Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "disabilities" ...

  • Questionable Care

    WLOS-TV reports on abuse and neglect at Pleasant Cove Assisted Living Facility, the largest adult care home in Buncombe County. A tape of the patients and the conditions at the facility at night shows safety hazards and unqualified staff. Some of the findings are that the employees have never been told how to evacuate the building and help the patients in case of fire, and that some were not licensed to handle medicines.The investigation caused for the county and state authorities to inspect the facility and downgrade its license. The Pleasant Cove's owner, who refused an on-camera interview, filed a suit against the TV station, the reporter and her bosses.
  • Broken homes

    A New York Times investigation reports on the poor conditions in which mentally ill people live in the state of New York. Many of them die prematurely in adult homes typically run by businessmen with no mental-health training, and troubled by systemic problems like untrained workers and gaps in supervision. Some of the major findings are that the government does little to hold the home operators accountable; many deaths go unreported; residents have been pressured to undergo medical treatment they do not need so that operators can earn Medicare and Medicaid billings; mentally ill people suffer from lack of air conditioning in oppressively hot summer days. "The mentally ill are among the most powerless of all populations, lacking the political influence to demand change," the Times reports.
  • Fatal Errors, Secret Deaths

    The Hartford Courant investigates covered-up deaths resulting from neglect and staff errors in Connecticut's group homes for mentally retarded. Patients often fell victim to suffocation, drowning, choking, burns and potentially treatable infections. Other findings include that the state secretive system conceals suspicious deaths and their causes not only from the general public, but even from next of kin; that the death rate in group homes has tripled from 1990 to 2000; and that the State Department of Mental Retardation is ineffective in investigating and taking actions against faulty group home operators. The group home system costs Connecticut taxpayers $260 million a year, the Courant reports.
  • Overwhelmed and Broken Down: Caring for the Elderly and Disabled

    The Journal Sentinel reports on deaths and injuries occurring in assisted living facilities. The three-part finds that elderly and disabled people are put at risk by "poorly trained or stretched too thin" caregivers. The findings are based on analysis of a database of state inspection reports. Other findings include that about 10,000 of the state residents who need long-term care have been pressed to wait for months or years for assistance from the state. The investigation examines the nursing homes industry in light of the aging baby-boom generation and the increasing number of people needing long-term care nationwide. The investigative team concludes that nursing homes are "crumbling under the financial burdens caused by inadequate Medicaid payments."
  • What Lies Beneath

    Riverfront Times chronicles "the history of corrosion problems with copper-inside-steel natural gas service lines as well as corroding direct-buried soft copper gas lines." The story depicts how a gas explosion in an old family upended the lives of Tom and Mary Hessel who were permanently disfigured as a result of their critical injuries. Laclede Gas, the faulty public utility, and the Missouri Public Service Commission, have known for years that the copper lines pose safety problems, but have failed to address the issue, the story reveals.
  • Foster Fare

    A Capital News Service investigation based on 1998 data on foster Maryland care case proves "what advocates had long seen anecdotally, that disabled kids have the toughest time in state foster care." Compared with other children in the system, disabled kids are more likely to end up in group homes or be set on a course of long-term foster care, and less likely to be placed with relatives, the CNS reports.
  • Fear of Flying: Disabled Travelers Say Discrimination is Still a Problem at Airlines

    "Discrimination against air travelers with disabilities was outlawed more than a decade ago by the Air Carrier Access Act. But complaints from disabled people have risen sharply in the past few years. Many of these travelers say airlines ignore the law, and that flying remains on the most difficult and humiliating experiences they have to face." The Wall Street Journal describes some cases of discrimination against handicapped people and reports on airline efforts to prevent it.
  • The Factory Life

    Pitch Weekly investigates 'sheltered workshops' in Missouri, "which employ 8,000 people who live with what doctors call 'developmental disabilities'. Most of the workers have mild to severe mental retardation." Missouri law says employers can pay workers "less than minimum wage, but must pay them at least 52 cents an hour." Factors such as this lead many people to believe these are forced-labor sweatshops. Other critics say poor funding has lead to bad working conditions and the workshops are improperly run. Despite critics, many of the people who work in these workshops and their families are happy. Workers make friends, create routine in their lives and earn some money. Pitch Weekly looks at the issues of sheltered workshops.
  • Goodwill Hunting

    "Goodwill Industries is a nonprofit agency that collects donated items to be resold with the profits going towards helping the disabled. Memphis, Tennessee, uses drop-off points across the city for people to leave their donations. These drop off points are staffed by a Goodwill employee during the day, but at night the donations are unattended. Our investigation uncovered people stealing these donations late at night, often times in large quantities. . . Once we caught the thieves on tape, we confronted them to find out the reason they would steal from the Goodwill. We shared our findings with Goodwill management, who were appalled to learn how widespread the stealing had become. Finally, we showed how these 'Goodwill Thieves' end up hurting people with disabilities, who benefit from the re-sale of the very goods that are being stolen. We also showed viewers how they could keep their donations from ending up in the wrong hands."
  • Broken Trust

    This Charlotte Observer multifaceted investigation examines the shortcomings of the North Carolina mental health care system. The reporter has found that "from 1994 to mid-1999 at least 34 people under the care of NC mental-care facilities have died suddenly or in circumstances that could raise questions about their care." Among the major findings are the facts that North Carolina "allows individuals with little or no training to open mental health facilities" and that "the state offers little oversight." The reporter details examples of felony patient abuse and neglect, resulting from the loose hiring and training standards set by the state. The series also explores "the lack of children's mental health care and how patients who can't afford care often seek devastating loophole in the law: giving up custody for their children." "The four state-run psychiatric hospitals provide only vague reports listing patient deaths ... N.C. law doesn't require private facilities to report deaths at all." Another part of the investigation focuses on the problems of the rest homes and reveals that they "too often fail to provide appropriate care to patients with mental disabilities." The investigation has found also that "the state's effort to build independent housing [for mentally ill people] is a frustrating series of stops and stalls." The investigation reports on the efforts of the state lawmakers to overcome the problems, but concludes that "political wrangling and funding constraints have stifled a years-long campaign to improve the system."