Our Illinois readers may remember that the Howe Developmental Center in Tinley Park, Illinois was criticized for being the worst-run state facility for developmentally disabled adults in Illinois. It was a place where Illinois employee neglect and abuse was blamed for dozens of Illinois wrongful deaths. In fact, two Cook County wrongful death lawsuits allege that Howe Developmental Center employees and on-duty doctors failed to prevent Illinois residents from choking to death. The Illinois abuse and neglect problems were so outrageous and hopeless that Illinois closed it in June once the remaining residents found homes elsewhere.
Despite the allegations of rampant neglect and improper care, officials reported that not a single Howe Developmental Center manager or employee was fired as a result of the closing. The Chicago Tribune obtained records that show that nearly 400 former Home employees are now employed at other Illinois state facilities for the developmentally disabled. For those who fought for the closure of Howe Developmental Center, the transfers and hiring of these former employees show a lack of accountability and highlight the problems that the Illinois Department of Human Services encounters when it attempts to fire union employees for poor performance. Many advocates now worry that the culture of ineptitude prevalent at Howe Developmental Center are now spreading to other Illinois state care facilities.
Investigations performed by the United States Department of Justice and the state officials of the inspector general backed up contentions that the facility failed to provide a safe living environment for its residents. The investigations cited a record of questionable care that put Illinois residents at risk. For example, the investigation showed that one resident at Howe Developmental Center in his 50s died after employees gave him medication but neglected to monitor his vital signs after he sustained a serious head injury. Additionally, an ailing man died in his wheelchair and sat there for more than an hour before anyone noticed. These allegations of Illinois wrongful deaths, uncovered by investigations, are atrocious and highlight the problems that lack of accountability can cause.
Click the link to read more about the closed Illinois facility.