While Rusty loved his mother, he couldn’t understand why she treated him the way she did.

For Rusty, a man with Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephaly and an Intellectual Disability, not even his mother’s house was a safe place. She would deny him access to his wheelchair or crutches forcing him to crawl through a filthy house on the floor. She rented his room out, making him sleep on the floor. When he was given the opportunity to bathe (which wasn’t often), she would make him bathe in her left over bath water. She would often go several days without changing his adult undergarments causing him to live with the odor of soiled clothing. She even stole his work and SSI checks, using the money for herself, telling him she couldn’t afford any incontinence supplies for him.

Eventually, the abuse and neglect became life threatening. On a cold December day, Rusty had to be rushed to the hospital and endured a five-hour emergency surgery to combat the gangrene that had developed in his genital area as a result of his mother’s gross neglect. The attending surgeon said his condition took weeks to develop and that Rusty would not have lived another 24 hours had he not had the emergency surgery. After three additional surgeries, Rusty was released to a nursing home where he would spend weeks healing.

Even though Rusty was his own guardian, he had been convinced by his mother that he had no other option but to live with her. He believed that living with his mother was the best life he could hope for. On the day of his hospitalization, Developmental Disability Professionals were able to step in and not only offer him choices, but implement a care plan that would keep him safe and healthy in a supportive environment. Rusty is now happy in his new home; he has friends, he works and he has a voice for the first time in his life.

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