Buddhi Rai

Name: Buddhi Rai.
Died: November 20, 2014.
Age at death: 31.
Cause of death: Neglect (Drowned in bathtub while unsupervised).
Location: Arvada, Colorado, USA.

Buddhi Rai was institutionalized after police found him on the street and brought him to an emergency room. At that point, his family decided they could no longer care for him and he went to live in a group home.

He was from Bhutan, but living in the United States. His native language was Nepalese, and he appeared to understand it; but there is no evidence the group home ever provided an interpreter for him. Despite this, by the time of his death, he had learned a little English.

Buddhi had multiple disabilities, including autism and intellectual disability, as well as dysphagia (for which he had a g-tube) and a seizure disorder. Because of his epilepsy and because he tended to pull out his g-tube, he needed someone within line of sight at all times, and nearby when he was in the bathtub to make sure that he did not drown if he had a seizure.

On the night of his death, he woke up in pain at about three o’clock in the morning, and asked for and was given some Tylenol. Then he asked to take a bath. Staff tried to force him to go back to bed, but he objected to this, saying “No”. So Buddhi went to take a bath by himself. Staff did not help him; they left him alone in the bathtub, and by the time they checked on him, he had drowned.

Two of the staff from the nursing home were arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide. One was charged with manslaughter, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation.

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