Ebel DC. After we lost Andrew. The Hartford Courant’s Northeast Magazine,
January 11, 1999. Posted on the Author’s Den website Friday, July 13, 2007.
On July 25th, 2007, I received the following Email:
From: [Email address Redacted]
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 10:28 AM
Subject: Andrew McClain
I've been visiting your site for several months, especially with regard to Andrew McClain's death at Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute in Portland, CT.
I was the Evening Coordinator at Elmcrest at the time of Andrew's death. I had only met Andrew twice; on Thursday and Friday I did not work weekends. That is, until Andrew died.
I won't go in to details here, but I will say that Andrew's death irretrievably changed my life, and I refer to much of my life as "before Andrew died" and "after Andrew died."
In January 1999, The Hartford Courant published "After We Lost Andrew" as the cover story of their Northeast Magazine. That was my story of the events surrounding Andrew's death. It is available at http://www.authorsden.com
I've become much better in the nine years since he died, and I'm finishing up work on my book, “The Forgotten Future: Adolescents in Crisis” which includes a section on Andrew.
I'm no longer working as a nurse.
Charly, good work on providing information on things so important.
Deborah Clark Ebel
[Visit Deborah’s Website!]
After receiving Deborah’s Email, I did some Internet research about Andrew.
Andrew McClain was a “mildly mentally retarded” 11 year-old boy, less than five feet tall and weighing approximately 90 pounds, when he died on March 22nd, 1998. At the time of his death, Andrew was being forcefully-prone-restrained by two Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute care providers who SIMULTANEOUSLY were employing a bastardized manner of “BASKETHOLD” restraint. Basically, Andrew was killed by people who were supposed to care about him, people who were supposed to care FOR him, solely because they were trained to use an entirely UNSAFE method of restraint.
See the following two news reports for “independent” information:
Staff Writer. Connecticut examines use of restraint holds on psychiatric patients
after death of boy, 11. New York Times; March 30, 1998.
Weizel, R. A child dies in state’s custody. New York Times; April 26, 1998.
According to the April 26, 1998 New York Times article:
“State officials said the hold used on Andrew individuals being restrained are held face down on the floor with their arms wrapped around their chests and their wrists held by someone over them is the same method that resulted in the death last year of 12-year-old Robert Rollins, who was also in state custody.”
After reading Deborah’s account of the events surrounding Andrew McClain’s restraint asphyxia death, and her eloquent descriptions of how she and others who were associated with his death suffered because of it, I asked her permission to post her account in the Restraint Asphyxia Library (as well as on the Restraint Asphyxia Newz Directory).
During deposition and/or trial testimony provision, I’ve seen the faces of uneducated restrainers who were being sued for causing a “wrongful death” (or the like). Many of them just looked “angry.” Angry at me for testifying “against” them? Angry at being sued? Angry at being “thrown to the wolves” because their supervisors and/or medical director failed to adequately educate them or provide them with SAFE restraint protocols who knows?!
Some of them, however, looked as though they’ been seriously psychologically “traumatized.”
I’ve always preferred to assume that these individuals were CARE providers, and that the “trauma” they apparently were suffering was due to their feelings of remorse and GUILT at having participated in causing a restraint asphyxia death. But, none of them have ever written to me, expressing what they FELT, or describing their experience of any remorse-related trauma after having killed someone they were supposed to be taking CARE of.
Thus before Deborah’s Email and article I’ve never been given a tangible reason to believe that the “trauma” these people were suffering was due to something OTHER than them having to “suffer” LITIGATION related to their actions.
Deborah’s article is the first one I’ve ever received that offers a blatantly honest description of how a restraint asphyxia death affects a true “CARE PROVIDER” even one who was merely “associated” with the death.
Deborah didn’t actually participate in the restraint that caused Andrew’s asphyxial death. But, the profoundly traumatic short-term and long-term psychological affects she suffered after his death (at the hands of her colleagues and friends) is something IMPORTANT TO SHARE with others. Additionally, her incredibly well-written account of the profoundly traumatic short-term and long-term psychological affects experienced by the actual RESTRAINT PARTICIPANTS is something IMPORTANT TO SHARE with others.
MAYBE, after reading Deborah’s account, ONE care provider might stand up and DEMAND that her/his service be provided with adequate education and techniques related to safe restraint application before their ignorance leads to them killing someone. Even if only ONE person does that, who knows how many lives might be saved?!
As Deborah wrote in the conclusion of her article in her message “To Andrew”:
Please know that because of you, changes are being made
and lives may be saved and that’s the greatest thing anyone can
accomplish. Rest in peace, Andrew. Rest in peace.