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New probe into Cumberland Children’s Hospital launched

Posted at 11:33 AM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 18:29:56-04

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. — A CBS 6 Problem Solvers Investigation first reported on in June, has led to another probe at a New Kent hospital under criminal investigation by the Virginia State Police.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Human Services (DBHDS) determined that compliance with human rights regulations was not met inside the Cumberland Children’s Hospital on the evening of June 3, when it came to the seclusion of a teen patient.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the CBS 6 Problem Solvers obtained a New Kent County Sheriff’s Office incident report dated June 03, 2021, that detailed a call for “disorderly conduct” just before 8 p.m.

When deputies arrived, the report stated several staff members were holding the door to the dayroom shut and the teenaged boy was locked inside. Deputies noted he had “a large piece of wood” and he was using it to destroy the dayroom.

According to an interview in the investigation, the employee on the other side of the door stated,  “I held the door closed for about 20 minutes to keep him in one place because initially, he was going back and forth in and out of the room.”

The teen reported to deputies that he “exploded” after he claimed he wasn’t being properly medicated and that a nurse threatened to “hit him over the head with a walkie-talkie if he approached her with the phone cord.”

According to the police report, the teen explained he had the cord in his hand after he tripped on the phone and broke it, missing the call he was supposed to have with his mother.

DBHDS launched an investigation after the CBS 6 Problem Solvers brought the incident to their attention.

The state ultimately found that Cumberland failed to follow its seclusion policy when the patient was prevented from leaving a room and was given the perception that it was locked. They also noted, seclusion should only be used in emergencies with a doctor’s order which an internal investigation determined was not obtained.

According to the investigation, staff was provided refresher training on seclusion and restraint policies, and the staff member who was holding the door resigned. 

The hospital was also cited for its delayed response to the state. Cumberland Hospital CEO Garrett Hamilton said, "All requested documents have been returned to DBHDS, and we have no outstanding CAP responses to provide to DBHDS."

As CBS 6 has been reporting since last February, the hospital has been under criminal investigation by the Virginia State Police for child abuse and neglect since October 17, 2017.

“The investigation remains ongoing," Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller said.

The Attorney General’s Office has asked anyone with allegations against Cumberland to contact the Virginia State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations at 804-537-6788.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.