In an article published November 6, "http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/nyregion/at-stat...">Scant Scrutiny of 1,200 Deaths in State Care", New York Times reporters conducted their own analysis of death records from NYS group homes, and found disturbing patterns.
One in six deaths reported about this population in New York State were either called "unnatural" or "unknown cause". The same figure is far less common in other states that keep like records.
The records seemed to indicate that patient care problems contributed to the death rate.
Patterns were revealed in the 7,118 deaths of developmentally disabled persons in the past 10 years: too many residents choked to death when left alone with their food; others fell to their deaths when they needed help on stairs; more died in fires in their group homes that lacked fire safety measures; some drowned in their bath tubs when left unattended by staff for too long; still others repeatedly ran away from their homes, until eventually they were found dead.
The article describes the lack of statewide record keeping concerning the developmentally disabled, and the lack of training required for their caregivers, and standards of care to be applied.
This segment of our population is not as valued by society as others. There is often no-one to inquire into the circumstances of death of these folks.