WARNING: Graphic Images
Most of us view hospitals as places of hope and healing. According to a federal lawsuit filed last week, Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital does not fit that bill [1A].
Investigations by both the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica confirm that children confined to Aurora were subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse there [1B].
Child welfare officials at the Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services (DCFS) allegedly ignored the issues at Aurora due to a shortage of other psychiatric facilities willing to accept DCFS referrals.
Despite an increased number of complaints to the state’s child abuse hotline regarding Aurora, DCFS did not stop referring patients to that hospital until pressure was applied by watchdog groups and state legislators.
For those reasons, DCFS is, also, named in the suit.
Further Beaten and Molested
“It shocks the conscience that Illinois officials would treat our youth this way.”
-Public Guardian, Charles Golbert [1C]
The children and teens in the DCFS system are already victims of trauma or neglect. As such, they are among the most vulnerable of patients. At Aurora, these same children – some as young as 7, in DCFS custody for their protection – were further beaten and molested by staff and peers, or improperly medicated.
In the majority of cases, the lawsuit asserts, hospital staff were aware of the assailants’ history of violence but failed to take proper precautions. Reports are alleged to have been fabricated and video evidence destroyed to shield staff.
Depravity and Dysfunction
It is difficult to process this level of depravity and dysfunction. We expect more from our institutions, private or governmental. And we should.
Institutions are comprised of individuals – each equipped with a conscience, each accountable before God.
[1A, 1B, and 1C] Chicago Tribune, “ ‘Hospital of horrors’: Lawsuit says children were beaten and sexually abused at Uptown facility while in DCFS care” by Christy Gutowski, 12/18/19, https://www.chicagotribune.com/investigations/ct-chicago-lakeshore-hospital-dcfs-lawsuit-20191218-o5ix5japhjfunkqtr3wgdpjmoq-story.html.
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