YOUNG WOMAN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY DIES FROM NEGLIGENCE IN GLENKIRK FACILITY
Equip for Equality files Wrongful Death Suit
CHICAGO (Oct. 24, 2000) - Today Equip for Equality is filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County on behalf of the estate of Jenniger Klimek, represented by her father and legal guardian Aloysious Klimek, against Glenkirk, the Glenkirk Housing Association (GHA) and five individual defendants. Jennifer Klimek, 36 who had a diagnosis of Prader- Willi Syndrome, died on Dec. 26, 1999. A resident of the Glenkirk Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) in Niles, she was transferred to the Mount Prospect facility because of a staffing shortage during the Christmas holidays.
Klimek had been a resident of Glenkirk community facilities for about 14 years. She actively participated in a day work program and enjoyed community activities, especially shopping. She also liked to sing and ride her bicycle. She exhibited a number of symptoms associated with the genetically-based Prader-Willi Syndrome, including early developmental delays, mental and functional retardation, short stature, and an insatiable and uncontrollable appetite that would result in serious health consequences if not carefully monitored.
"Jennifer's death is a tragedy that could have been averted by competent care and appropriate supervision," says Beth A. Miller, senior attorney for Equip for Equality. "As a result, she consumed excessive amounts of liquid resulting in her untimely death."
Equip for Equality is seeking compensatory damages for the estate of Jennifer Klimek for negligent acts and omissions of Glenkirk and its staff that resulted in her death. Allegations include failure to provide safe housing when Klimek was transferred to the Mount Prospect facility, failure to properly monitor and supervise her ingestion of food and drink, failure to utilize locks on all doors and cabinets to ensure her safety, and failure to recognize the nature and severity of her medical condition on Dec. 26 and seek timely medical consultation.
"Equip for Equality strongly supports the concept of integrated community living for people with disablities. But to be successful, these programs must have adequate staffing, training and resources to meet the needs of each individual," says Zena Naiditch, President and CEO of Equip for Equality. "Our goal is to secure policy changes at Glenkirk and to raise awareness of the consequences of failing to ensure the safety of residents."
Equip for Equality, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance the rights of people with physical or mental disabilies, including development disabilies and mental illnesses, in Illinois through self-advocacy assistance, education, legal services and public policy initiatives. It is designated by the Governor as the state's protection and advocacy system with broad statutory powers to safeguard the rights of people with disabilies pursuant to federal law.
For further information, contact Barry C. Taylor or Beth Miller, Equip for Equality, at 312/341-0022, 800/537-2632 or TTY 800/610-2779.