Twenty-one-year-old Grant Pearson’s 2011 death was caused by “wanton and reckless behavior” of employees at the Crystal Springs home in Assonet, Massachusetts, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Pearson’s family. The lawsuit cites the home’s president and CEO, Spencer Moore, and several employees as defendants, according to the Herald News.
Pearson, who was severely disabled, died after swallowing a latex glove. He suffered from pica, a condition in which sufferers mouth or swallow inedible objects, according to the lawsuit. On October 25, 2011, an employee showered Pearson in a bathroom stall, and latex gloves reportedly were left in an unlocked drawer and on the tub railing, according to the suit.
After he was dressed and taken out to the hallway, Pearson began vomiting and fell down because he was unable to breathe. According to the complaint, staff members attempted to use an oxygen bag to provide him with air, but he remained unresponsive. However, the staff didn’t attempt to clear his airway, the lawsuit says, and instead began performing chest compressions. They also did not call 911 because they didn’t know how to reach outside lines.
When paramedics arrived, forceps were used to remove the latex glove from Pearson’s throat, but it was too late, and he later was pronounced dead at the hospital, the Herald News reported.
After Pearson’s death, two state departments reportedly found deficiencies at Crystal Springs, such as employees who didn’t know how to operate the oxygen bag, masks and tanks. It also found that persons with pica should be monitored more closely and that staff members weren’t collecting enough psychological information and reports about the condition to keep residents as safe as possible, the Herald News reported.
Pica is generally considered an eating disorder, according to WebMD, but if children eat toxic substances, such as paint chips, it could lead to lead poisoning or brain damage. Sufferers also could eat things from stones to metal scraps to light bulbs that could cause complications including constipation, intestinal tearing and death.
Crystal Springs reportedly has not responded to requests for medical records. No hearings on the lawsuit have yet been scheduled.
Families or residents who experience alleged neglect may want to contact attorneys about personal injury.