Name of Hospital: Children’s Medical
City, State/Province, Country: Plano, TX, USA
Number of Stars: 1.5
Comment: I was admitted to the children’s eating disorder unit here for ARFID, an eating disorder linked to me being Autistic, though no one knew this because before I had been accused of making things up and also I wanted to avoid having worse done to me with a professional-dx for autism. The doctors seemed friendly at first but it became very patronizing and they became very rude when you did a single thing they didn’t like. They wouldn’t tell me any information about when I was going to leave or why they would do certain things to me (why I got in trouble). They punished patients for crying and being upset and other patients were not allowed to comfort the upset patient. We were punished for eating too slow, too fast, not talking enough, talking too much, and for leaving any crumb of food or a drop of water left in our cups. The doctors would get angry when I couldn’t explain my feelings, not verbally and certainly not to them and when forced to. They became very severe when I said that I thought what was being done to me was wrong.
It was especially difficult since ARFID is an eating disorder I’ve had since I’ve had since I was a baby and is sensory related and something that I had decided after years of torturing myself to try and get rid of it, was part of being Autistic and was okay so I accepted it. However, the doctors expected me to ‘accept and state why I was here’ to move up further stages and also expected me to spend all my time ‘working towards getting better’ (thinking about being there, being in therapy, getting rid of my ED).
No one informed me as to how long I’d be in here and the doctors eventually told me that if I complied I would be in for about 2 weeks and if I didn’t, it could be 3 months+. The doctors enjoyed telling me over and over again that this ‘wasn’t a punishment’ but punished me constantly and also from how my parents acted towards me when I was at home, I believe they told my parents to be cruel to me to ‘help get rid of my ED’. Apparently the normal period of being upset when you’re forcibly admitted is only a day (“most patients have this reaction, don’t worry”) and when I went over that, I was locked in a room alone for hours.
I also watched another patient get ill and be locked inside of a room without a bed or any care for a very long time. Also the doctors would threaten patients with ‘the tube’ (a nasogastric feeding tube) if they didn’t behave. While I was there, I was in shock and traumatized and dissociated the whole time, mindlessly focusing on puzzles to escape, but the doctors were very cruel to me when they realized this. The ‘treatment team’ was large and intimidating and treated me like a problem and never ever talked to me like an actual person.
The majority of the therapists were unhelpful and punished me for ‘not getting better’. The facilities were clean and the teacher there was nice and we had music and art therapy which were the least awful parts. But the negatives far outweighed the positives. When I was released the doctors told my parents that they believed I was Autistic. They gave this diagnosis as if I were dying of a disease and sent letters to my parents which I later found speaking of my ‘terrible condition’ and how i ‘had no hope’. They wanted me to return for an autism screening but I refused. I am not sure about now, but as of early 2015, they were associated with Autism Speaks.
Before going there, my father had been abusive, but during and after, he treated me worse than ever before, believing that my ED and being Autistic was my fault and I wasn’t trying hard enough. My treatment here was traumatizing and left me with nightmares for months and left me fearing for my life and that I’d be institutionalized forever. I have flashbacks still more than a year later. No one should ever be admitted here much less a child.
Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): day program
Any other identities/marginalizations i.e. race/gender/sexuality that could have influenced your stay?: I’m trans (closeted) and gay and many of the older patients were not straight. The doctors were very much not happy whenever we started talking about gay relationships or being gay. I am also Jewish and begged them that if they were going to force on me foods I could not eat, at least they be kosher. They denied me this.