Rogers Memorial Hospital

Name of Hospital: Rogers Memorial Hospital, Child and Adolescent Unit

City, State/Province, Country: West Allis, WI, USA

Number of Stars: 2.5

Comment: During my time at Rogers, I was never threatened with sedation or physical restraints and I did not feel pressured to take medication. This was primarily because this time, I was lucid, coherent, and “compliant” at all points during my stay (I was there because of what was, in retrospect, a pretty bad meltdown). Other patients were restrained, secluded, or sedated for trivial reasons. The only way patients could go outside was if the staff unlocked the door to a tiny patio with four meter high fences. We were not allowed to have visitors who were not part of our immediate families, and we were not permitted to use the short amount of phone time to telephone anyone our parents had not approved. We also had no Internet access.

They required that patients attend all activities. After the first time that I was forced to attend “recreation time” in the gym, which mostly consisted of bouncing balls around, I informed the staff that echoing noises made me dissociate. They promised that next time, I would be allowed to leave the gym if it was overwhelming. However, when I was in the gym the next time, they refused my request to leave even when I explained that it had already been approved.

I was extremely happy with the psychiatrist I saw. He did seem to think that my irritability and agitation were due to psychosis even when I explained that I was experiencing no more hallucinations than usual. However, he was the only inpatient psychiatrist I have ever interacted with who seemed genuinely caring and willing to listen to me. He actually kept my parents up to date on what changes he was making, which seems like it should be a given, but no other psychiatrist had done that. He also took me off of haloperidol. I’m not exaggerating when I say that that may have saved my life.

The rest of the staff weren’t great, though. At one point, I asked a nurse if the psychiatrist’s notes indicated what he thought had caused the symptoms. She looked in my file and informed me that it was either anxiety or mania. When I talked to my psychiatrist the next morning, I realized that those diagnoses were nowhere in my file. The nurse had read one symptom–“racing thoughts”–and made her own uninformed diagnosis.

Overall, my personal experience was positive, but a lot of that depended on my specific situation. If I had been delusional at the time, I have no doubt that the experience would have been dehumanizing and traumatic.

Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): Inpatient

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Autistic but undiagnosed at the time

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