Just south of Tampa, the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation (FINR) opens its doors to individuals recovering from head injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI). But the center may be hurting more Floridians than it is helping.
In the last year and a half, lapses in care or abuse by staff have resulted in two patients' deaths. Three employees have been criminally charged with abusing FINR patients.
Since 2005, the Florida Department of Children and Families has received 477 complaints of alleged abuse and/or neglect at FINR. Thirty-six have been verified by the Department and forwarded to law enforcement for follow up.
One patient was on a feeding tube because he could not swallow. He died when food became lodged in his lungs after a FINR employee gave him solid food. Another patient was pinned down by four FINR employees. He was unable to breathe in the position he was in and died due to positional asphyxiation. There are additional stories of less-than-attentive care and overly-aggressive care by FINR employees from other patients who've received treatment at the Florida brain injury center.
Are There Good Options For People Recovering From Brain Injury?
For the 5.3 million Americans living with brain injuries, the treatment TBI patients have received at FINR may come as no surprise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nationwide, there is a lack of competent rehabilitation centers for those recuperating from a TBI. Improvements in emergency medicine and vehicle safety have resulted in fewer fatalities but more head and brain injuries for survivors.
Whether FINR in Florida is a good option for those suffering and recovering from a brain injury is for the family or guardian of a TBI victim to determine. The company reportedly charges up to $1,850 per day and, at least anecdotally, may not offer any better care than placing a patient elsewhere. In fact, a stay at FINR may result in substantial bills without substantial improvement.
Source: Bloomberg, "Abuse of Brain Injured Americans Scandalizes U.S.," David Armstrong, July 24, 2012