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Suit Over Center's Use of Shock Treatment Settled

A New York family who filed a malpractice lawsuit against a Massachusetts school for disabled children for administering shock treatment to their son has settled its lawsuit with the school, The Associated Press reports.

Andre McCollins was born with acute mental and behavioral problems resulting from autism. While attending the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, McCollins was repeatedly subjected to painful shock treatment, according to the lawsuit.

McCollins’ mother filed the medical malpractice suit against the center and three of its doctors, CBS News reports. At the trial in April, an expert witness testified that the three doctors were present as shock treatment was administered to 18-year-old McCollins in 2002.

Jurors were shown disturbing footage of the treatment. In the video, McCollins is seen being shocked 31 times, while screaming and begging for the treatment to end.

McCollins’ lawyer stated that the settlement was a victory for Andre and his family. Lawyers for the center said that the settlement was in no way and admission of guilt and noted that shock treatment can be an effective in certain circumstances.

Generally, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional’s negligent act or omission results in damage or harm to a patient. Negligence by a medical professional can include an error in diagnosis or treatment. Negligence by a hospital or treatment center can include improper care or inadequate training. McCollins mother contended that the doctors and the center were negligent in prescribing a dangerous and damaging method for her son’s treatment.

Andre McCollins’ lawsuit against the Judge Rotenberg Center has raised awareness about the use of shock treatment in the state. The State Senate has been trying to ban the practice for years. “It’s really horrible and it’s unbelievable that it still takes place in 2012 in the United States of America,” Senator Brian Joyce Said. “To my knowledge it’s not allowed in any other state in the union.”

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