Our firm has begun working on another case against the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP).
Shawn Whittaker recently suffered a spiral fracture to his right arm, severe bruising all over his body and an injured foot while at CMHIP.
Shawn, 39, was hit by a drunk driver when he was 18 years old and left with a permanent closed head injury. One of the side effects of his head injury is recurrent bouts of depression.
In mid-July, 2011, Shawn was feeling depressed and was taken to the hospital by his family for treatment. He was transferred from the hospital to CMHIP, where he was admitted on a voluntary basis.
Just a few days after having been admitted to CMHIP, Shawn was in the cafeteria where he requested a soda. Because of certain restrictions, Shawn was denied the soft drink. Allegedly, Shawn became extremely upset, and a CMHIP employee hailed four security guards. According to a fellow patient and eye witness, the security guards cleared all of the patients out of the room except for Shawn. While this eye witness was walking away, he heard a table hit the ground and heard Shawn scream out in pain. Shawn reports they twisted his arm with such force he felt it snap. In addition to the snapped humerus bone, Shawn also suffered bruising on both arms, his back, chest and his ear. He also suffered ligament damage to his foot.
After the incident, it is alleged that the four CMHIP officers restrained Shawn by tying him to a bed for two hours because he was screaming out in pain. Despite his repeated requests for emergency medical attention, Shawn was not taken to the hospital for treatment until 18 hours later. Shawn later underwent surgery for his arm fracture.
The family has made repeated requests for information concerning this incident and the video surveillance pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). So far, those requests have been denied by CMHIP, the Pueblo Sheriff’s office and the Colorado Department of Human Services.
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