(May 23, 2014) - A mother in Peekskill, New York has filed a $3 Million lawsuit against the Westchester Medical Center (WMC) alleging that during the course of a surgical procedure, her nine-year-old son "R.J.", who is diagnosed with autism, was slapped across the face by one of the hospital's nurses.
According to a local news report, "R.J." was supposed to be having a simple dental procedure last October when his mother, Yolanda Stewart, says he was slapped by a nurse. R.J. was referred to the center by a dentist at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, who determined that the child's explosive reactions to dental work required general anesthesia.
Gary Mayerson, a national board member of Autism Speaks, and his firm are representing Stewart. Said Mayerson, "we filed this suit in order to obtain justice for R.J. and his mom and to send a message to the WMC and other medical professionals that there are serious consequences for assaulting a vulnerable child. With the incidence of autism now at 1 in 68, hospitals simply must provide adequate training and supervision to prevent these kinds of situations from occurring."
A date is yet to be set for trial.
This story is part "Our Board in Action," a series of articles that highlight the work of members of the Autism Speaks Board of Directors as advocates and philanthropists. Learn more here.