Sinai Hospital

Name of Facility: Sinai Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Baltimore, MD, USA

Number of Stars: 2.5

Description of Experience: It was a pretty run of the mill ward. I was in for severe anxiety leading to suicidal distress and a voluntary admit. The emergency department was not very great; they forgot to get my insurance information and when they moved me to the transitional unit they took all my possessions until I was on the ward. Fortunately, I was more prepared than the other time I’d been in an ED and the removal of all possessions happened, but it still sucked.

They let you wear your own clothes on the ward (except I’m assuming stuff like bras with wires). They noticed and did something about my anxiety, which was good, it was a medication I could take as needed (they wouldn’t give me the stuff like Ativan, but something called Vistaril). They didn’t count not going to the groups because I was down and out with bronchitis against me.

After three days with no caffeine I was a bit grumpy with the nurse assigned to me and got a lecture on how if I didn’t control my behavior I’d have to stay longer. I perceived this as coercion and pushed back to ask her “Are you coercing me?” which she seemed offended by. (It was coercion and an exercise of control).

Another time (my second night) I was told you could only make one long-distance call per visit, which I had already made one and was told I could not by a psych specialist or admin assistant. I went back and began sobbing hysterically in my room because my friends are my safety net. It took them at least 10 minutes to bother to go see if I was okay and offer me anything for my anxiety. Most of the nurses/psych specialists besides that one would still let you make as many long distance calls as you wanted. It was just that one who was a stickler to the rule.

They made use of the seclusion rooms a couple of times while I was there. One was an elderly woman and I overheard the nurse telling the security guards the reason she was in there was “because she attacked me, the dumb bitch.” I told another nurse about that statement because it made me really uncomfortable and worried about the woman in the room. Another was a younger woman who apparently broke the door of her room.

They didn’t bother to do anything about the older man who asked me to be his girlfriend and laughed it off because he did it to everyone. I finally had to tell him off myself and he didn’t speak to me again, which was a relief.

There were security cameras everywhere, including in your room. There was basically no privacy – I resorted to changing in the bathroom, which sometimes the toilet was clogged because for some reason the ward always seemed out of toilet paper. The food was chronically late. One time it was almost 2 hours late for breakfast. It wasn’t that great but vaguely edible, and I saw at least one other patient receiving kosher meals – Sinai is a Jewish-affiliated hospital. So I would extrapolate that they at least respect dietary preferences and restrictions.

I didn’t see any preferential treatment based on race, but I could have missed it – I’m white, and a lot of the patients were Black. It definitely seemed at least preferential toward the less “complex” and the “easier” patients like me.

They had a hard time getting my meds sorted out at first, almost until I was about ready to leave, which was a bit ridiculous. Once I was stabilized (and done sleeping off my bronchitis), I was ridiculously bored and finished most of my books I was reading. There were basically a few board games and puzzles, magazines, a TV, and groups, though I can’t speak to the therapy groups as a way to pass time or their therapeutic value.

I didn’t get a whole lot of a discharge planning, either. I wasn’t helped to connect with resources in my area at all except for a print-out of some Jewish social service agencies.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Nonbinary (did not disclose), queer, Autistic, Jewish conversion student

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2018

Sheppard Pratt Trauma Unit

Name of Facility: Sheppard Pratt Trauma Unit

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: My therapist thought this place would be the magic bullet for my dissociation bc they specialize in it, but Shepherd Pratt trauma unit is a btr than average psych ward, not more. I was unimpressed with the daily groups they ran, mostly by mental health workers, who were lightly trained 20 year olds. The drs were good.

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

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2018

Sheppard Pratt Hospital

Name of Hospital: Sheppard Pratt Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Towson, MD, USA

Number of Stars: 4.5

Comment: I showed up at Sheppard-Pratt in crisis (depression, anxiety, eating disorder, suicidal ideations). Waiting room was impersonal and cold, and I nearly broke down and fled while waiting in the crisis center. But once I saw a nurse, she saw how bad off I was and called a doctor immediately. When (between sobs) I made it clear that I had no insurance and no money, they waived the crisis center referral fee and immediately referred me to the Resident Outpatient Program. $5/half hour to see a last-year psych resident who could prescribe medications. It was a literal lifesaver in my case – I guarantee I’d be dead without it.

I kept going to the ROP for about two and a half years until I moved out of state and though having the psych docs cycling once a year sucked, they were all fairly solid. They were also forgiving about payment, accepting payment in spare change and/or late when necessary. When I moved, my ROP therapist went out of her way attempting to find a similar program in Cincinnati to no avail.

That said, I’ve had a friend involuntarily referred to the inpatient program here back in the 90s and it literally left her with PTSD. Though my experience was excellent, other people’s may not be (especially PoC – I’m white, and that may be why I had a good experience and my friend did not).

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

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

Year(s) : 2010-2012

Washington Adventist Hospital

Name of Hospital: Washington Adventist Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Takoma Park (DC Metro Area), Maryland, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Staying on this ward qualifies as one of the worst experiences of my life. I was sent to the ER after a half-hearted suicide attempt, and was given the voluntary commitment papers to sign while I was fading in and out of consciousness. I spent most of the next day asleep. The nurses were fairly helpful to me, which I suspected was because I was a white-passing, polite, college kid. I have experience with modifying behavior to get me out of bad situations, and that helped here.

I kept requesting to see a social worker or doctor, as was my legal right. I didn’t see a psychiatrist until 28 hours after my commitment, and by the time I met him he knew that I was repeatedly requesting to see him so that I wouldn’t be held the full 72 hours. He walked into my room and started making fun of me, which caused me to start panicking (because in what situation does a psych ward doctor mock you?!) When I started crying, he laughed and said, “See? You’re too delicate to leave.” Of course I was delicate, I was locked in a strange place, wearing a glorified potato sack and away from my support system. Only after my parents came down from New York did he start to act reasonably towards me.

There are “Morning Meetings” where rules are supposed to be discussed, but it only occurred once, and the only rule discussed was “no food sharing.” The only groups that were available to attend were AA, which were mandatory (even though I don’t have a dependence problem and am not religious), and art therapy. We were allowed outside twice, as it was summer. Looking at the other review for this hospital, outside time likely took the place of group times. The showers in this facility are terrible, it’s a gross little closet you have to lock yourself into. They also don’t allow patients to have lotion or hair styling products; I had to beg for a comb.

I didn’t realize how poorly run this facility was until I was completing my outtake with the social worker and she asked me to initial that I received all sorts of services I’d never heard of. I didn’t want to be noncompliant, so I did without comment.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Young, white passing, female, college educated

Baltimore Washington Medical Center

Name of Hospital: Baltimore Washington Medical Center

City, State/Province, Country: Glen Burnie, MD, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: After being released from an inpatient ward after [method of suicide attempt redacted]* I began an outpatient PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) at Baltimore Washington Medical Center and was mentally and emotionally traumatized by nurses who denied that I was autistic and sent me into the worst panic attack I have even had. Upon being able to speak again (still in the midst of panic), I requested to be left alone for a couple of minutes, just to have some quiet so I could self soothe.

During this entire process, the nurse continued to berate me for faking all of it. Upon my panic attack and inability to move continuing, I was told that if I didn’t stop and calm down and admit to faking it, they would send me back to the ER for endangering myself. I continued to ask (beg) for them to just give me two minutes to myself to self soothe using the techniques I have learned in therapy. They would not, and I ended up being sent to the ER because they decided that their power trip was more valid than my diagnoses and therapy.

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

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

*Moderator Note: I redacted the submission’s description of their method for attempting as it is a best practice in journalism at least to not include method.

Sheppard Pratt Hospital

Name of Hospital: Sheppard Pratt Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Towson, Maryland, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: I was in this hospital for a day and a half in the girls’ adolescent unit. Population was violent and generally not motivated to seek treatment. No one is allowed off the unit and visitations are very limited. All food is brought to the unit and staff is not accommodating of dietary needs due to religion or eating disorder treatment regimens.

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