For years we have been told to not lock our pets in our cars even in cool weather. Public service announcements have flooded the media warning of the dangers that quickly arise causing heatstroke and suffocation.
-  It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don't realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees -- and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun!
But on July 24, 2010 a residential treatment facility in Eastern Pennsylvania left a 20 year old Autistic boy locked in a sweltering hot van parked in the facility's own parking lot for more than five hours in 97 degree weather. Brian Nevins' lifeless body was found in the van only after a staff nurse could not find him to administer medications.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that after an outing to Sesame Place in Langhorne PA, a Woods Services counselor dropped off a colleague and two of his clients on campus. She then drove a short distance to adjoining homes where her two clients lived. Only one of her two clients was taken into the facility. Brian Nevins was left in a back passenger seat with locked doors that could only be opened from outside. According to the Inquirer, the unnamed counselor returned to work and finished her shift, clocking out and leaving a few hours later.
While the unnamed counselor, who has been suspended, appears to be the primary focus of the investigation, many questions come to mind regarding the entire facility's treatment of residents. In November, a 17-year-old Woods resident died when he was struck by cars after falling from a highway overpass. The Bucks County Coroner's Office ruled that death accidental.
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