Name of Hospital: Del Amo Hospital
City, State/Province, Country: Torrance, CA, USA
Number of Stars: 1
Comment: I was in the teen ward for about a week, and developed PTSD symptoms as a result of my stay. This was my first hospitalization, during which I was diagnosed with depression, and put on medication. As a 100 lb 15 year old, the doctor prescribed me 60 mg of fluoxetine daily (an adult maintenance dosage), with only two days of a marginally lower dose to start off, and dismissed my concerns when I complained of the fact that I was having trouble with my attention and focus, and had in fact drooled on myself.
I was initially on a 24-hour hold, which was extended to an additional 72-hour hold because they do not release patients over the weekend, or something like that (and a further 72-hour hold for I don’t even know what reason). They would also extend your hold for many small infractions of their rules, like not showering daily, or showering for too long (more than 10 minutes). There is a small courtyard about the size of two basketball courts side-by-side, and one half of the courtyard actually *is* a basketball court. You are required to be outside during certain times of the day, or they will extend your hold. The basketball court is in use, and there is a large risk of being hit by errant balls. There was a small portable radio for patient use at the beginning of my stay, but it had been broken in this manner by the end of the week. You are not allowed outside when it is not the designated outside time.
You are expected to spend the majority of your time in the dining area, socializing with other patients. Choosing to stay in your room will extend your hold. There are pay phones for patient use during designated phone times. There is no free option for using the telephone, unless someone from outside calls you on the payphone. Other patients will pick up the phone if it rings and with luck, will relay the message that you have a call to you.
The “school” program is virtually nonexistent. A parent has to sign a waiver to allow you to participate in it, and it consists entirely of packets of elementary level math and grammar. We had group therapy one time during my stay. A lady showed us how to relax our muscles, then sang some kumbaya songs. Then she gave the guitar to a patient who played Smoke on the Water. There was no individual therapy.
During my stay I saw many of my fellow patients be sedated against their will for things as simple as refusing to finish their food. Being sedated results in an automatic additional 72-hour hold. One boy (who other patients informed me had been there for nearly a year, despite it supposedly being a crisis facility) was sedated every day despite being non violent, and on one occasion I saw nurses restrain him on some type of bed with arm and leg cuffs, and then leave the room and joke to each other about how he could scream until his blood vessels popped and he passed out, and it would save them the trouble of sedating him. Which is exactly what they did. They left him screaming until there was no screams left in him.
On my final night there a nurse from the main hospital was rotated down to our ward, and she came into the dining area, got up onto a table and yelled at us about how she didn’t want to be there and “When I’m here that means it’s lockdown, so go to your rooms!” and we all had to go to our rooms and miss dinner.
Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): inpatient
Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: I am autistic, AFAB, and queer.