NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Connecticut News

Lawsuit Alleges Horrific Abuse At Middletown Psychiatric Hospital

whiting_apdavecolllns_180301.jpg
Dave Collins
/
AP
The Whiting Forensic Division maximum-security psychiatric hospital in Middletown, Conn., as seen in 2017.

A man who says his brother suffered more than a decade of abuse at a Connecticut psychiatric hospital is suing the state and twelve nurses.

Albert Shehadi says hours of surveillance tape footage show staff at Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown abusing his brother William. That abuse allegedly ranged from kicking and taunting him to making him wear a diaper on his head and wiping a mop on his face.

Antonio Ponvert, Shehadi’s attorney, says, “Instead of treating this vulnerable human being in their care with dignity and humanity, instead of complying with the most basic tenets of an even minimally civilized people, the health care workers assigned to Bill subjected him to unrelenting, sadistic physical abuse and psychological torture.

The fact that the abusers felt free to inflict their torture while being filmed at all hours of the day and night with impunity, with no fear of being reported or disciplined, is perhaps the best evidence of how broken the DMHAS [Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services] and Whiting systems are.”

The two lawsuits seek unspecified damages. The suit against the state also seeks better monitoring for Shehadi, who’s still in state care. A spokeswoman for the state attorney general says the office is reviewing the suits and had no further comment.

Dozens of state employees have been suspended since the first allegations of patient abuse at Whiting came to light last year.