(NOTE: I keep revisiting this case because I think it’s important to alert authorities of improper conduct toward other human beings – whether it be sexual or psychological – and it still has not been addressed by those whose responsibility it is to investigate such matters. Thus, it is still unresolved.)
I’m having a #metoo moment, but not about sexual assault, but about psychological assault by a system that continues to stigmatize those who have a psychiatric diagnosis, including the top tier of that system – medical professionals who should know better. Like the #metoo movement, this is about the gross abuse of Power, the lengths someone will go to when challenged, the immense stigma toward already vulnerable populations, and suffering the consequences of that wrath. I believe we live in a system where this type of behavior is enabled, and that’s a frightening thought – when the system fails to address and treat an infection within the system.
In 2014, the Department of Justice/Americans With Disabilities (DOJ/ADA) division was interested in a complaint I had filed against Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, regarding an experience I had there with an Emotional Therapy Dog, a delightful ShiTzu, while visiting a hospitalized patient. That experience interested the DOJ. They kept that file open for a year and an agent was in regular contact with me. Little did I know at that time, that I would become the subject of a complaint I never would have imagined, 2 years down the road. These are the only 2 complaints I have ever filed.
The traumatic experience at the GREATER BALTIMORE MEDICAL CENTER ER, took place in the Summer of 2015. The text of that complaint was documented and submitted through the website of the Americans With Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form, and is provided below, including the automatic response and the reference number assigned this specific complaint, as well as acknowledgment of receipt of complaint. As of this date, January 30, 2018, I still have not received a response to this complaint.
The harrowing moment, described below, does not contain the details it should. Imagine a menacing nurse who is taunting you and trying to isolate you, and who is working at the behest of a doctor, whose ego has been bruised. When we reach the door, which they want me to enter, it doesn’t look like the door to an examination room. I’m still under the impression that my allergic reaction to a food I ate earlier is the reason for my return, but that impression rapidly fades when I see a man in the room who appears to be from Security. As soon as I enter the room, they lock the door. My friend has not been allowed to enter the room. However, there is a glass wall, and he can observe what is happening. They are trying to put me in the adjacent room, where they will presumably evaluate me, but that room has no windows, and I refuse to enter that room. Their arguments are not convincing. That is the moment when your Reasoning skills come to the forefront. Remember, these are very scary people. When they have no other choice other than to release me, they escort me, with my friend at my side, to the exit, as though I posed some sort of the risk – which if I had, they would have been able to restrain me, but they couldn’t – and when we reach the exit, the nurse makes a snide remark to my friend about my release.
GREATER BALTIMORE MEDICAL CENTER (GBMC)
“I was under the impression that I had filed the following complaint with the DOJ on July 23, 2015. However, I cannot find receipt of acknowledgment from your office. This is what I wrote on July 23, 2015, addressed to the ACLU, now edited to provide further details. This past week, I experienced a nightmare when I went in GBMC ER for an allergic reaction. I had been to the ER on Saturday night, suffering from heat exhaustion. The previous night, Friday night, Paramedics pulled me from my car and took me the Hopkins ER. On Saturday night, the symptoms of heat exhaustion were still present and my psychologist recommended I go to an ER other than Hopkins and I did. There, once the Attending Physician discovered I had a psychiatric diagnosis, left the room. A Fellow doing his Residence in Psychiatry, then came (I never saw the MD again) to discuss my psychiatric diagnosis, which is fine. That seemed to go well – at least that was my impression. The next night, however, was when the nightmare emerged and the sadistic behavior of the staff there was clearly visible. I had a systemic allergic reaction after I had eaten something and my hand became swollen. The same physician who had attended me the previous night also saw me that Sunday night. But before I saw him, a nurse attended me, and gave me 50 or 75 mgs of Benadryl to reduce the swelling on my hand. After that, a Physician’s Assistant saw me, and the first thing she said to me: “I can see that your Bipolar symptoms are exacerbated.” I looked at her and said: “What are you talking about? I’m here because of a severe allergic reaction.” My body was producing hives as we spoke. “Where did you get that information, about the exacerbation of my Bipolar symptoms? “It’s in your chart,” she said. “Really? And who put it in my chart?” The psychiatric resident,” she said. When the doctor arrived, I immediately addressed staff treatment of those with psychiatric diagnoses. He became hostile. And refused to examine my hand, and from a distance, called it a “superficial bruise.” Then, I said, there is no reason for me to be here. And I left, walked out. He didn’t stop me. A friend who was with me that night (an Epidemiologist) returned to the ER and discussed the reason why I was there. The Attending Physician then said, I could come back and be examined by another physician. However that is not what happened. I was tricked and escorted without my knowledge and locked in a ward with 2 security guards present and additional nursing staff. “What is going on?’ I said. They said they wanted to evaluate me. That is NOT why I returned to the ER. Furthermore, they had no right whatsoever to do this, as it was not the psychiatric diagnosis that was problem, but the allergic reaction that brought me to the ER. They had incarcerated me against my will, but in a most sinister fashion, through trickery and malice, because I had earlier challenged their treatment of psychiatric patients. If my friend had not been there, they had the power to hold me, a clear violation of my civil rights, and a dangerous breach of ethics. I demanded I be released, and they were forced to comply.
This type of behavior needs to stop.”
Americans with Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form
Thank you for your complaint. Please retain and refer to the following reference number for any correspondence concerning this complaint: