What to Do If You Suspect Abuse Is Happening at a Rehab Center
People struggling with drug and alcohol abuse need support. They often rely on rehabilitation and treatment centers for professional help. If a rehab center is guilty of neglecting or abusing its patients, it can cause more harm than good. If you suspect abuse at a rehab center where you or a loved one is receiving treatment in Phoenix, Arizona, learn what to do to protect yourself and fight for justice.
What Is Rehab Center Abuse?
An inpatient rehab facility is where patients stay for several weeks or months while they detox from drugs or alcohol, receive professional medical and psychiatric help, and learn how to live sober lifestyles. If a rehabilitation center carelessly or intentionally mistreats its patients, they won’t receive the help they need. They can also suffer additional harm.
Rehab center abuse refers to a rehabilitation or treatment facility – or one of its employees – intentionally abusing, mistreating or harming its patients. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse and prescription abuse are all examples of rehab center abuse that could injure a patient.
What Are Signs of Abuse at a Rehab Facility?
Rehab center abuse is a crime that can not only interfere with a patient’s drug or alcohol treatment but can also lead to additional injuries and issues. A patient who suffers abuse or neglect at a rehab center – where the patient turned to for help in a time of need – may suffer serious physical and psychological health effects. Signs of rehab center abuse include:
- Unusual or unexplained injuries
- Frequent trips to the hospital
- Increased depression or anxiety
- The use of physical restraints or isolation
- Taking away food, water or restroom breaks as a form of punishment
- Financially exploiting the patient or his or her family
- Inappropriate sexual advances between a patient and an employee
- Failing to prescribe medications that a patient needs
- Patients escaping from the facility
- A patient committing suicide who was supposed to be monitored
- A patient overdosing while in the facility’s care
If the patient’s health and condition are deteriorating at a treatment facility, rather than getting better, investigate for possible rehab center negligence or abuse. Although not every adverse patient outcome is the fault of the rehab center, a patient’s unexplained physical or mental health decline is worth looking into.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Rehab Center Abuse?
If you suspect rehab center abuse, take certain steps to immediately protect the patient and hold the drug or alcohol treatment facility accountable:
- Remove yourself or your loved one from the center. A patient’s health and safety are the top priorities. If possible, discharge your loved one from the rehab center right away. If your loved one is complaining about being mistreated at a rehab center, believe him or her and arrange for removal without delay.
- Get medical help. If the victim has physical injuries from alleged rehab center abuse, go to a hospital for medical care. If the victim is still struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, start researching other rehab facilities, as well.
- Report the incident to the authorities. Report your suspicions to the police and the rehab center. You can also notify the Arizona Department of Health Services, which is the authority in charge of regulating rehab and treatment centers.
- Document everything. Write down and record everything you know about the incident. Obtain copies of any medical records, surveillance footage and accident reports that are available. If anyone witnessed the abuse, including other patients, write down their information.
- Contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights. You may have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the rehab center for financial compensation.
For more information about how to deal with rehab center abuse or neglect, contact Gallagher & Kennedy for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers in Phoenix are dedicated to fighting for justice and helping clients rebuild their lives.