DHS Worker Saves Man Suffering From Cerebral Palsy

Tuesday, August 5th 2014, 7:39 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma Department of Human Services worker goes above and beyond to save a victim of neglect.

DHS said Christy Pritchett is being recognized for her efforts after discovering the vulnerable adult victim nearly starved to death. The agency said the man may not have survived without the help of Pritchett, an Adult Protective Services worker based in Seminole County.

Pritchett investigates adult neglect, abuse and exploitation in several counties and was shaken by a recent case.

“It was a big shock because you never expect to go into a home and see someone in that condition,” Pritchett said.

In September of 2013, Pritchett was tipped off that a 21-year-old man with cerebral palsy was being neglected by his caretaker. Pritchett went to the home to investigate, but no one answered. Then the caretaker called her.

“They had told me the vulnerable adult was not at the home and was at a relative’s house, could I come back later,” Pritchett recalled.

Pritchett decided to check the back door of the home and said that is when she saw the emaciated victim lying inside on a thin blanket on the floor.

“He was just skin and bones is what he was, I mean, he could lift up his head, and he couldn't move, he couldn't talk,” Pritchett told News 9.

Pritchett said dogs were walking over him and there were dog feces next to him.

“He weighed 61 pounds and there is no telling how long it had been since he'd eaten,” said Pritchett. “It was just a matter of time before he would be dead.”

Thanks to Pritchett’s work, DHS said the man is now in a safe place and back up to 120 pounds. Pritchett received a DHS Certificate of Commendation for protecting vulnerable Oklahoma adults.

Because of privacy laws, DHS cannot reveal the names or locations in this case. However, DHS said the suspects are awaiting prosecution for caretaker abuse and neglect.