Name of Hospital: Washington Adventist Hospital
City, State/Province, Country: DC Metro Area, Maryland
Number of Stars: 1
Comment: Staying on this ward qualifies as one of the worst experiences of my life. I was sent to the ER after a half-hearted attempt to overdose on Xanex, and was given the voluntary commitment papers to sign while I was fading in and out of consciousness. I spent most of the next day asleep. The nurses were fairly helpful to me, which I suspected was because I was a white-passing, polite, college kid. I have experience with modifying behavior to get me out of bad situations, and that helped here.
I kept requesting to see a social worker or doctor, as was my legal right. I didn’t see a psychiatrist until 28 hours after my commitment, and by the time I met him he knew that I was repeatedly requesting to see him so that I wouldn’t be held the full 72 hours. He walked into my room and started making fun of me, which caused me to start panicking (because in what situation does a psych ward doctor mock you?!) When I started crying, he laughed and said, “See? You’re too delicate to leave.” Of course I was delicate, I was locked in a strange place, wearing a glorified potato sack and away from my support system. Only after my parents came down from New York did he start to act reasonably towards me.
There are “Morning Meetings” where rules are supposed to be discussed, but it only occurred once, and the only rule discussed was “no food sharing.” The only groups that were available to attend were AA, which were mandatory (even though I don’t have a dependence problem and am not religious), and art therapy. We were allowed outside twice, as it was summer. Looking at the other review for this hospital, outside time likely took the place of group times. The showers in this facility are terrible, it’s a gross little closet you have to lock yourself into. They also don’t allow patients to have lotion or hair styling products; I had to beg for a comb.
I didn’t realize how poorly run this facility was until I was completing my outtake with the social worker and she asked me to initial that I received all sorts of services I’d never heard of. I didn’t want to be noncompliant, so I did without comment.
Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): inpatient
Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Young, white passing, female, college educated