Attention: Action Alert From Age of Autism

In lieu of a TMR post today, please read this very important article published by Age of Autism and please take action.


Email Ann Dillon in Media Relations with the link to this post. Tweet them our link @LoyolaHealth. Share our link on their Loyola Health FB page.

Vice President and CNE, Paula Hindel 708-216-3802
CEO Larry M Goldberg 708-216-3215

By Lisa Goes

Patient Safety Awareness Week, Spotlighting Loyola University Medical Center: A Parent’s Perspective

“I need to tell you Alex’s story.” Dorothy Spourdalakis, Alex’s mom spoke professionally with a deliberateness I was not expecting—considering she has been by Alex’s bedside awaiting proper medical care for his gastrointestinal symptoms, for 19 days.

19 days. 456 hours. 27,360 minutes. 1,641,600 seconds.

This is Alex.

The irony of this week marking The National Patient Safety Foundation’s “Patient Safety Awareness Week” is not lost on Dorothy. According to her, at 14 years of age, Alex has a diagnosis of severe autism and cognitive impairment. He is non-verbal. In October of 2012, Alex began to suffer neurological events that prevented a healthy sleep cycle. He was awake for many hours at a time. Agitation and aggression ensued as a result of sleep deprivation. During this time, symptoms and behaviors that were indicative of severe gastrointestinal distress developed as well. A cycle of constipation, diarrhea and formed bowel movements surfaced and became a chronic problem. On February 16th at 5:00 am, with the assistance of police and paramedics, Dorothy took her inconsolable and highly-distressed non-verbal child to Gottlieb Hospital in Melrose Park, Illinois.

Because of Alex’s physical aggression, he was placed in locked restraints. At that time, Dorothy did not know the ER would be their home for the next several days, as Alex lay naked, in locked restraints, suffering bouts of violent vomiting, severe constipation and diarrhea. Neither she nor Alex bathed for the next 13 days while hospital staff and administrators attempted to devise a plan to care for Alex. “He was given Colace for his constipation and sometimes it would take security staff and nurses more than 15 minutes to arrive to help unshackle him so he could use the bathroom,” Dorothy explained. “Alex would scream as best he could when he knew he was going to have a vomiting episode, but security took several minutes to respond so Alex would lay in his own vomit, waiting to be released by a representative of security. He would be wiped down and returned to the same restraints.”

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8 Responses to Attention: Action Alert From Age of Autism

  1. Caara says:

    Any updates on Alex?

  2. Susan Budd says:

    Stop this NOW! What is wrong with you and this world renow hospital.

  3. Please tell this mom she needs to see a MAPS doctor to get her son’s gut healed. That could improve his aggression and help him to feel better. He’s no doubt in a lot of pain.

  4. Wendy Frye says:

    I emailed the hospital – just to let them know our ever growing, tight knit community is watching. We are watching and spreading the word about the inhumanity being foisted on this young man, Alex. All the way from Washington State. My God, what have they done?

  5. Alison MacNeil says:

    another person to contact…
    “Senator Richard Durbin.

    keep up the pressure!

  6. Pam says:

    Dorthea Dix must be turning over in her grave!

    I have no other words for this!.

  7. Lesly says:

    This needs to go viral. This has to stop.
    Called the hospital a few times. They claim they know nothing about it. Please call & call & call & call…..document everything! Prayers for Alex & Dorothy.

  8. Alison MacNeil says:

    A smart mom on one of my lists just suggested that we all also contact the Joint Commission. Here is there contact info;

    I would also suggest leaving a comment on the hospital’s facebook page.

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