Bellevue Hospital

Name of Facility: Bellevue Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Manhattan, NY, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: Let me start by saying my experiences outpatient, non psych, were always very good at Bellevue. But inpatient psych is a neverending nightmare.

There is no respect for the patient as a human being with autonomy. I checked myself in voluntarily, but as soon as I walked in they made it involuntary, which is standard. Then the nightmare began. It took about 4 hours to get to the first interview. Then I was in another area for another six hours. It was freezing cold and there was just a vinyl couch and you could have a sheet for warmth.

Once they brought me into the actual observation area, it took THREE DAYS before they placed me in a ward. Three days with bright fluorescent lights that never turned off. On cots in the hallway with nothing to do- thank God I brought books. I had brought my medication but they took it away. I needed it at 7 PM but they kept saying the doctor was coming to talk to me. I asked about every hour for my medication. It really really messes me up to not take it. By 3 AM I really was crazy, screaming for my meds. Finally at 4 AM new staff came on who told me the doctor had gone home at ten. The previous staff had just been lying.

A pattern I saw at Bellevue was that they wanted to give you the opposite of what you wanted. For instance, I could not sleep and wanted to. The next cot over, the woman did not want to sleep. They forced her to sleep with an injection of Haldol. I begged for one as well, and they refused.

Once I got to the ward I was put in a room with a roommate. Thank God mine was really nice. A person addicted to coke who had tried to commit suicide, ours was an unlikely friendship, but there were so few people there capable of rational discourse it was a godsend that we were together.

The staff had the hobby of setting people off. I was not sure if I was right about this till my nurse sister did a three month tour of another much better psych ward, and was shocked by the sadism.

First of all, THERE WAS ZERO THERAPY. Yep. None. It was a holding tank. Second, you could NOT see a doctor. There was a psychiatrist who would come in at a run and race through the unit once a day, as we all ran and tried to ask our questions~ when can I leave? My meds are wrong? Etc. He slammed the door in our faces. It must have been a requirement that he physically enter the space, which he did for less than 5 minutes. I was trying and trying to get his attention about my meds and he would not talk to me. I finally got so frustrated I sat down and started hitting my head against the wall behind me. I was carried to my room and he actually came in. He said if I was going to act like that, no wonder he would not see me. I said actually it worked the other way.

My sister, a nurse, visited me after three days. She saw me and ran out and I heard her screaming WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY SISTER?!?!? They had drugged me so I could barely talk. Turned out they were mixing up my day vs night meds. She got that fixed.

Meds were humiliating. When it was time for meds, we each had to stand at our room doorways. We were not allowed to sit on the floor. We were not allowed to move our chair to the doorway. We just had to stand and wait. This was about an hour and a half twice a day. When they made a mistake with my meds they would not review with me. They simply refused to give me any of my meds and wrote that I had refused. They started me on Risperdal without my permission, and I have not been able to get off of it since.

After that roommate went, I made friends with the only other intelligent life force in the ward. He was a punk rocker with a long Mohawk and lots of tats. Again IRL we had nothing in common but you cling to the humanity you find, and we talked and talked. The staff hated this. They hated him. Well, they hated all of us, but hated him vehemently. They would try to separate us from talking to each other, for no reason. I do not recall what they gave as an excuse, but they forbade us to talk in the common area. We were not allowed in each others rooms of course, so there was just the hallway to talk in, outside my room. Again we were not allowed to sit on the floor or bring the chairs out.

One time we had sat down and a custodian came through and made a racial comment to the rocker. He and I screamed back at the man. The staff came and several of them closed in on him and gave him a shot he did not want, to calm him down; and basically carried him away. I needed something to calm me down. They refused, even though it was on my chart to give me ativan as requested. Another example of doing the opposite of what patients want. I begged for hours. They gave me some six hours later.

The outdoors access was a space on the roof with a basketball hoop and a picnic table. It was enclosed in chain link fence which covered the top, too, like an aviary. If we were “good” we could go out for 20 minutes three times a week. I started to climb on the chain link fence- what else was there to do- and they did not let me out again.

My sister brought me some purple nail polish and they let her put it on me (she could not leave the glass bottle). Then my punk rocker friend wanted it too, but as my sister was putting it on his three inch nails, the staff made her stop. It was not appropriate. No reason.

After a week the doctor told me I was to go home. I knew I was still not safe. He had barely spoken to me but he decided I was able to leave. Then my boyfriend asked me to go to Europe with him. So I wanted to go. Suddenly the doctor changed his tune and said I had to stay. Always trying to make patients as unhappy as possible. I thought I was going to have to sue for my freedom. My outpatient psychiatrist afterwards told me there had been a big debate on whether I should be allowed to go to Europe. NOT whether I would be healthy or safe. Whether I DESERVED to.

Why doesn’t anyone have oversight about psych wards? Some agency needs to pro-actively come in with questionnaires for everyone; and there should be good patient advocates. Why do they allow psych wards to have no treatment? What other medical condition can you go inpatient with and receive no care?

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: None. Cis white girl

SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital

Name of Facility: SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Wentzville, MO, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: Awful hospital experience. I willingly admitted myself and my time there ranged from downright terrifying to comically miserable. The staff are rude and unprofessional, most of them seeming as though they’d rather be anywhere else. The atmosphere was dirty and food stains from spills remained on the tables for days at a time.

Group therapy was required, though not particularly constructive seeing as though most everyone was there for different reasons. It was impossible to find a doctor and when you did meet with him, the encounter was short and essentially boiled down to “when am I getting out?” “I don’t know.” “ok.”

During my stay…
– I was refused HRT whilst being told repeatedly that it was the cause of my mental health issues. (When it finally WAS given to me, it was with several pages of printed-out prayers?)
– I was openly discriminated against by the staff for being trans, then threatened with sedation and removal of visitation rights after becoming angry.

I added .5 stars because the weekend staff treated me like a human, which was nice. Other than that, I left feeling worse than I did when I was admitted.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Being transgender.

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

News Articles on Mercy Springfield

Name of Facility: Mercy Springfield

Location: Springfield, MO, USA

Articles

 

Piney Ridge Center

Name of Hospital: Piney Ridge Center

City, State/Province, Country: Waynesville, MO, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Truly horrific place. I was sent there against my will 4 years ago for a suicide attempt, only now am I able to talk about it. I had been staying at a local temporary inpatient clinic before then, which had been helping tremendously. However, being sent here reversed that.

This is a prison, there is little to no therapy, and they treat you like a criminal for having depression. I walked in and there was no flooring. They were doing major renovations WHILE people were living in the space. The subfloor was exposed, glue sticking to your feet with every step. My only pair of shoes was destroyed after a few days, my only pair of socks caked in glue.

You are forced to walk with the other patients in a prison style fashion, walking in a straight line along the wall, eyes forward, hands behind your back. When you are first admitted, you are stripped down to nothing, everything removed from your body, and then they look you over, violating your privacy and taking everything from you within your first 20 minutes. You are not a human being here.

60% of the staff are sadistic, while the others may genuinely mean well, but still have to follow uncaring rules. I have severe asthma and yet they would try to force me to run around in a mildew/mould covered gym without my inhaler. I also was celiac and allergic to tree nuts, yet they somehow didn’t care to obtain my medical records, despite my repeated attempts to inform them of this. So there I am after 16 days, physically ill, down 40 or so lbs.

The staff repeatedly tried to force me into this thing called “sudsies” or something similar, where you have to show your fully naked body to them before you take a shower to prove you have soap on you. Yeah, like that’s therapeutic. Amongst my being ill, one of the nurses would still ignore me and absolutely did not care that I wasn’t retaining any nutrition whatsoever from the food they offered. The other younger nurse however cared but could only offer pepto for me expelling the contents of my stomach every time I went to the bathroom. I saw one patient beat the crap out of another and the staff reacted by yelling at the victim to not get up or move afterward while trying to figure out what to do with the other.

So after insurance stopped paying for me to stay there, I opted to go back with my abusive parents/situation than stay here a week longer, to go back to the people who caused me to not want to live anymore. If you actually love someone, you will avoid submitting them to this place. They are only nice when you leave.

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

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

Year(s): 2013

Benedictine Hospital

Name of Hospital: Benedictine Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Kingston, NY, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: This is going to be tough on me to recall. I was only there for one night and half a day, and it was one of the worste hospital experiences I ever had.

It started with them not bothering to alert anyone when there was breakfast. So they don’t care if you eat. When I asked about it, they said I probably wouldn’t want it anyway – just powdered eggs. I thought eating regularly was important for mental health but apparently not to them.

Immediately walking into the hallway I noticed patients aimlessly walking the halls and sitting rocking back and forth on the floors. Nurses didn’t care or seem to notice. I felt like I had been transported to the 50s.

I called my parents to tell them to come get me and “dont leave without me.” Well that ended up not being a problem because of what happened next.

I had a meeting with my “treatment team” none of whom I had met before, mind you they never had me speak to a doctor of any kind or a therapist. Well they pulled me into a room and told me I “had enough coping skills” and they were discharging me. Mind you, I sit before them with two arms still covered in cuts, having been brought in by police. I said “What coping skills?” and they said “You know…coping skills” they couldn’t identify any.

I insisted that I needed help and they told me that my parents “probably wouldn’t want to pay for it” and I said I knew my parents better than them and I’m suicidal and she ignored me. I asked her, if she had a family member, a daughter, with cancer, wouldn’t she do anything in her power to pay for her treatment? And the lady goes “If I could afford it.”

So they discharged me, and I got out of there and went somewhere else.

Mind you, I had health insurance that their hospital accepted.

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

Year(s) : 2010

St. Vincent’s East

Name of Hospital: St. Vincent’s East

City, State/Province, Country: Birmingham, AL, USA

Number of Stars: 2

Comment: It is a religious hospital. They did not give me any of my medication that I am prescribed which inclues pain medication for my disability until the 2nd night. Then they named the meds incorrectly. I was half asleep and didn’t realize until I took them that the nurse had given me wrong meds. Had panic attack. No comfort was given. Things were sorted out and nurse just said the name wrong. Never apologized. Roommate constantly was pooping on toilet seat. Had to clean myself occasionally because no one at desk would pay me any attention after standing there 10 minutes. Very loud at night. Art therapy only thing helpful. Could not go outside.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Bisexual but did not disclose, Chronic pain patient, female

Year(s) : 2016

Borgess Medical Center

Name of Hospital: Borgess Medical Center

City, State/Province, Country: Kalamazoo, MI, USA

Number of Stars: 3

Comment: Going in on the weekend is better than not going at all, but there is little to no care offered on the weekends. If you’re on any medications for chronic illness, they may or may not accommodate (I was on something specific for pain, and they gave me something ridiculously low compared to what I was on, even after asking me to bring in the medication in its original bottle, they wouldn’t give it to me and locked it in a safe instead).

Food was pretty good, but the ordering system was obnoxiously strict. The ward was supposed to be renovated after I stayed, so hopefully things are a little more comfortable. Doctors didn’t necessarily want to take what I said at face value, which was incredibly stressful. They gave me incredibly weak medication for chronic insomnia, but did manage to get me onto a much better antidepressant than what I was on.

Much of the care you get seems to be just from talking to other people in the ward, and I confronted the doctors more than once about feeling like I was there for “supervised TV time.” Ultimately, could have been worse, but it could’ve been a little better.

Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): Inpatient, visitors allowed 1 hour per day, closed ward otherwise

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

Year(s): 2016