Family: 12-year-old with autism scalded at hospital

Family: Child with autism scalded at hospital

MONROE, Ga. -- A 12-year-old suffered severe burns after her family said she was left unsupervised at a local behavioral health facility.

Soiya Cole said her daughter Mariah suffered the injuries after she was sent into a shower by herself at the privately-run facility for children with autism.

“Her face from her chin, chest, torso and leg  -- all underneath her arms is burnt with her flesh off of her,” Cole said.

Cole said her daughter never showered by herself before and turned the water all the way up and it scalded her.

“She fell backwards, hit her head, and the water just kept hitting her,” she said.

The 12-year-old now has second-degree burns covering 20 percent of her body. She told her mom she was screaming for help.

“Ninety seconds. Can you imagine sitting for 90 seconds and counting to yourself, as a parent, knowing that your child is being burned,” her mother said.

Cole said she talked to the CEO of the behavioral health hospital, who told her they have video of the whole thing.

The hospital acknowledged the incident to 11Alive, but would not release the video and refused to comment.

Soiya said they should have known better.

“My daughter is a fall risk, which means she should be supervised at least with a nurse in the room,” she said.

The mother believes the hospital’s actions are criminal.

“Had it been you or I, in our own home, we would have been investigated, possibly arrested,” she said. “And I feel like someone needs to be held accountable for this."

The mother called the local police where she lives in Monroe, Ga., but the hospital is not in their jurisdiction.

The Department of Children and Family Services told 11Alive because of privacy concerns they could not comment on whether or not they had launched an investigation.

Cole said she wants answers.

“What are you doing to never let this happen again? What are you doing to protect the other children in your care?”

She said there's nothing the facility can say or do that will ease Mariah's pain.

“To reach out to somebody and think you're doing something in the best interest of your child and then this happens,” she said. “It's devastating -- I'm crushed.”

11Alive is not naming the hospital because we have not confirmed that an investigation had been launched. 


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