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Family of Drowned Autistic Girl Sues Desert Hot Springs Caregiver

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The father of an autistic 5-year-old girl, who drowned in an after-school program for special needs children in Desert Hot Springs, has filed a lawsuit against Angel View Crippled Children’s Center demanding answers and accountability in his daughter’s swimming pool accident death, according to this news report. Anyah Raven Glossinger of Cathedral City reportedly drowned in a mineral pool Jan. 23 after participating in a hydrotherapy session at the center.

The lawsuit filed by Micheal Glossinger, Anyah’s father, alleged that the school’s staff failed to place a life-saving vest on Anyah, who was legally blind, diagnosed with low-functioning autism and could not swim. Glossinger said in a news release that the Riverside County wrongful death lawsuit “won’t erase the pain or bring Anyah back, but it will help hold those responsible for Anyah’s death accountable for their actions.”

I offer my deepest condolences to Anyah’s family for their loss. The incident was ruled a fatal accident and no criminal charges were filed by authorities. The parents and their attorney believe that the caregivers at the school were not monitoring Anyah’s care and are seeking punitive damages in their wrongful death lawsuit.

There is no question that Anyah’s parents deserve answers. The district attorney has not charged the caregivers despite the fact that many questions remain. Why did caregivers not take precautions before they took a 5-year-old, legally blind, autistic girl into a pool? If the caregiver to patient ratio was one-on-one as this article says, how could Anyah have drowned with the undivided attention of her caregiver?

Caregivers, especially at a center such as this, owe their patients a very high “duty of care,” which means that they should be especially vigilant with a girl like this in and around a swimming pool.

I’ll bet that this case never gets to a trial. It appears that the Center is clearly liable and the child’s parents are not going to want to be involved in a lawsuit for years. The Center should do a comprehensive investigation, determine where they were negligent, report the true facts to the parents and settle with them for a fair amount. Most likely, even if the Center wanted to take my suggested course of action, their insurance company is likely to want to drag it out and wear out the deceased child’s parents to discourage them from continuing to a jury trial in this wrongful death case.

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