MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee mother says her developmentally disabled son was bitten by bed bugs repeatedly, and wasn't able to tell anyone what's wrong because he cannot speak. Now, this mother is mad - not at the bugs, but at those who never told her about the problem.
Albert hasn't been able to speak since meningitis almost took his life at the age of three. Now, at 22 years old, Albert couldn't tell his adoptive mother what was bothering him. "He won't eat. He's acting out. He won't go on the van ride, which he loves. He's beating his head on the van. He's throwing chairs. I said 'oh my God, he must have been itching,'" Delores Sallis said.
What was bugging Albert, according to his mom, was bed bugs he contracted at a group home he stays at a few times every month. When Delores dropped off Albert's luggage a little more than a week ago at the Thurston Home on Milwaukee's north side..."the manager came out to ask me 'did you know we have an infestation of bed bugs?' I said 'no,' and she said 'you should have been notified.' I said, 'well, I haven't.' I was stuck. I was at a loss for words," Delores said.
Delores says the manager told her Albert had been staying in the room that was most infested. Delores took Albert home, and says he won't go back. "This is not fair to him. My son is 22 years old, but he has the mind of a three-year-old, and that's just not fair to him," Delores said.
The state of Wisconsin tells FOX6 News they had an anonymous complaint about bed bugs in the group home in September. Inspectors verified it, and the group home hired a service to take care of the problem. A spokesman for the group home says they are still contracting with that service, and says all families should have been notified. He regrets Delores Sallis wasn't.
"This is my pride and joy sitting here. By him not being able to hear or speak, there's some things I don't catch onto too fast, and I hate it because there's nothing I can do," Delores said.
Albert is now getting home care, and the bed bug bites have subsided. The state says the home is in compliance as it tries to get rid of the problem. The group home spokesman says he's not sure when the entire problem will be resolved.