• Coroner releases cause of Choate resident’s death

    by  • February 5, 2013 • News

    Union county coroner, Phil Hileman, has finally released details into the January 21st death of a resident at the Clyde Choate developmental center in Anna.

    According to Hileman, the individual was pronounced dead at 5:52 p.m. on Martin Luther King Day, after being transported by ambulance to the Union County Hospital.

    The initial 9-1-1 call was made at 4:41 p.m., with EMTs arriving at the facility two minutes later. Hileman says the individual choked to death on food.4fa4567b3c3b6.image

    In a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, found significant deficiencies with the physical and nutritional management services at Choate.

    The report indicated the importance of minimizing risks associated with swallowing and digestion dysfunctions that predispose an individual to increased risks of choking, aspiration and other possibly life threatening issues if given the wrong sized or textured foods.

    That same year, Gov. Pat Quinn received a copy of the DOJ report and a letter highlighting the most pertinent portions of the investigation.

    The failure by a developmental center to meet federal standards can result in federal decertification of the facility. Decertification results in a loss of federal funding, leaving the state 100 percent responsible for the financing of the facility.

    Spokespersons have been contacted for both the Department of Human Services, which oversees developmental centers, and the Department of Public Health, which is also investigating the resident’s death. Melaney Arnold with public health said the report from their investigation is being reviewed and should be released by tomorrow.

    According to Januari Smith with human services, the agency has created a corrective action plan that was approved by public health, to help prevent a similar, unfortunate incident.

    Smith says all direct care staff are being retrained on feeding protocols and how to properly read modified diet tickets to ensure individuals are receiving the correct diet.

    She also noted that meals at Choate are now reviewed and verified at least twice before being delivered to residents.