TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Renaissance Management Group of Tulsa alleging that they caused her brother’s death.
Shannon Adams filed the lawsuit after her brother, Mitch Boles, died about a month after being transitioned out of Southern Oklahoma Resource Center, or SORC.
Back in 2012, the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services decided to close SORC and its counterpart, the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center in Enid, or NORCE.
Adams says that SORC was practically the only home her brother had known.
Boles was diagnosed as profoundly mentally disabled at an early age.
He was 51 years old, but had the mind of an 18 month old.
“Mom said he was always her baby,” said Adams.
After realizing they had to move Boles out of SORC, they relocated him to a community home in northwest Oklahoma City run by Renaissance Management Group of Tulsa.
Adams alleges that they were not properly trained to take care of her brother and that they made several mistakes that ultimately caused his death.
“He was unconscious and then they poured water down his throat,” said Adams. “He was put in ICU on a ventilator and he died.”
Eight different residents of NORCE and SORC have died since being transitioned into community homes.
But state officials point out that nine died at the institutions before being moved.
“The deaths of folks that have happened either at the facilities or in the communities were not unexpected and they were not unexplained,” said Sheree Powell with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Powell says the companies that run these community homes are equipped to do the job and that her agency has investigated all the deaths.
“The majority of people, more than 200 of them have safely transitioned. They’re doing very well in their homes and their families are happy,” said Powell.
Adams says that was not the case for them and she’s hoping the lawsuit creates some change.
“The thing about these group homes and these people that are running these group homes – my brother’s dead because of them. My brother’s dead because they weren’t trained, they didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t take care of him properly. And they’re killing people for profit,” said Adams.
We were not able to get a comment from Renaissance on the wrongful death lawsuit.
The remaining three residents of NORCE were moved out on Monday.
Fifteen residents remain at SORC.