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Lester D. McDowell

Lester D. McDowell

Male 1951 - 2007  (56 years)

 Set As Default Person    

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  • Name Lester D. McDowell 
    Born 1951 
    Gender Male 
    Died 10 Oct 2007 
    Age 56 years 
    Person ID I30947  stewartsny.com
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2021 

    Father Ralph E. McDowell 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Ancestors June F Horr 
    Relationship natural 
    Family ID F1139  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Newspaper Article - December 6, 2007 The Citizen - Auburn, New York - ARC policy changed after death - An investigator suggested a single change to Seneca Cayuga ARC policy to prevent another accidental death after a man drank a household cleaner on the agency's bus. Lester McDowell, 56, died Oct. 10 after he ingested a cleaning solution he found in a wire basket under the seat in front of him. The ARC resident had received services from the organization for nearly three decades. The Central New York Departmental Services Office, an agency under the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability, investigated McDowell's death. The OMRDD also oversees ARC. The DSO suggested the agency review how the ARC stores cleaning solutions on its buses in case a rider becomes ill. That was the only fault the Syracuse office found during its review. The day McDowell died, an aide was helping another person put on a seat belt. When she turned around, the aide saw McDowell had a bottle of Pine-Sol in his hand, ARC Executive Director Kevin Smith said. At that point, the employee read the bottle's instructions and called the agency's nurse. They then called poison control, he added. “The investigator said the staff followed the proper procedure that the professionals in the field recommend,” Smith said. According to the National Institute of Health, someone who drinks that type of all-purpose cleaner should drink water and call a doctor or poison control. June and Ralph McDowell, of Port Byron, continue to support ARC and said the organization had nothing to do with what happened to their son. The staff's response was reasonable and appropriate, June McDowell said. “The ARC kept him healthy and well for 28 years,” she added. “We have no complaints, my husband and I.” Smith said McDowell's death was from complications triggered by the chemical solution. McDowell went to the hospital in a matter of hours after drinking the cleaner, Smith said. At the time, it was not an emergency situation and McDowell received medical attention immediately from the nurse, he added. The DSO investigation credited the aide for her actions to get McDowell help, as well as other staff members, said Kara Smith, OMRDD director of public information. She is not related to Kevin Smith. “We're very pleased with the way the staff responded in an exemplary manner,” she said. Kevin Smith requested DSO investigate because he wasn't sure of the circumstances and wanted to maintain objectivity. Kara Smith said the OMRDD investigates situations based on individual cases. “We try to do the right thing to protect those we serve,” Kara Smith said. “That's what happened. We used the information we found to improve the service we provide.” The agency wrapped up the investigation at the end of November, she said. “We took the opportunity to do a thorough review of our transportation policy. In the meantime, there're no cleaning solutions on the buses,” Kevin Smith said. Based on the investigation, ARC likely will keep cleaners in locked storage containers once workers complete an updated policy, he said. ARC representatives accept responsibility for not having a consistent policy, which allowed McDowell to get to the bottle. Kevin Smith sent a letter informing volunteers, parents, guardians and workers of the incident and the DSO's recommendations. He emphasized the organization is taking the findings seriously and will correct the situation. “I think that the fact that we were so open that there was an accidental death and that there was a responsibility on our part and what we're going to do about that (situation),” he said, “that reflects the integrity of the agency.”

      Newspaper Obituary - October 12, 2007 Post Standard - Syracuse, New York - Lester D. McDowell October 10, 2007 - Lester D. McDowell, 56, of Dennis St., Auburn. Survivors: parents, Ralph and June McDowell; brother, Rory; sister, Paulette Starita. Services: Saturday, 5 p.m., at White Chapel Funeral Home, Auburn. Calling Hours: Saturday, 2:30 to 5 p.m., prior to services. In lieu of flowers, donations to Seneca Cayuga ARC, 180 North St., Auburn.