Dominion Hospital

Name of Hospital: Dominion Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Falls Church, VA, USA

Number of Stars: 1.5

Comment: UGH.

I was admitted voluntarily to Dominion Hospital after a suicide attempt, and stayed there for a week. They basically did nothing right. To begin with, I never saw a therapist. The psychiatrist I saw for five minutes once a day, in which time he decided that I was lying about the cat scratches on my arms (I have an aggressive cat) and that they must be self-harm, therefore all of my previous diagnoses were incorrect and I was bipolar. He then, despite my protests that I had hypersomnia when in a place that I could sleep, put me on Seroquel. I ended up having to stop taking it because otherwise I couldn’t get up for work.

Sleeping was nearly impossible. Night staff would come clomping into the room with flashlights and wake me up every fifteen minutes. There was a light shining directly in my eyes, and when I tried to put the pillow over my eyes to block it out , they woke me up to make me take it off. I brought a comfort pillow and a comfort stuffed animal and was told that I could keep them, but two days into my stay they vanished from my room, and I was told I could not have them. Complaints from me and from my parents saw no results.

The food was nearly inedible, the groups were useless, and we were barely ever taken outside; I think I went outside for a collective hour during the entire time I was there (seven days). On top of anything else, my doctor refused to release me on a Friday so I could go to a program I had been looking forward to. He said he wanted to monitor me further, then promptly disappeared for the weekend and did not see me again until Monday morning, when he released me.

The hospital was dirty and worn down. The staff was dismissive and authoritarian. I was having an anxiety attack and was told that I was having a temper tantrum and that I had better stop or they wouldn’t let me out ever. I also tried to sign myself out AMA, but I was told that my parents would ask for a court order to keep me in the hospital if I did– my parents later told me this was a total lie. The only thing the hospital did for me was to get me into a post-hospital mental health care program, and rack up 10k in debt that I only managed to pay off by selling my car.

I will never, ever go to this hospital again. I will avoid psych wards as much as possible based on this experience. Don’t go here if you have any choice.

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

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

Year(s) : 2015

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