Mental Patient Allegedly Injured by Caretaker

A scuffle between a patient and two caretakers at the state's largest center for mentally retarded adults ended in a serious injury that may have been preventable, according to a citation by state regulators released Thursday.

The male patient, who was not identified in the citation, had a
history of self-injurious behavior at the Communities at Oakwood in
Somerset, about 155 miles west of Pikeville.

During an incident on July 4, the two caretakers tried to control the patient and one ended up crushing his left testicle with a knee, the citation said.

The testicle was surgically removed at a hospital in Lexington. The citation concluded that a plan was in place to control the patent's outbursts safely, but the two employees failed to use it.

The caretakers said they weren't aware of the plan and lacked
training on how to deal with such situations, according to the

The facility also failed to protect the patient by allowing the caretakers to resume working in direct care while they were under investigation.

Both caretakers, who were not identified by state officials or the citation, were employees of Liberty Healthcare, a private provider.

The incident resulted in their termination in late August, said Gwenda Bond, spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees Oakwood.

Since January 2005, the troubled facility has received 23 citations for failing to protect residents.

With federal funding in jeopardy, the state recently entered a
$56 million contract with a regional mental health agency to manage
Oakwood in hopes of improving conditions.

The agreement with Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board, effective Nov. 1, pushes out Liberty Healthcare.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)