Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eric Roberts - 1996

When the staff used a rather unusual method to restraint 16 year old Eric Roberts they may not have foreseen that they soon would be out of job. They wrapped him in plastic and a foam blanket with Velcro and left him for an hour only to find him dead when they returned.

It was neglect and the state intervened. Odyssey Harbor - the treatment home where he died filed for chapter 11 and had to close.

But just because the authorities cleaned up after this tragedy, it doesn't change the fact that a family lost their son. A life of a boy ended too soon.

May he rest in peace.

Sources:

18 comments:

  1. I was at Odyssey Harbor when the young man lost his life. What the stories don't tell is that we took him after a state psychiatric hospital kicked him out because they were afraid to work with him. No one else would take him. The night of his death he began screaming and fighting and was restrained. During the restraint he stopped breathing suddenly. The staff in charge began CPR and he was breathing on his own when he left via ambulance for the hospital. When our staff caseworker arrived at the hospital she found him lying dead on a gurney with his stomach badly distended. It appeared he was intubated incorrectly. An ER staff member was overheard saying, "We're not going down for this one." The closing of OH was more about politics than it was about Eric's death. We had 176 kids at the time and the state had decided to reduce the number of kids it had in Residential Treatment by 2 or 3 hundred. By closing OH, they took care of more than half that number in one stroke. Also, my boss had testified before the state legislature that we needed to consolidate the 22 agencies that dealt with kids into a single portal of entry. This was very unpopular with the bureaucrats that ran those little fiefdoms and they were looking for payback. She had given this same testimony 10 years before at a sunset commission and we were closed immediately afterward. This is not likely a coincidence.

    The incident in question provided the state officials an opportunity to close us despite the fact that at the time we had the highest positive outcomes rate of any RTC in the state and were taking kids nobody else would touch. Working with kids like these is dangerous. You take a risk when you take them in, but I know the people that ran Odyssey Harbor and the staff who took care of those kids. The loss of that child hurt us all deeply. We loved those kids like our own. Many of them still contact us today and call us "the only family they ever had." Eric should have been in a high level psychiatric facility where he could get highly specialized care. But no one wanted him because they couldn't get the funding they wanted. We did try when no one else would. Odyssey Harbor was not the villain in this case. No one was prosecuted. We were just pushed quietly aside and closed in order to cover up a mess the medical community and the government didn't want anyone to look too deeply at. The family was highly litigious and had threatened to sue the state hospital shortly before the state set him out on the driveway and told his family to come get him. They did not successfully sue the center. That tells you something. I thought you should know that. I care very much about the people that worked at Odyssey Harbor. They were good, kind Christian people and they loved those kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay. So the last time I responded to your post I was rather short. I didn't explain myself fully. I will try this again, and I will attempt to be more thorough and concise in this comment.
      First of all, there is quite a bit of your post that is hearsay and supposition. You are unable to provide any evidence whatsoever as to what ANYONE purportedly said, did, wrote, etc. The fact that there was a half assed coverup is beyond a doubt, but one fact remains. Your facility was hired and paid for by the people who enslaved us. You are no less guilty than they are. You are a former employee of a facility that was bought and paid for by the state of Texas in order to profit from our suffering.
      It doesn't matter what facility he came from, how difficult he was to deal with, or wether or not he was intubated incorrectly. The simple fact is that your facilities staff member restrained him. Incorrectly. And he stopped breathing because of you guys. NOT the ER staff. You restrained him, he stopped breathing (who knows for how long), and he was carried by ambulance to the ER. Because of Odyssey Harbor, NOT because of the ER staff.
      Next lets deal with the little matter of claims of political reasons for Odyssey Harbor's closure and subsequent investigation. There were numerous agencies who operated within the sphere of state run facilities that had much larger numbers of children in their care. Boys and Girls Town, Buckner, Pegasus Schools, Texas Youth Commision, San Marcos Treatment Center, etc. None of these locations were shut down, and they continue to operate to this day.
      The success rate and statistical data makes absolutely no difference. It was probably doctored. OH had access to all paperwork, reports, psychological data, and any other pertinent doccumentation. This is rather a self fulfilling claim.
      Was the state of Texas partially responsible for what occured? OF COURSE they were. They placed us there, they ignored our complaints, pleas, and injuries, they swept it under the rug, and they tried as hard as possible to push the investigation through the court system. They screwed us, and they knew it. Your facility knew it. Our families knew it. We knew it.
      Oh, and it being dangerous to work with children with our treatment history? I find it offensive. I was one of those high risk children, and I know for a fact that I deserve the title. I set the record for being booterd from facilities. I was barred from public school. I was charged as an adult by the state of Texas for assaulting a staff member at Odyssey Harbor. I know how afraid the rest of the children were because I was part of the reason they were afraid. I was a douche, and I know that only about 10% of us deserved the title. The rest were victims. Total bystanders, products of a flawed system.
      I mean, come on. How can you say that it was difficult to work with people who were mentally retarded, autistic, had cerebral palsy, learning dissabilities, etc? WE WERE DISABLED AND YOU PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSED US!!! You brainwashed us. You forced us to eat a nearly vegetarian 7th Day Adventist diet, then quickly switched us to meat for "surprise" inspection days. How did the facility always know? I was almost drowned at the 67 campus an no one cared.
      You had a teenager named Brian Drake there. He had been accused of rape several times over the span of 3 years. Nothing was done about it. FOR 3 YEARS!!! Numerous rape reports, numerous accusations of sexual misconduct.
      You even said it yourself. "No one was prosecuted. We were just pushed quietly aside and closed in order to cover up a mess the medical community and the government didn't want anyone to look too deeply at." Was it in any way your facilities fault that they wanted to cover it up? You had every chance to fix this. You never did. And instead of trying to get a hold of all of your old contacts from that flawed system and making an attempt to make things right, you distanced yourselves from us. You are still refusing to correct this.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Eric Roberts was a childhood friend of mine. I was 11 when we first met at S.A.S.H. He was like any other small child these days that lacked the love and care of adults rambunctious and acted out but at that time we all did throughout the years we sorta grew a bond always being readmitted to the state hospital like a revolving door of the corrupt child psychiatric treatment centers of the day (late 80'-90's) he was alot smaller then most children his age and quite timid from the abuse inflicted on him at the hands of staff and caregivers I remember when they transferred him to OH since I had been admitted to OH a few years earlier I feared for him and acted out the days preceeding his transfer we had a close bond and sat next to each other during most dinners and dayroom time in the adolescent unit of S.A.S.H. During our many stays together. We saw the news broadcast where he spoke out against san Antonio state hospitals abuse the year before his death at OH. OH did not care for the patients as stated by the first commenter they had harsh and abusive treatment practices and I swear not just Eric Died in their care.. But we will never know. Mr Doug you sir are a liar you nor the staff cared about a single one of us that were admitted to OH! If you did then why would you come over a decade later to defend yourself with obvious lies.Eric was killed at the hands of you and your fellow abusive coworkers. Please keep you ignorant lies to yourself I wish I could find Eric's parents these days to tell them exactly how the adults they entrusted their sons care to treated him.. Eric Roberts was a son a FRIEND and a little boy who wanted love and care.. I love you Eric lil buddy you will always be my Gilligan!! RIP Eric lil buddy Roberts!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with you both Stephanie and T.Pickens..The staff use to SLAM the kids.. Im talking arms crossed and feet in the air...Head first into the ground. The first time I saw that, I was scared shitless!! There have been at least 2. occasions where I literally screamed to the staff that I couldn't breathe.. One time I damn near passed out.. The anger still swells inside of me as I think of the feeling of helplessness and death I felt. My arm was also broken in that place.. No one took responsibility for the incident.. R.I.P. to the other kids that lost their life in that place.. And bless the souls who left there with permenant scars..Tbone....

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had a son in there. He also was mistreated and raped while in the custody of OH. He was brought back to Houston because he was being abused by some of the staff. He wasn't born they way he is today needing mental medication. I know because doctors would have told me if something went wrong or was wrong with my son. We're still trying to get him out of the CPS custody. He is 33 years old.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I also lived there. Crazy stuff. But all the homes were dumb. I'm glad they closed!!!!!!😡😡😡😡😡

    ReplyDelete
  9. I lived there in the late 80s and the place took my childhood.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was a child at Odyssey Harbor staff slap me on my face Rodney in the seclusion room plenty of times walk this with wrist restraints I remember a friend of mine Melvin Jackson was killed as the staff told him it was okay to go a while and he walk through the woods got hit by a car

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard about that. They didn't count it because they said he ran away and they were supposedly absolved of guilt.

      Delete
  11. Yeah the velcro blanket they call that the hot blanket I was left outside one time on the basketball court for hours sitting in the hot blanket I do know what you're talking about

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember it being called the "Whammy" and the "Blue Burrito", but yes, it probably had many names.

      Delete
  12. Yeah the velcro blanket they call that the hot blanket I was left outside one time on the basketball court for hours sitting in the hot blanket I do know what you're talking about

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was in oh they turned me into a fighter I was considered a loose cannon I was physically mentally and sexually abused in oh but you never hear about that. That place was hell literally hell most kids there never stood a chance I was almost consistently restrained and put in the whammy they broke my arm and turned me into a weapon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry you had to go through that. I totally believe you.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...