Murray Center residents' safety must be the state's priority

September 29, 2013 

Murray Development Center in Centralia isn't fully closed yet, but already family members' fears for their loved ones are being realized. When the state decided to relocate developmentally disabled residents to smaller homes, officials promised the residents would be safe and well-treated.

But attorney Stewart Freeman, a court-appointed guardian, said in an affidavit that some homes are unsafe and inadequately staffed. One of his clients didn't get the medicine he needed and suffered a seizure, and another didn't get the doctor-ordered nutrition. He said fears it will only be a matter of time until someone dies.

Equally troubling is state official Kevin Casey's response, that the homes he visited were great, and that things went wrong sometimes at Murray Center.

Casey's priority seems to be ensuring that the closure proceed, but his focus needs to be on these individuals who are in many cases helpless and at the mercy of caregivers. State officials can't just say the residents will be safe; they have to ensure it.

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