Saturday, October 13, 2007

Caretakers charged with child abuse

Two are accused of not providing medical aid to boy, 14, who died
October 12, 2007
By Jason Bergreen

Two caretakers at a Draper assisted-living facility were charged Thursday with failing to provide medical aid to a 14-year-old resident who died under their supervision in June.

Jorge Ramirez and Deborah Cole were both on duty at Youth Care Inc. on June 27 when Brendan Blum of Santa Barbara, Calif., died. An autopsy concluded that Blum died from an inadequate blood supply to his small bowel, according to a criminal complaint filed in 3rd District Court.

On the night of his death, Blum had a loss of bowel control, vomited and complained of stomach pain, but Ramirez and Cole did not provide or seek adequate medical help for him, the complaint states.

Blum was found dead on the morning of June 28. A state medical examiner concluded that Blum's death could have been prevented if he had been given medical attention.
"Secure treatment facilities are responsible for providing appropriate medical treatment and care for the children entrusted to their supervision," Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller said in a news release. "In this case, it is alleged that a young boy's need for emergency medical treatment was ignored and that this negligence resulted in the boy's death."

Miller also said that state law requires that treatment facilities and their employees be held to a "heightened standard of care."

Blum was at the facility because he had Asperger's Syndrome, a disorder related to autism. Cole and Ramirez are each charged with one third-degree felony count of abuse or neglect of a child. The crime is punishable by up to five years in jail.