The family of a mentally-challenged man has received an $11 million bill from the medical institution his sister claims he died at, the New York Daily News reports.
“I thought it was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe it,” Shanice Luke told the Daily News Wednesday, after receiving the bill from New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
Luke believes the bill is revenge for filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against the office and the care center where her brother, Rasheen Rose (pictured), died in 2012. The bill is for Medicaid assistance between August 2002 and Rose’s passing. New York State is demanding Luke pay it in full, should she win her suit.
“It has to be,” she added. “But they were the ones who killed my brother.” Rose was born with severe autism and unable to speak verbally. He died at the Bernard Fineson Developmental Center in Queens Village in August 2012.
A city medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, showing evidence Rose died from injuries caused from being physically restrained.
Luke’s lawyers found in an investigation that Rose was restrained in a dangerous position for at least 30 minutes by three staff members. One of the members–a 275-pound man–reportedly sat on him as well.
“He was basically crushed to death,” said Aaron DePass, one of Luke’s lawyers. Robert Santoriella, Depass’ law partner, added that nine other staffers were present at the time.
The office for People with Developmental Disabilities declined comment when reach by the Daily News.
Long Island Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg agreed with Luke that the bills are a form of retaliation.
“It’s an outrage,” he said.