Exclusive: Witness speaks out about abuse at Fla. State Hospital

Posted at 7:58 PM, Sep 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-04 20:44:13-04

Chattahoochee, Fla. (WTXL)--There are new allegations against the Florida State Hospital where many families send their loved ones to get help. A witness exclusively spoke with WTXL about how they've seen firsthand how residents are abused.

For the last 5 years "John Doe", a witness who wants to remain anonymous tells WTXL some Florida State Hospital staff members in Chattahoochee have been abusing residents.

"Its sad to say that residents are up there for treatment and for their situation that they're going through and instead of them getting treated they're getting abused."

The hospital serves as a mental institution, which is one of the first of its kind in Florida. But, the treatment the residents receive, Doe says isn't good at all.

"You have nurses, where you're giving them prescriptions and medication for a resident, but then they deny them and sometimes you have them giving them the wrong medication."

Doe says when the nurses forget to provide the medication it leads to sickness and other illnesses. On top of that, Doe says some of the residents are even beaten and sexually abused.

"You know punching them in the face, dragging them, slapping them upside the face. You have staff sleeping with the residents, staff taking residents off the ward, doing things that's inappropriate."

The witness says cameras have been installed all around the campus within the last 2 weeks, but there's still no way to see the abuse going on behind closed doors.

"Not in closed, like behind the restroom, like you can still get away with abuse if its not in place where the cameras can be seen."

Also, Doe says all the complaints of abuse and neglect are often swept under the rug. The reason Doe is speaking out is to put it a stop to it before its too late.

"What if that was your parent your guardian your loved one? Would you want that to happen to your loved one, would you want somebody to slap or beat up on your loved one? Or do they even know all of this exists or going on at the hospital?"

This isn't the first time WTXL's reported about allegations of abuse at the Florida state Hospital. Kathryn Cottle is accused of neglecting to care for a pregnant patient in December of 2011 when that patient delivered a baby boy. He eventually died after living 8 months on life support. The family of the baby tells WTXL they will continue to fight for justice for the baby boy.  The Florida Department of Children and Families fired several employees involved in the patient's case. Cottle is due back in court in october.

WTXL's reporter Brittany Jones reached out to the Florida Department of Children and Families Wednesday, which oversees the Florida State Hospital.

DCF spokesman Whitney Ray told us that they can't yet comment on the specific allegations made. However; he says DCF "takes all allegations of abuse and neglect seriously and if anyone has any complaints to call the abuse hotline."