$127 million lawsuit claims years of abuse at children’s hospital in New Kent County

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Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 1:53 PM EDT
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NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - The families of 20 former patients at a New Kent county children’s hospital filed a 127 million dollar civil lawsuit alleging sexual and physical abuse.

The nine-count civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Richmond Circuit Court over reports of abuse at the Cumberland Children’s Hospital in New Kent County that allegedly occurred over at least a 12-year period.

The civil lawsuit also states:

  • The hospital and its owner, Universal Health Services (UHS), based in King of Prussia, PA, committed fraud by keeping patients at Cumberland beyond the time necessary for treatment in order to maximize revenue, ignored reports from patients, families and employees of the ongoing abuse and provided misleading information to parents to keep children in their custody.
  • The complaint further alleges that UHS and Cumberland had inadequate staff to oversee its operation and therefore failed to protect the health and safety of patients, twelve of whom suffered from “non-consensual and unwanted touching” by Dr. Davidow, who approved all admissions to the facility in his capacity as medical director.
  • Roommates or other patients sexually abused younger and weaker plaintiffs after hours, at times coming into their rooms, “without intervention from staff” and “sexually abused and battered” them by “groping and fondling” their “intimate body parts.” There are also charges of a patient being scalded with hot water by an employee and of others being locked in rooms without access to toilet facilities and being forced to urinate into cups.

According to the lawsuit, the former medical director at Cumberland Children’s Hospital inappropriately touched the genitalia of young female patients, two as young as 12-years-old, during routine medical exams and that employees and fellow patients physically struck and caused harm to other residents resulting in:

  • Long-term pain and suffering
  • PTSD
  • Embarrassment
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Bodily injuries and more

There are a total of 20 alleged victims identified in the suit, who reside in 11 different states such as:

  • Virginia
  • Florida
  • Arizona
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • Tennessee
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Alabama

Named in the lawsuit besides Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents are UHS and two physicians, Herschel “Mickey” Harden, a psychotherapist, and Daniel N. Davidow, MD, a pediatrician and from 1996-2020, the medical director of the hospital, which advertises itself as a residential treatment center for youths, ages 2-22, with “co-occurring medical and behavioral diagnoses,” including brain injury, chronic illness and neurobehavioral issues.

Harden was indicted on sex crimes back in February as part of a Virginia State Police Investigation.

UHS has nine treatment centers in Virginia, including ones in Petersburg, Virginia Beach, Staunton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, Leesburg and the 110-bed facility in New Kent. 94 of those beds are authorized for acute care, 16 for residential behavioral treatment.

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