Cornelius Fredericks, a 16-year-old Michigan boy died from a cardiac arrest after being restrained by several staff members at a residential treatment facility.
What We Know:
- Fredericks stayed at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a residential treatment facility for young adults placed in the foster care system or by their parents to receive behavioral health services.
- The incident occurred April 29 when Fredericks threw a half-eaten sandwich at another resident. Video footage shows he and the staff having a discussion before he began throwing food again. Fredericks was pushed by a staff member causing him to fall to the ground and several staff members began to restrain Fredericks. The report says some staff was laying across his upper chest and abdomen. “Six to seven male staff” was seen on him and reports say these men were “very large in stature”.
- According to the report, Fredericks was restrained for 12 minutes. After about 10 minutes, the Director of Nursing came in to observe the restraints and after the 12 minutes, staff released Fredericks and called 911. He was transported to Bronson Methodist Hospital where he later died.
- Sequel Youth & Family Services, the owner of Lakeside Academy has said they are “making the necessary changes to ensure something like this never happens again”. In the statement, they also added, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Cornelius and acted quickly to terminate all staff involved. Additionally, we have removed the former executive director of Lakeside from the organization.”
- The lawsuit claims Fredericks was diagnosed with COVID-19 while he was in the hospital. It also claims the hospital made no efforts to know if he was diagnosed with the virus or not. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says dozens of staff and residents at the facility were confirmed to have COVID-19 after Fredericks’ death.
- Jonathan Marko, Kalamazoo Prosecuting Attorney says Fredericks’ estate is requesting $100 million in damages. He says, “It’s sad it took the death of this young boy in order to bring this about. It shouldn’t have come this far. Cornelius shouldn’t have had to die for people to wake up.”
A full investigation has been launched into Lakeside Academy and all 125 residents have been “removed and placed in other appropriate settings” according to a press release from MDHHS. Sequel Youth & Family Services says restraints are only to be used in emergency situations such as a resident showing imminent danger to self or when a resident exhibits imminent danger to others.