Friday 18 August 2017

Autistic teenager dies after carers leave him in hot minibus

The 19-year-old suffered heatstroke

Stock photo: Depositphotos
Stock photo: Depositphotos

Chris Baynes

An autistic teenager has died after carers left him in a minibus outside a disability centre in Japan for six hours as temperatures soared above 33C.

The 19-year-old was found slumped in his seat by carers at Cosmos Earth, a centre for disabled children and young people in the city of Ageo.

It is thought he had been forgotten by staff at the facility, who only noticed he was missing hours later. 

The teen, who is believed to have died of heatstroke, was rushed to hospital but later died.

Staff noticed he was missing shortly before the centre closed for the day and found him unconscious.

His body temperature was 41.4C by the time he was found, paramedics told Kyodo, a Japanese news agency.

Police have launched an investigation into his death and it is thought they could file criminal negligence charges against Cosmos Earth.

Kenji Otsuka, the manager of the centre, said: “I apologise to him and to his family from the bottom of my heart.”

The teenager’s death came in the week it emerged a New Zealand man died at a Japanese hospital after psychiatric ward staff allegedly strapped his legs and waist to a bed for 10 days.

Kelly Savage, 27, suffered a heart attack on 10 May, two weeks after he was admitted over a manic episode. The English teacher, who had been living in Japan for two years, died on 17 May.

His family believe the heart attack was caused by deep vein thrombosis, which developed as he was forcibly restrained.

Japan’s mental health services have previously been criticised for institutionalising too many patients and breaching their human rights.

A 2013 study found Japanese people with mental health conditions faced greater stigmatisation than in many other areas of the world.

The majority of the public keep a greater social distance from people with mental illness, it said, while two-thirds of people with mental health disorders never seek treatment because of the stigma.

Independent News Service

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