Facility with Intellectually Disabled Clients Performing Unauthorized Experiments

Do some googling of the Glenwood Resource Center in Glenwood, Iowa. This state-run facility, overseen by the Iowa Department of Human Services, cares for about 200 severely intellectually disabled clients. These individuals often cannot speak for themselves and need help with every aspect of their life. Many of them are on the autism spectrum.

Now it appears the Glenwood facility has been running unauthorized experiments on those innocent people.

To illustrate the issues with this facility, here are just a few incidents leading up to this latest one.

May, 2019. Numerous workers at the facility are whistleblowers, complaining that the standards of care are far below what they should be. In the first four months, eight clients have died.


July, 1029. A severely disabled man was left alone in the sun for long enough to put him into severe medical distress. It could have been up to several hours.


And now further investigation has revealed that the facility has been doing tests on the patients without gaining guardian permission. The patients themselves are not in a state to be able to give permission for themselves. The guardians would legally have to be contacted – and they were not.

It’s gotten to the level that the US Justice Department is now stepping in. This facility is supposed to be run by the Iowa government – and the people in Iowa don’t feel they can trust their own government any more to fix this problem. Just in the past eight weeks, three more clients have died.

Those who cannot speak for themselves must be protected and cared for.

I do want to add one note. The below USAToday story – and several others – seem to focus for “click value” that one of the clinic’s studies was on “sexual arousal”. I absolutely agree that no person should ever be sexually harassed or used. But I also am sensitive that our society can take the point of view that people with disabilities or challenges are completely without any desire for intimacy. Society can have a knee-jerk “That’s so wrong!” reaction to the thought of a person with a lower-than-average IQ or a disability having any interest in intimacy. So I’m not keen on that angle of the reports. It could easily be that the other studies done were just as egregiously wrong, but somehow those aren’t mentioned by name.

ALL of the studies done without permission – on ALL of the topics – are wrong. No study should ever be done without permission. No matter what the topic.

And at the same time, it’s normal and natural for people with physical disabilities, with emotional disabilities, with mental disabilities, to have an interest in intimacy. If this was to be studied, it should have been done with full understanding and permission of the guardians.


Image of patient in hospital sourced from Pixabay / artist parentingupstream

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