Gateway Regional Medical Center

Name of Facility: Gateway Regional Medical Center

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Granite City, Illinois, USA

Number of Stars: 4

Description of Experience: I was admitted on July 5th, 2017, for suicidal thoughts and self-harm. I had to spend hours upon hours upon hours in the emergency room before they brought me up to my bedroom (there was a special set of rooms for incoming psych patients). Everything was very confusing for my first day, but adapting was very easy. Literally almost all of my stay consisted of being stuck in one room with the other patients (we were not allowed to leave “the dayroom” except for at bedtime).

Legitimately all we had to do was play cards and talk. Since all anyone played was gin rummy (something I don’t know the rules to), I was stuck just spectating unless I could find someone to play Uno with. Boys and girls were separated–we weren’t allowed to sit at the same tables without a staff member present, and had to stay at arm’s length when about the room.

We had “Group” a couple times a day, and that was pretty much all we got treatment-wise besides medicine and “daily” unproductive meetings with therapists (they didn’t come in on weekends or certain weekdays). “Group” was not beneficial at all; the worst example of which I experienced was when one staff member spent an entire meeting either educating us on bestiality or bragging to us (a bunch of abused children) about how she horribly beat her kids. I don’t feel like I have to explain why that was out of line.

However, I would like to add that the food was actually pretty decent, and as a vegetarian I got my needs accommodated well (actually, I recommend to anyone who stays at Gateway to request vegetarian options–you can have grilled cheese for every meal of the day while everyone else has things like tuna salad sandwiches). All the requirements to be released were is to have two positive family sessions, which is where they sit you down with your family and have you talk for a bit. Not very hard really.

However, any kids who ended up there as wards of the state, foster kids, etc, could be kept for much longer. One kid had been in there for exactly 80 days as of the day I left because the government just didn’t seem to know what to do with him. The staff ranged from pretty great to terrible, although most fell in the unremarkable category. Only one person would really qualify as pretty great, and only one other would qualify as terrible (the aforementioned woman who bragged about child abuse). Sleeping was nearly impossible; the bedrooms were incredibly hot and stuffy and you had to keep your door open at all times so that bright light from the hallway spilled in.

Basically overall, I don’t feel like I gained anything from the experience except the added motivation to stop self-harming that was basically “I don’t want to end up in that ward again.” I don’t feel like my stay was productive at all besides that and the fact that I was finally diagnosed and began medication (I had kept quiet about mental health issues until the event that got me admitted). All in all, I don’t think anyone will get anything out of staying, but nothing was outright terrible except for how slowly time passed the first day I was there and how horridly my anxiety was acting up. Everything was just basically decent, with no real outliers besides the one terrible staff member.

Here’s the part where I talk specifically about my experience as a trans man, or just a LGBT+ person in general. Firstly, I was asked my sexuality by every single staff member in charge of treatment. Every therapist I met with, the pediatrician, the woman who showed me into my room, always asked me pretty early on, “Are you into guys, girls, or both?” Some tacked on an option of “neither.” This seemed to be standard procedure, but could have just been because I was trans. I was obviously offended by this, and nearly said something, but bit my tongue because you had to behave if you wanted to go home.

I was put in a bedroom by myself–everyone was given either a room by themself or a with a roommate (each was equipped with two beds), and I wasn’t allowed a roommate, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. Half the people in there weren’t allowed roommates either, (for anger issues or other reasons) so it wasn’t really seen as peculiar by the other kids. I was deadnamed only around less than 30% of the time by staff (I haven’t legally changed my name), which deeply bothered me but I could handle. I also was called “ma’am” a few times, which really bugged me.

I experienced no blatant transphobia or homophobia from the staff, and was treated as a man by therapists. I was also treated as a boy in the dayroom–I was supposed to sit with the guys and avoid the girls. I had been asked at the beginning of my stay what I preferred (they said the last trans guy they had asked to be put with the girls), and my decision was met with no objection. I wasn’t outed to any of the other patients, and was allowed to remain stealth (have people think I was a cis man). So, overall, no real complaints in how I was treated as a trans person aside from some deadnaming and misgendering. Treatment was much better than what I expected in that regard.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: I am FTM transgender (I identify as male but was assigned female at birth), pansexual, and a minor

Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital

Name of Facility: Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: Admitted involuntarily through the emergency room, and against my stated wishes on my advance directive not to be sent to this particular hospital, i was secluded for almost all of the three and a half weeks i was kept there. Although they told ke the room was not “seclusion” only a “quiet room” when i left it and walked down the hallway alone, looked out a window and went back to the room, i was instructed to lie on the bed for restraints, because “you do not follow directions”. Two female nurses restrained me, and injected me in the buttocks with 2 drugs to put me to sleep, and despite my sleeping, they kept me in 4-point restraints for 19 hours. Each time i woke, i asked to be released, but they refused, only injected me again and put me back to sleep. This happened on multiple occasions until my outpatient doctor was so alarmed that i could not meet the criteria for release even from seclusion that she had a consultant meet with me in the absence of my in-patient doctor, and when she simply asked if i wanted to go home, i said, “yes,” and she proceeded to process my discharge. This was only 6 hours after having been released from 4-point restraints and directly from seclusion.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Schizophrenia diagnosis

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2013

Hospital of Central Connecticut

Name of Facility: Hospital of Central Connecticut

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): New Britain, Connecticut, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I was admitted involuntarily through the Emergency Department and kept in a video monitored room alone the entire four week stay, not permitted utensils to eat food with, bodily escorted to seclusion for “disturbing the milieu” on multiple occasions by guards who were instructed to “inflict pain in order to subdue” me quickly, even though i did not resist. Also on multiple occasions the nurses stripped me naked in seclusion and refused me any covering or blanket for warmth. When i resisted, the male guards 4-point restrained me, in a spread eagle position, to a gurney, still naked, and as was the procedure, injected me with three drugs in the buttocks. Then when i continued to ask to be covered, they put a draw sheet over me, but refused a blanket even though the nurses were shivering with the cold. When i complained about this treatment to the doctor, he said, “You are lying. They would never do that.” But in fact they did these things repeatedly and he was not there to witness it.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Mutism (chronic but intermittent)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2014

Cayuga Medical Center

Name of Facility: Cayuga Medical Center

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Ithaca, New York, USA

Number of Stars: 3.5

Description of Experience: I was admitted that the adolescent’s ward in February of this year, and my experience was mostly positive. I was admitted for a gender dysphoria caused suicide attempt, and the nurses in the emergency room were very kind and polite. The questioning was long winded, but they managed to make it bearable. When I finally got into the waiting area for acceptance into the ward, I had all my current belongings checked (My shirt that said “If at first you don’t succeed, you probably just suck” was not allowed due to ‘rude messaging’ which I guess I understand) and I was given scrubs to wear for the time being. I waited for at least 5 hours alone to be moved.

When I finally got there, I was introduced to the nurse and tech, who were very nice. The schedule was filled with groups, but there was quite a bit of free time. We had two hours for schoolwork each day, and the school was contacted by the hospital for us. We met with the psychologist team everyday, and were given activities to prepare us for discharge. I stayed for about a week and two days, and my only complaints were that the staff yelled at me on the first few days for fidgeting via drawing, causing me to cry and breakdown. Their points system also meant that some nurses could give less points depending on if they liked you or not, which greatly affected what you were able to do. Also, we only went outside once, and it was incredibly claustrophobic inside the ward.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Trans man, gay

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2017

Three Rivers Behavioral Health

Name of Facility: Three Rivers Behavioral Health

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Columbia, SC, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I was brought here after my second suicide attempt. After being admitted, I spoke with the psychiatrist assigned to me. She was dismissive and despite my explanation that SSRI antidepressants did not work for me, she prescribed Prozac. The patient bill of rights states that anyone can refuse medication, but if you are here under involuntary commitment, refusal is counted as being non-compliant.

Throughout the stay my psych continued to be uncompromising and dismissive. The ward’s patient rights advocate also constantly sniped at me for not being cooperative enough. Said patient bill of rights also states that any patient has the right to an attorney if they choose…so I got one. The rights advocate yelled at me for it, told me it would do no good, and tried to bully me out of it.

Aside from daily group therapy and 1x week craft time, patients were not provided anything to do aside from smokers being able to go to a small outside area. Patients were not allowed to bring books or magazines because the staff said it would be too much work to check them for hidden drugs, razors, etc. This was very distressing as I and a few other patients were college students who could have used the copious free time to study.

When I got released, as this was my 2nd attempt, the rights advocate warned me that if there was ever a next time I would be “in for it.” Whatever that means.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: autism spectrum (undiagnosed at the time)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2011

Palmetto Health Baptist Columbia

Name of Facility: Palmetto Health Baptist

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Columbia, SC

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I was committed here for my first suicide attempt, and it was my first experience being treated involuntarily for any psych issue. I was admitted to the ward at night and I was anxious, confused, and terrified. A nurse yelled at me and threatened to “send me upstairs where the dangerous ones are.” She held me down, stripped me to take pictures of my self harm scars and cuts, and tranq’d me. I was given my underwear and a hospital gown. The next day, the nurses would not give me my clothes back even though other patients wore street clothes. I was constantly told to stop asking and that I could only have them if I was “good.”

Only one of the nurses was very kind and seemed to care and listen. The psychiatrists, including the one assigned to me, generally seemed to not care much about what the patients were saying and needed.

I was here for about a week, and to this day it’s one of the scariest and most humiliating experiences of my life.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: autism spectrum (undiagnosed at the time)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2011

Hospital Kuala Lumpur

Name of Hospital: Hospital Kuala Lumpur

City, State/Province, Country: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: I was admitted from Universiti Islam Antrabangsa Malaysia Gombak campus’ clinic to Hospital Kuala Lumpur after doing some tests required to diagnose me for why I had a seizure. I told them this is not the first time since I had many in the past. I was diagnosed prior to my studies in this university with depression, social anxiety, and schizoid personality disorder, lost consciousness few times in the past, also had a brother who had many seizures through his life.

So the story begins this way, I had a seizure in a lecture, and the instructor called campus medics. They took me to their clinic, did some tests as stated above. Then they took me to get my passport from my hostel room -back then I did not know why the ambulance driver asked me to take it- then they took me to a psych ward or a “neuro ward ” in Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

They did tests and everything seemed normal like in the campus clinic, but then they put me in bed with saline water bag set to my arms intravenously and they were giving me valproate sodium and various painful injections. I didn’t know if they were anti-psychotics or anti-convulsants. Then during the night, I could not sleep due to having insomnia, and the room wasn’t cooled –  it just had fans and was humid.

Whenever the saline bag finished they brought another bag. I started to realize there was something wrong at that point. The bad part started at the second day in the morning, I asked why they brought another saline bag the nurse simply answered: water for electrolytes. The third time he changed the saline bag I began to remove it, then he set it to my arm again, my forearm began to swell, and it didn’t stop. While it was still swelling, I removed it for good.

They should have given me decent food instead of these saline bags and small meals. In the first day they just gave me sandwiches through the day.

I started to argue with the nurse who would not allow me to walk through the ward or answer my questions about my treatment. There is no transparency at all; the nurse said, just say stay in your bed and sleep. I said I couldn’t sleep and that I wanted the doctor. He said you will get a doctor, just sleep – I said I need him now, and I need to know what’s happening. He said, he will come in at 8:00 AM. I waited, but no one came. Then that nurse shift finished and other nurses replaced him. I tried to talk with them but their attitude and their answers were the same as the previous nurse.

Finally, a doctor came to visit me. I said, “Why I am still here? I want to be discharged.” He said if you want to be discharged you need to sign here and pay and you will not get any medication. It’s good to mention the hospital was public, by the way – I said I have insurance – do you accept it? He said I don’t know, you need to ask the accountant after you sign.

I also told him I couldn’t sleep, he gave me alprazolam before that I asked him does this have side effects he said no then I went to bed but with no sleep except a 40 minutes I don’t remember what exactly but a few flashbacks and it was not good.

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

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

Year(s) : 2016