Iowa Teen Dies, YSI Investigates

Bill Howard
November 1, 1995
Iowa Teen Dies, YSI Investigated

The Iowa Department of Human Services is currently investigating the death of a 15-year-old girl who was a resident of Forest Ridge Youth Services, Esterville, Iowa, managed by Owen Mills, Md.-based Youth Services International (YSI).

Mystie Kreimeyer died Sept. 29 en route to a hospital. Originally diagnosed with pneumonia, an initial autopsy revealed that Kreimeyer died of a massive blood clot in her lungs. The girl's mother, Brenda Barnes, said in the weeks before her death the teenager lost 20 pounds and had complained for months about sore legs. On a visit to her daughter Sept. 22, Barnes said she had told the facility's nurse that the girl should be hospitalized. "The nurse said that it wasn't that serious," recalls Barnes.

Barnes now believes the Forest Ridge facility was responsible for her daughters death, charging the facility had failed to provide adequate medical treatment. "I would like to see it shut down, myself," she said.

Eric Sage, an Iowa DHS bureau chief, said the investigative report awaits the yet-to-be-released final autopsy.

YSI's own internal investigation found that there was "no lack of procedures being followed on the part of the staff," says YSI vice president Joan Stephens. "All the employees did exactly what they were supposed to do."

The 162-bed, nonprofit facility is a subsidiary of YSI begun in 1991 by former Iowan and founder of Jiffy Lube, W. James Hindman. (See YT May/June 1995). Its programs have been operating under a provisional license since June 2 when the facility was reprimanded for having an excessive number of residents injured while under restraint.

Howard, Bill. "Iowa Teen Dies, YSI Investigates." Youth Today, November/December 1995, p. 21.

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