Name: William Alcantara.
Died: December 10, 2020.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Deep vein thrombosis.
Location: Chula Vista, California, USA.
William lived with his parents as a young adult. When he had to be taken to the emergency room, the state took him away from his parents and put him in a group home. His father believes this was because he had a habit of making waves–complaining about William not being scheduled for a dental appointment he needed, and later on in the group home, complaining that William was over-medicated so that he became tired but could not sleep.
At the group home, William began to lose weight. Originally a chubby young man, he became thin and his father worried he was going to starve to death. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, William and his parents were unable to visit, and even phone and video chat was becoming less available. William’s father told the county guardians about his son’s situation–how he was getting skinnier and more unhappy and unhealthy–but nothing was done.
William died from deep venous thrombosis, and on autopsy it was noted that his body was badly bruised. His death certificate calls his death “natural”, but his family believes he died from being forced to stay in one place all day, not allowed even to walk around. “The caregiver kept assaulting my son,” William’s father says, “punishing him to keep… calm.”
Deep vein thrombosis happens when a blood clot blocks a major blood vessel. The risk factors for DVT are old age, recent surgery, pregnancy, obesity, trauma, and inactivity. Of these risk factors, William had only two: Trauma (the bruising to his body) and inactivity (being forced to stay quiet in the same place all day, or perhaps restrained). DVT is a known risk factor of restraint or forced inactivity. Although DVT can happen without risk factors, the bruising to William’s body and the fact that this death was that of a young, otherwise healthy man makes it clear to me that there should be further investigation.