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Utah boarding school loses license after death of Arlington teen

HURRICANE, Utah, July 18, 2023—Diamond Ranch Academy, a Utah-based therapeutic boarding school, has lost its license after Taylor Goodridge, 17, a Stillaguamish tribe member who lived in Arlington, Washington, died within its care last year. The Utah’s Department of Health and Services determined the clinic failed to provide life-saving care that could have prevented her death.

Goodridge died from peritonitis, an autopsy revealed, which is a redness or swelling of the stomach, or abdomen’s, lining typically caused by a burst appendix. Peritonitis is often treated with antibacterials or surgery in serious cases. If treated it is rarely deadly but can lead to a deadly infection spreading throughout the body if untreated.

A panel, which formed the decision to not renew Diamond Ranch’s license, found that Goodridge had an elevated heart rate, was vomiting, had low blood pressure, and was noticeable pale from December 13 through December 20, 2022, but academy staff refused to take her to a hospital even when she pleaded for them to do so.

Taylor Goodridge
Taylor Goodridge. Photo Credit Dean Goodridge.

Rachel Goodrich, a former academy worker, told Reporters at Fox 13 that Goodridge vomited on her way to dinner, four days before she passed away, before collapsing in her own vomit. Despite not being able to get her up, staff at this point still did not seek medical attention for the girl.

Despite sufficient physical evidence Goodridge’s symptoms were beyond a GI condition, or simply faked, medical staff did not draw blood, Goodridge was not taken to urgent care or a hospital, nor did she see a physician. Instead, she saw a psychiatric nurse, Brooks Wiley, who was not qualified to work in an urgent care, ER, or family practice setting, the panel reviewing the case said. 

Goodridge’s family was contacted by the school on December 20, 2022, and was told that their daughter had “suddenly passed away,” Dean Goodridge, Taylor’s father, told Reporters. He hadn’t even been made aware that she was sick. Her family is now suing.

Taylor Goodridge
[Click on image above to download file or click here.] Wrongful death lawsuit Dean Goodridge v Diamond Ranch Academy.

Yet Goodridge’s death was not the only reason the state denied Diamond Ranch’s application for license renewal. In its official denial of new license letter the Health and Services Department noted there had been two patient deaths in prior years, in addition to Goodridge’s, as well as a Child Protective Services (CPS) finding of physical abuse between an employee and one of its patients. The Diamond Ranch Academy had been placed on two corrective action plans since 2013 and was operating under a conditional license which it violated, the letter states.

The report by a panel of medical and legal professionals from the state Division of Licensing also detailed the school was guilty of “not properly documenting records or communicating with a physician.”

The state of Utah is giving the clinic until August 14 to either send patients home or transfer to different schools.

Utah’s Attorney General’s Office has no plans of filing criminal charges against the boarding school due to lack of evidence, FOX 13 reported.

Editor’s Note: Featured Image credit goes to Dean Goodridge.

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