Centro Medico Emergency Psychiatric Care

Name of Hospital: Centro Medico Emergency Psychiatric Care

City, State/Province, Country: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Staff are incompetent, overworked and severely lacking in empathy. On more than one occasion, patient rights and HIPAA laws were routinely violated during my stay. This included everything from leaving patient records on display, storing patient records in plain view and labeling patient records with confidential information, in plain view. It went so far as having one patient’s HIV status plastered across the binder which was assigned to her.

The facilities were small and there were no rooms. A few walls divided the space, in part, but there was absolutely no privacy. There was severe overcrowding, to the extent that some patients had to sleep on mats on the floor. Recreational activities were limited to one hour per day and only only on week days. On weekends, we were only allowed to watch tv or talk to each other. “Art” classes were limited to coloring or drawing with crayons.

At one point, uncertified nursing students were permitted to come throughout the day and “observe” us. They were then assigned to “pick” a patient to profile and interview/profile. Afterward, these students were given access to patient records and information in plain view.

Neglect and outright abuse was common among the nursing staff including, but not limited to, mocking and teasing developmentally disabled patients, ignoring disabled patients in need of bathroom assistance and then forcing them to sit in their own excrement and urine, among other things.

The facility was also severely short staffed on doctors. There were two psychiatrists (one of whom never came in while I was there), one physician and one social worker, for over a dozen women and an unknown number of men. None of these doctors were seen on a regular basis, as they generally came intermittently throughout the week and for no more than an hour or two, if at all, during the day. Interactions with the patients were always rushed and no real care was provided.

Lastly, some of the women being held in emergency care had been there for significantly longer than the usual 72 hour holding period and had not been admitted to general psychiatric care.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: nonbinary/lesbian

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