Dominion Hospital

Name of Facility: Dominion Mental Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Falls Church, Virginia, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: When I was hospitalised back in 2015, I was recovering from a suicidal attempt and was on Prozac with Abilify. When I was admitted, the staff would constantly stare and whisper to each other about patients and made unprofessional remarks. The psychiatrist who only gave me five minutes of his time, assured me that I needed to lose weight and that good Muslims don’t attempt suicide.

When I was discharging, I learned that my insurance didn’t pay for the rest of the stay because the psychiatrist wrote that I am a normal adolescent who doesn’t need psychiatric treatment. I have been diagnosed by countless medical professionals and have been on antidepressants a year prior. When I was discharged and spoke to my primary psychiatrist and told him what happened, he tried to negotiate with the insurance company saying that the psychiatrist had obviously misdiagnosed me but insurance wouldn’t have it, even though I have made many claims for my therapy sessions and have picked up my prescriptions which was paid for by them. I do NOT recommend this place.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Being a Pakistani American Muslim

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

News Articles on Western State Hospital (Va.)

Name of Hospital: Western State Hospital

Location: Staunton, VA, USA

Articles

  • News Leader, “Deadly restraint by Western State,” November 2015: “A report claims that a woman’s death in 2013 was caused, in part, by her being kept in restraints for nearly a month at Western State Hospital in Staunton, according to the Disability Law Center of Virginia.”

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

News Articles on Central State Hospital

Name of Hospital: Central State Hospital

Location: Petersburg, VA, USA

Articles

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch, “An inmate was transferred from jail to a mental hospital, then died an anonymous death,” June 2016: state and prison officials refuse to release any details on the death of a prisoner transferred to the hospital. This refusal is despite multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, and heightened scrutiny of Virginia’s placement of people with mental health disabilities in prison and lack of community-based mental health services.

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

Dominion Hospital

Name of Hospital: Dominion Hospital

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

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Would not recommend. Admission included a strip search (which from an acquaintance, I found out that he did not have to go through it as I did), being restrained to your room and one common area that you are assigned to for the first 24 hours (instead of going outside, to cafeteria for meals, etc), and lack of individuality. I overheard a staff member refer to me as the “Asian that attempted suicide” rather than by name.

Food was awful that in the 8 days I stayed there, I lost 20 lbs. “Free time” activities available there include watching movies (depends on TV availability), broken guitar, and radio (depends on availability). Other activities such as reading, coloring, sudoku, etc, must be brought in from home but cannot be done during assigned room time as writing utensils are not allowed in the rooms.

Each room can bed up to 3 people. Glass panes are approximately 3×6 feet, but the portion of the window that actually opens is about an inch wide. Doors do not lock so you do not have privacy whatsoever, and if you were admitted with an eating disorder, you are not allowed to use the restroom within a certain time after eating without a staff member.

They did not honor my wishes of being placed in the boys’ ward (as I did not identify as a female), then continued to misgender me throughout my stay.

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

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

News Articles on Eastern State Hospital

Name of Hospital: Eastern State Hospital

Location: Williamsburg, VA, USA

Articles