Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dad with history of assault accused of throwing 3-month-old son down the stairs and fracturing his skull (Wayne, Maine)

Dad is identified as WILLIAM GOODHUE LORD JR.

Father accused of throwing infant down stairs is ex-Riverview nurse

William Goodhue Lord Jr., 39, gave the OK to corrections officers to use pepper spray on a female patient who was not threatening staff.

By Betty Adams Staff Writer

The man accused of throwing his 3-month-old son down a flight of stairs on Monday is the nurse who was fired from Riverview Psychiatric Center after a patient there was pepper-sprayed and left for hours in restraints with the irritating substance on her skin despite the fact that she was compliant and not threatening the staff.

William Goodhue Lord Jr., 39, continues to hold an active license as a registered nurse, according to the online records of the Maine State Board of Nursing.

The certificate says Lord was first licensed as a nurse in the state in 2010, and the license’s current expiration date is Feb. 18, 2016. The address listed on his license is 57 Innes Ridge Road, Wayne, the home where police arrested Lord on Monday morning after getting a call about the injured baby once the mother took him to the hospital.

Lord is charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence assault on a child less than 6 years old and domestic violence terrorizing. The assaults name Preston Lord as the victim, and the terrorizing charge names both the infant and his mother, Ericka Melanson, as victims.

Melanson told police Lord was highly intoxicated and had been depressed about the loss of his job when he threw Preston, “who was not secured in a child safety seat, down a set of stairs. Baby Preston got ejected from the seat and landed face first,” according to information in a court affidavit filed by Trooper Dane Wing.

The mother told police the baby had stopped breathing but then started breathing when she picked him up. She took the baby to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. State police were notified after the mother went to the hospital. Reports indicate that police were notified about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Hospital officials said Tuesday they could not provide the condition of the baby. Police said the baby suffered a skull fracture.

Melanson told police she heard Lord say, “Preston deserved to be thrown down the stairs,” according to the affidavit.

A 10-year-old girl who also lives at the house was left alone with Lord after Melanson left. The child remained at the house until she got herself ready for school and got on the bus Monday morning, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police. Lord was alone and asleep when the state police tactical team arrived about 7 a.m. and arrested him.

On Tuesday, Lord remained behind bars in the Kennebec County jail in lieu of bail, which was set at $5,000 cash or $50,000 worth of real estate. He is scheduled to be in court again Dec. 30.

At Riverview, Lord was the nurse on duty in the Lower Saco Unit on Dec. 2 when patient Arlene Edson was pepper-sprayed.

A complaint about the incident, which two nurses investigated on the state’s behalf, “was substantiated for abuse and for inappropriate use of restraints.” While it blacks out the name and gender of the patient, Edson and others identified her as the woman involved.

Edson, 30, who has been at Riverview since 2011 after being found not criminally responsible for charges of arson and assault because of mental illness, told a Maine Sunday Telegram reporter in September that “I felt like I was burning all down my back. I screamed for a shower for hours, but they wouldn’t let me take a shower.”

Lord was the nurse who gave the OK to corrections officers to use pepper spray on Edson, according to clinical notes.

And on March 10, when Lord was interviewed by the investigators, “Mr. Lord stated that he did not think this incident was abuse,” the report says.

The hospital’s policy defines abuse as “the infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment that causes, or is likely to cause, physical harm or pain or mental anguish. …”

The investigators viewed video of the pepper-spray incident from cameras inside the hospital and from those carried by the corrections officers.

The investigators also noted that Lord’s nursing notes about the event described Edson as out of control, banging her head and kicking walls: “‘(Corrections officers) intervened as client was kicking holes and picking at shards of wall, warned client several times as to intent to gain control of (her) behaviors if (she) were unable to follow direction.’ There was no documentation in the nursing notes about pepper spray being deployed.”

The investigators noted that there were no holes in the room, just a large crack.

The report indicates that at least some Riverview staff members were unaware the incident had been captured on the various video devices.

On one video clip, Edson was seen at 8:51 p.m. Dec. 2, 2013, coming out of a bathroom, then undressing as she walked down a hallway to her room, behavior investigators noted that “was indicative of escalation in this patient.”

Lord, who was the nurse on duty, was recorded on audio saying, “I’ll go with a three-strike rule, basically, if we gotta do that …”

The next video, at 8:58 p.m., showed Edson “naked and standing with (her) back against the wall and (her) shoulders hunched forward. The video failed to show any evidence of assaultive behavior, violent behavior or aggression. The (corrections officer) deployed pepper spray at (Edson).”

Lord signed off on the use of the spray, according to the report. He appears to be the only one who lost his job as a result of the incident. The hospital reported the incident to state regulators on Feb. 27, about three months after it had occurred. The state Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that Lord was no longer a Riverview employee but did not provide any dates of employment.

Various administrators who viewed the videos in March during the investigation said they were shocked and wondered why it was used on a nonthreatening person, according to the report.

Daniel Wathen, a former Maine Supreme Judicial Court chief justice who serves as court master for a consent decree spelling out how the state must treat people with severe and persistent mental illness, told legislators last week he was bringing the pepper-spray incident and other problems at Riverview to the superior court judge in charge of the case. Wathen issues regular reports on the state’s compliance with the consent decree that settled a lawsuit about patient abuse at Riverview’s predecessor, the Augusta Mental Health Institute.

The hospital has had a series of problems over the past year and a half. Corrections officers brought into the facility in response to a brutal assault by a patient on a mental health worker in March 2013 were removed and later replaced with acuity specialists to monitor patient behavior.

The use of corrections officers caused federal regulators to review the hospital and remove its certification, which cut off eligibility for federal funds that amount to about $20 million a year.

Attacks on nurses and mental health workers have continued, the most recent occurring this month. Patient Ismail Awad is accused of assaulting different staff members at the hospital on Oct. 1, 7 and 14.