It's been reported that a 16-year-old Michigan boy died after staff at a residential facility "wrongly applied" restraint methods to his body. According to CNN, Cornelius Fredericks was staying at Lakeside Academy, a facility where young adults ages 12 to 18 can receive behavioral health services.
On April 29, Fredericks allegedly threw some food at another resident, which prompted staff members to restrain him. One report cited, stated that "six to seven male staff" members — some of whom were said to be "very large in stature" — placed themselves on top of the teen, in an attempt to subdue him. They reportedly laid across his chest and abdomen for around 10 to 12 minutes. Afterward, a nurse called 911, and Fredericks was then transferred to Bronson Methodist Hospital where he died on May 1, after suffering a cardiac arrest due to the restraint. Attorney Jonathan Marko has since told CNN that Tenia Goshay, who is representing Fredericks's estate, is requesting $100 million in damages.
In a statement, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services stated that it will no longer be allowing "physical restraints like the ones that cost this young man his life." CNN noted that s subsequent investigation found that the restraint methods used were "significantly disproportionate to Fredericks' behavior." MDHHS has since ended all contracts with Lakeside, and has started the legal process to have the facility's license revoked.
"On May 1, a young man died because of restraints wrongly applied at a facility licensed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services," MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. "It was a tragedy and an outrage. We cannot bring this young man back to life, but we will not rest until we have changed the system that allowed his death. ... We are committed to bringing needed change." The other residents of Lakeside Academy have all since been placed elsewhere.
Sequel Youth & Family Services, the owner of Lakeside Academy, issued a statement to CNN, stating that it is "making the necessary changes to ensure something like this never happens again." The statement continued "We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Cornelius and acted quickly to terminate all staff involved. Additionally, we have removed the former executive director of Lakeside from the organization."
"We have been in regular contact with law enforcement and state officials to help ensure justice is served and have accelerated the work that was already underway across our organization to move to a restraint-free model of care," the statement added. "We take our obligation to meet the significant behavioral health needs of all our students incredibly seriously and remain focused on our mission of providing the absolute best care and treatment possible for our clients."