High-needs boy stuck in ER amid growing child welfare pressure in Minnesota
October 24, 2022
A distressing situation is unfolding inside the emergency department of Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, where a 10-year-old boy with severe autism and aggression has been confined for seven months.
Foster and group homes can't handle him, so county guardians keep sending him back to the ER, the one place obliged by law to take him in. Without schooling or specialized therapy, the boy and staff are stuck in a cycle of confrontation. Run-ins with nurses, support staff and security guards have compelled some workers to quit and left others bruised and injured.
"This kid, he's just created total chaos in the area back there," said one ER worker involved in the child's care who asked not to be identified for fear of losing their job. "We're all just feeling very helpless, hopeless."