Brackenridge girl 'dragged across carpet'

Last updated 09:13 20/11/2013
Stephen de Jong's daughter
CARPET BURNS: Stephen de Jong's intellectually disabled daughter is at Brackenridge.

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Family members continue to raise concerns about Brackenridge Estate's care of its intellectually disabled residents as the release of a report into the facility is delayed.

Christchurch man Stephen de Jong's 15-year-old daughter was allegedly dragged across the ground and suffered "substantial" carpet burns under Brackenridge care earlier this month, sparking an internal inquiry.

De Jong lodged a formal complaint with Brackenridge on November 5, a day after the Ministry of Health was expected to release its findings of an "extraordinary" audit of the facility.

An issues-based audit of Brackenridge was kickstarted in September after the facility's sole GP, Dr Peter Wilkinson, quit over two deaths and fears about the safety of staff and residents.

The final report was expected to be released by November 4 - more than two weeks ago. De Jong believes it has not been publicly released yet because the facility is "more concerned about minimising damage than being honest".

A ministry spokesman said the final report was sent to Brackenridge yesterday and the facility was now "required to send an action plan to the ministry by no later than Tuesday, 3 December".

De Jong, who works as a part-time chef, said his daughter has the mental ability of a pre-schooler and spends three nights a week in respite care at Brackenridge's sheltered community in Templeton.

Earlier this month, he received a call from her teacher and the principal of Ferndale School after significant grazes were found down her back.

She had been in Brackenridge care the previous three nights.

Later that day, de Jong said he also received a call from the manager of his daughter's respite house who said the girl had suffered welts on her back that looked like carpet burn, but were not and that she could be having an allergic reaction.

A medical certificate, obtained by The Press, shows that her GP diagnosed her with "lesions consistent with carpet burns to her lower back and R [right] hip".

De Jong believes his daughter was "violently" dragged by her feet and then rolled over on to her side and was again dragged by her right arm and foot.

He complained via email and in a meeting with other Brackenridge families on November 6.

"It was supposed to be a meeting to inform us what was happening [with the audit] and what was going to change, but when I tried to air concerns about her standard of care, I was shut down."

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Management also refused to discuss the audit in the meeting, citing that it was still in its draft stages, he said.

"They are more interested in minimising damage and controlling information rather than honesty. These are very vulnerable children with high needs and you've got to be transparent and honest about the good and the bad," he said.

Brackenridge general manager Peter Campbell said the facility was conducting an investigation into the care of de Jong's daughter and would discuss the findings with him this week.

- The Press


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