What is Jonathan’s Law? [Part I]

A Brief Look at New York State’s Jonathan’s Law 

I will be uploading a infographic later this week to provide a more comprehensive look at the law and life story of Jonathan Carey, the 13-year old boy with disabilities whose death at O.D. Heck (a state institution) prompted the advocacy leading to the creation of this law.

1. What is Jonathan’s Law?

Referring to the amendments made to the New York State Mental Hygiene Law, specifically sections 33.23 and 33.25. Under this law, the facility must:

  •  inform “qualified persons” of any accident or injury that affects the health or safety of a person receiving services, and
  • provide documents or records relating to any patient abuse or mistreatment to qualified person(s).

The law is named after Jonathan Carey who asphyxiated after being “slowly crushed to death in the back seat of a van by a state employee” at OD Heck on Feburary 15, 2007 (Hakim, 2011)

*OD Heck was a state facility operated by the OPWDD, the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and closed down this past March,2015).

2. Who falls under the “qualified person(s)” category? 

  • Parents or legal guardians of minor patients

  • Family members or adult children who are legally authorized to make health care decisions on behalf of adult patient

  • Adult patients who have been determined by a court to be legally incompetent.


Continue reading “What is Jonathan’s Law? [Part I]”