"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

- United States Declaration of Independence

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New stories of violations in Mass.

Coming very shortly: Part Two of ‘Massachusetts’ Civil Rights Crisis,’ looking at the basic rights law in Massachusetts.

Here are two recent anonymous online posts, found on Citysearch.com, regarding Arbour Hospital, the facility in Massachusetts we are focusing our advocacy efforts on. Please be aware that it may be disturbing.

These are just some stories that demonstrate the egregious and criminal nature of the discrimination the consumer/survivor/peer community experiences.

Should Be Shut Down

If I could give this place negative stars, I would. My husband was in there for several days recently--he was sent because they were the only place that had a bed and took his awful insurance plan--and he was completely traumatized. When he arrived they were fumigating his floor for bedbugs and they put him on another floor where he had no bed and no staff knew who he was.

He was given no information, no one was friendly, he was seen for 30 minutes total in 48 hours, the other patients were all violent and very loud, where my husband was simply depressed. There were fights in the hall that were slow to be broken up. Several patients were doing drugs in his room that one had smuggled in. Security was lax and they forgot to give him his medication for 36 hours.

Further, this place is dirty, dank and disgusting, the staff were extraordinarily rude to me with the exception of two night male nurses and the receptionist who gradually warmed to me. The nurses by and large seemed like they should be admitted.

My husband's case worker took 6 hours to call me back on the first day and then refused to come upstairs and meet with me, saying he was too busy. The second day, when he again refused and I said I would wait in the lobby until he was free, he accused me of harassing him. I don't think my husband's outside Psych received a call back until 8 hours had passed.

The only bright spot in this was the case worker's manager (who I escalated my concerns to) who was very kind, apologized for the case worker, and worked with me to get my husband transferred to McLean. We were very very lucky-- If I had not spent 36 straight hours on the phone and kept on despite being repeatedly told no, I never would have been able to transfer him. As it was, if he'd spent one more day there, insurance would have refused to move him.

If your loved one needs to go into the hospital, research ahead of time and go directly to that hospital. Do not ever allow them to take your loved one to Arbour. It is a mystery to me how anyone could ever get better there. I recommend McLean, which is like day after night.

the biggest mistake I made as a parent

I have never had to bring my child to a mental health facility before. Arbour was the first one we were told was open and to go. The staff not only did not understand a thing I was saying but they treated my child who was so scared like a piece of discarded trash. Their idea of family therapy was to put an entire family of divorced mom and dad and only one extension of my ex's family in the room with my daughter and myself and the social worker led my daughter to actually turn on me as a parent. In addition I will also make it very clear in this posting that the social worker who was supposed to help my daughter who is under aged actually told my child on a one on one meeting that my child should just call someone else and see if she could live with them. Said social worker told my child that she didn't think my daughter should live with either me or my ex husband. It not only disturbed my daughter and limited her trust in people and therefore did not assist in her recovery but it also shows me that it is AMAZING how these people think they know a child in less than 7 days....who does that? Not only do I think that you should refuse to send a loved one to this facility but I think that the adolescent ward should not even exist.


  1. These stories are just horrible and sadly, i believe they are very common, waaaay too common.

    And, i have lived through very similar ones. At one Psych ward, a very rude nurse actually thought i didn't even know what city i lived in...and the so called "Social Workers"...what a joke. The only people there i actually had faith in and trusted were three lovely and very nice "Behavioral Tech's"...they were the ones who really got to know the patients, spent time talking to us, answered our questions (the Nurse's and obviously not the Psychiatrist's had no time for us patients),and actually seemed to care.

    Kudos to the Tech's at Richmind Community!

  2. These stories are very disturbing - but, sadly, they are not surprising. People who end up in residential psychiatric care (and those closest to them) are very vulnerable and powerless, and unfortunately there seem to be institutional forces that conspire (whether intentionally or unintentionally) to further dehumanise those with mental health problems. My own particular concern is about children's psychiatric services, because (in England, my home context) there are a number of adults out there who remain traumatised by their experience of psychiatric care in the past (I too continue to be haunted by what I experienced in the 1970s). Reading the post "the biggest mistake I made as a parent" underlines for me how little progress has been made with regard to children's mental health services in the Western world.

    David Austin
    Author, Delivered Unto Lions

  3. Thank you for your comments David. I couldn't agree more. The giant megachain (Universal Health Services) that I have focused on has a long history of abuses, ESPECIALLY of children, and that is beyond disturbing. Sadly, children are often helplessly placed on the front lines of the turmoil and utter senselessness of the traditional mental health "care" "system."


    Jonathan Dosick

  4. I have been in a number of psych hospitals and psych units in regular hospitals. The worst hospital that I have been in was Pembroke Hospital (a member of the Arbour Health System. My first stay there wasn't to bad (if you count them trying to get me admitted to a State Hospital because I was louder than the staff wanted as being not being too bad. The second time was absolutly hell. In order to control what they thought was "bad" behavior, the staff had me transfered from floor to floor to floor. They didn't care if I was banging my head either on a half an hour to an hourly basis (especially when I was on the elderly floor and the general Adult Psych) or crying or screaming out is psychic pain. The staff got back at me by giving me an illegal chemical restraint (I had asked for some anti anxiety medication, but it was to soon). I then went back to my room and was calming myself down by doing a word search when there was a knock at the door. I opened the door to find the evening nurse, the night nurse, some of Mental Helath Assistants and a security officer standing at the door. I asked what was going on. I was told that I has asked for a anti anxiety prn and was told to sit on my bed. I did what I was told and was given an injection of medication that was ment to a chemical restraint (nd it was illegal becaues i did not need it at the time-and the staff KNEW that I did not need it at the time that they came to my room). Not even a week later, the site of the illegal injection became infected (I suspect that this happened because they either didn't clean the injection site). I did complain to the human rights officer and the decision was found in my favor and that the people involved were going to have more education about how to "handle" people in my "situation" (I doubt that the education really happened. I was then moved to one of the regular adult psych units. It was on this unit that two of the staff thought that the proper way to handle a person who is upset and injuring herself was to try and suffocate her with a towel and to try and break her arm by shoving her arm half way up her back. I still shake and cringe when I think about what happened to me.When I am in a hospital and someone who I really do not know tries to touch me (even if it is in a friendly way)

    I cringe and scream at them to not hurt me. I am so afraid that what happened to me at Pembroke will happen again. We have got to do something to stop hospitals from turning into a HELLHOLES like Pembroke.

  5. I too had a night at Pembroke Hospital where people came to my room and injected me against my will with chemical restraints. If given the option (which hospitals like McLean do) I would choose physical restraints.

    The bottom line is Pembroke Hospital and the entire Arbour Health System is completely corrupt and negligent.

    I arrived at the hospital after being given 6mg of ativan and two doses of haldol at the ER prior, was exhausted and didn't even have a bed. I slept on the floor until the admitting doctor was able to see me, and I could finally be escorted to my urine stained mattress.

    I can say I've been to hell, because I've been to Pembroke Hospital.

  6. Thanks so much to the past two posters for sharing. I wholeheartedly agree that Arbour is an abhorrent entity, and will continue to work on this issue. Please let me know if you are willing to discuss your experiences more publicly; more and more people are "onto" Arbour and their equally-corrupt parent company.

    Best to you!!