Agency admits 'protocol' error in child's hot van death. Also has shigella outbreak. | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Agency admits 'protocol' error in child's hot van death. Also has shigella outbreak.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 3:45 PM

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KARK reports that four staff members at the Ascent Children's Health Services in West Memphis have been fired as a result of the death of a five-year-old left all day in a van.

Republican State Rep. Dan Sullivan of Jonesboro, CEO of the agency, which provides serves for children with disabilities, said employees had failed to follow protocol for ensuring safety of children transported to and from the facility. He said Ascent was cooperating in the investigation and his agency had volunteered to pay funeral expenses. The West Memphis facility of the company is closed the remainder of this week.

Sullivan has not returned my requests for comment, including on another development. The closure this week is not related to the van death, but to a shigella outbreak. The bacteria causes diarrhea and apparently has been reported in several places in East Arkansas, including several at Ascent Daycare. A letter provided by DHS indicated the Ascent management had decided to close the facility until Monday to sanitize the facility and prevent the spread of the bacteria to other children. The letter, sent to parents, urges them not to take their children to other daycare centers in the interim.

I've put further questions to DHS and the State Department of Health about when the shigella problem at Sullivan's center became known, its extent and whether normal procedure was taken in response to the news or if Sullivan's position as a legislator had any impact on how the situation was handled.

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