'Hospital of horrors': Children abused, improperly medicated at Chicago facility, lawsuit says

Gabrielle Masson - Print  | 

Cook County's public guardian filed a lawsuit Dec. 18 against Chicago Lakeshore Hospital on behalf of seven youths who said they were abused while in state protective custody at the facility, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

The lawsuit alleges the children were beaten and molested by the psychiatric facility's staff and other patients from 2017-18. The lawsuit also claims staff improperly medicated children at times. Hospital staff often knew of the alleged attackers' history of violence and did not take proper safety precautions, the lawsuit claims. 

The facility's parent company, Signature Healthcare Services, is also listed as a defendant, along with several current and former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employees.

"What's perhaps most shocking is that DCFS knew about all the problems and all the abuses at this hospital of horrors," Charles Golbert, Cook County public guardian, said at a news conference. "However, DCFS did nothing to protect the children. ... Only after a public outcry and also the federal government's [threats] to stop funding did DCFS stop using this psychiatric hospital."

In November 2018, DCFS stopped sending children to Chicago Lakeshore Hospital and monitored the facility 24/7 until all foster children were released. The state agency no longer places children in the facility.

The lawsuit is an "egregious distortion," Patricia McClure-Chessier, Lakeshore CEO, said in a statement cited by the Chicago Tribune. She said patient health and safety is a top priority, and the hospital has worked to correct problems despite cuts to funding and other resources.

"Illinois already faces a severe shortage of mental healthcare providers, and driving more out of business only serves to exacerbate the problem instead of solving it," Ms. McClure-Chessier said.

More articles on clinical leadership & infection control:
CMS cites Houston hospital over C-section death
6 hospitals seeking CMOs
Vermont hospital extends OR closure into 2020 as sickening smell remains unsolved

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.