$127M Lawsuit Against a Kent County Children’s Hospital and Its Workers

Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescence is being sued for physical and sexual abuse of their child patients. Law firm Breit Cantor filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court on October 20, 2020, against Cumberland and its parent company Universal Health Services (UHS), its former Medical Director Dr. Daniel Davidow, and Herschel “Mickey” Harden, a former psychotherapist who was indicted in February for sexually abusing a former female client.

The allegations in the lawsuit go as far back as 2008. As per a report by CBS News 6, Dr. Davidow took femoral pulses of his female clients and would “place his hand beneath the minor patient’s undergarments and sexually abuse the minor patient by intentionally touching the minor patient’s intimate body parts.”[1] Additionally, Dr. Davidow “wasn’t taking the femoral pulse of patients when their parents were in the room, he was only taking the femoral pulse of patients when they were alone when they didn’t have somebody there to speak for them and when they are the most vulnerable.”[2] Patients as young as 12 years old have made allegations of sexual abuse by the doctor.

The complaint filed alleges some of the following:

  1. UHS, Cumberland, Davidow, and Harden constantly pressured staff to change the primary diagnosis of patients, chart aggressive or sexually aggressive precautions in the patients’ records, and otherwise made fraudulent and materially false statements in medical records to justify longer stays.
  2. If a patient’s parent or guardian would not consent to admission or questioned changes to the medical records, the staff at Cumberland Hospital would threaten to call the police and the Virginia Department of Child Protective Services to force the patients’ parents to admit their child to Cumberland Hospital and silence them from making reports or question decisions made by Cumberland, UHS, Davidow, and Harden.
  3. Contrary to Cumberland’s “Seclusion and Restraint Philosophy and Family Notification,” UHS, Cumberland, Davidow, and Haden frequently used physical restraints and seclusion to coerce, discipline, and retaliate against patients.

Davidow since then has had his medical license revoked. The hospital is also alleged to have been playing a money game, by moving clients around the hospital to different beds in order to increase profits. This is being done even though Cumberland does not have adequate staff, proper licenses, and resources to take care of the children. The allegations against Davidow were brought up in a group session led by an intern. As stated by an alleged victim per CBS 6 News “He had me slide down my pants and he grabbed my underwear and pulled them down.”[3] Additionally, the alleged victim stated, “I was obviously very tense because it was a very uncomfortable situation and he was like just relax, just relax and he still did not have gloves on.”[4]

The complaint can be found here.

For more information see the CBS News 6 press release.

[1] Laura French, $127M lawsuit filed against doctors, Cumberland Hospital for Children for alleged sexual abuse, CBS News 6, (Oct. 21, 2020, 6:09 PM), https://www.wtvr.com/news/problem-solvers/problem-solvers-investigations/127m-lawsuit-filed-against-doctors-childrens-hospital-for-alleged-sexual-abuse.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

Light and Its Effect On Bedtime

We’ve all heard the saying, “time is precious” and as I have gotten older I have begun to realize this more and more. Recently I decided to invest more time exercising so I started waking up at 4 a.m. to run before my morning classes. The first few weeks after altering my sleep schedule were surprisingly rough until I realized that I tend to leave hallway lights on before bed. Once, I started turning off my hallway lights before bed, then I quickly fell to sleep. According to a recent New York Times, article children are also quite susceptible to the effects of light before bed.

In “To Help Children Sleep, Go Dark” author Perri Klaus explains the findings of a recent study conducted at University of Colorado Boulder, which recorded the effects of light on melatonin levels in children. Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland found in the brain which handles a person’s sleep cycle. During the day melatonin levels drop, but at night melatonin levels slowly rise. What the study found is that children are especially susceptible to light which causes melatonin levels to drop, leading to wakefulness in children.

According to the National Sleep Foundation receiving a proper amount of sleep for children is important because of its connection with body tissue repair, growth, and energy revitalization. To assist in the sleep process “To Help children Sleep, Go Dark” notes that to increase the likelihood that parents should use dimmer lights before bed to facilitate proper melatonin levels. According to the Healthline other methods that may help in putting a child to sleep include having a regular routine, keeping a child cool before bed, and cutting off television 2 hours before bed.

Though waking up early may not be for everyone, we still need adequate sleep to get along with our day. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is especially important for kids, which is why it is best to minimize a child’s light stimulus before bed. Other methods that can assist a child in lulling a child to sleep include placing your child on a regular sleeping schedule, limiting television before bed, and keeping a child cool before bed.

Sources:

New York Times

American Psychological Association

Healthline

Weekly Roundup

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Congress Faces Child Healthcare Deadline

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