Special needs teen dies after paramedic accused of giving medication to ‘shut him up,’ coroner’s report says

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said agents are investigating after a 16-year-old with special needs passed away at a hospital in April.
Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 4:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2023 at 2:52 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - New documents from the Greenville County Coroner’s Office reveal the investigation into a special needs teen’s death includes allegations that a paramedic admitted to giving the 16-year-old a double dose of medication to “shut him up.”

The Greenville County Coroner’s Office identified the teen as 16-year-old Skyler Blizzard. The report said Blizzard was a resident at Springbrook Behavioral Health, a residential facility in Travelers Rest for people with autism.

According to the report, the situation began on April 28, 2023, when Blizzard was treated for pneumonia at the emergency room of Greenville Memorial Hospital and discharged back to Springbrook the same day with medication.

The report stated paramedics were called again on April 29 when Blizzard was having trouble breathing. However, Blizzard reportedly went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and passed away at Greenville Memorial Hospital shortly after.

The report said following the incident, Greenville County Emergency Medical Services began investigating one of the paramedics who took Blizzard to the hospital. According to the investigator’s narrative report, a relative of the paramedic reached out to Greenville County EMS, saying the paramedic admitted to giving Blizzard 10mg of Versed, a medication given to patients typically before surgery, to “shut him up.”

The standard dosage of Versed is 5mg.

Officials from the Coroner’s Office interviewed another person involved in the investigation, and he reportedly told them the paramedic in question “knew his relative had told them he killed that kid” and “that wasn’t true.”

The State Law Enforcement Division officials said agents began investigating the situation on April 30.

According to the Coroner’s Office’s report, Blizzard was in the custody of the state of Georgia after his mother passed away, and his current caregiver was hospitalized with “significant” health conditions that made her unable to care for a child.

The report showed that Blizzard was diagnosed with autism and had the IQ of a 3rd grader.

Following the incident, Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health released the following statement.

We are heartbroken that on Saturday, April 29, one of our patients passed away very

unexpectedly. This individual had a non-life-threatening illness that required additional medical

care, so we sent our patient to a major healthcare provider in the Greenville area to receive

treatment there. In the course of this treatment, our patient had an unexpected reaction to the care

they received and, despite the efforts by those providing this care at the offsite medical facility,

our patient passed away while in their care. At Springbrook, we love the children in our care as

family, and we are devastated by this loss.

Mike Rowley, Administrator, Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health

The Coroner’s Office stated that they are still working to determine Blizzard’s cause and manner of death. SLED officials added that their investigation is ongoing, and they can’t release any other details at this time. We will update this story as more details become available.