Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute

Name of Hospital: Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute

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

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Regardless of the circumstances that brought me there, the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute continues to violate state law and federal regulations governing state-sanctioned mental health treatment. It comes as no surprise that this facility was investigated by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (yes, there is such a thing) in the 1990’s, and all of the same violations that were made at this facility in the past are very much extant in the future. For instance, this facility still engages in “Inadequate medical care and medication practices.”

And that’s all I encountered while I was there. I was told I was suffering from a “deep brain injury” by the attending psychiatrist and yet there was no scan performed of my head to  verify this claim. I tried inquiring and even challenging this claim, but any attempt to assert my rights, which are widely declared throughout the facility, is considered an act of non-compliance, and this leads to retaliation.

The more I tried to resist, the stronger the dosages got, and there was even a point when my “treatment team” threatened me with another month of civil commitment (and I was not given a single opportunity to appeal the original 30 days). When I was introduced to Haldol (haloperidol) along with Depakote and Zyprexa, I felt unbearable agony for the second two weeks of my stay.

The attending physician was a particularly vindictive man, and he said he was trying to help (of course, he also said he didn’t have to prove anything, either), but in spite of his intentions, he basically committed malpractice, and I doubt this is the first time he has done such a thing. And I  wonder how someone like him will still be practicing for another 2 years, and somehow the medical board has never, ever received a negative complaint
from this individual?

What I find most stunning of all is that the entire mental health system of which NVMHI is a part is supposedly regulated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and there are Human Rights advocates employed by this agency, and the Human Rights advocates most certainly have a right of legal purview under the state constitution.

But when I reported the nature of my stay to the regional Human Rights advocate, I received absolutely no response.Speaking of advocates, the appointed commitment hearing lawyer was of ABSOLUTELY no help at all. Perhaps what was most strange about her demeanor was that she seemed rather timid, almost threatened by something (or someone). And she never did file my appeal, as it would turn out. So I stayed there an entire 30 days receiving treatment for a problem I didn’t have at all, and as a result, my physical condition got worse. If I had stayed there any longer, I might have died there.

Like I said, I’m not going to bother going into the circumstances, because, if the experience is any indication, it’s clear that someone wanted me to check in but didn’t want me to check out…

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: No

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