive].”

The wide implication, according to James Pepper, the lawyer for Yewdall’s mother, was that she was simply repeating what she’d heard astatine Woodhaven.

“Cheryl’s recounting of what she heard previously, and the undisputed facts of what occurred to her during that yearlong play (before her death), lucifer up,” said Pepper, who included a transcript of Yewdall’s statements to her sister successful the lawsuit.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health threatened to terminate Woodhaven’s licence aft Yewdall’s death. In their review, regulators besides recovered the attraction location denied punctual exigency attraction to different nonmigratory who fractured his hip, and failed to safeguard 2 residents with pica, an eating upset successful which idiosyncratic consumes things that are not food, according to a authorities report.

The study showed that “Merakey had nary effectual policies successful spot to forestall its residents from engaging successful pica behavior,” Civatte’s suit said.

Though different Woodhaven residents struggled with pica, Pepper said, helium doesn’t judge Yewdall inserted a ample disinfectant hitch successful her ain windpipe. She had a mean gag reflex and nary past of pica, according to Woodhaven records reviewed by the Health Department.

“No 1 with a gag reflex wrong mean limits could person enactment a cleaning hitch … into their trachea,” Pepper said.

The lawsuit, instead, pins blasted connected idiosyncratic astatine Woodhaven.

“Cheryl Yewdall’s deficiency of immoderate past of engaging successful pica behaviour indicates that a unit subordinate astatine Merakey Woodhaven placed the cleaning hitch successful Cheryl Yewdall’s trachea,” the suit said.

Philadelphia constabulary did not respond to aggregate requests for comment. The authorities lawyer general’s office, which has jurisdiction connected transgression neglect astatine nursing homes, declined comment.

The authorities Health Department returned to Woodhaven connected Sept. 6 and lifted the attraction home’s termination notice, concluding it had made “significant progress” successful correcting problems.

Woodhaven sent condolences to Civatte aft her daughter’s death, but offered nary accusation astir however and wherefore it happened, Civatte said. Staff invited her to prime up Cheryl’s belongings: six tubs of clothes, toys, dolls.

Civatte said she’s inactive looking for answers.

“I request to cognize everything that happened. Every azygous moment,” Civatte said. “I request to find retired who recovered her. I request to cognize who did this.”

By Michael Rubinkam

The Associated Press

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