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

News Articles on Bon Secours Community Hospital – Port Jervis

Name of Facility: Bon Secours Community Hospital (Port Jervis location)

Location: Port Jervis, NY, USA

Articles

Times Herald-Record, Town of Wallkill man arraigned in psych ward sex-assault case,” February 2018: “A Town of Wallkill man was arraigned Monday on charges he sexually assaulted a patient in the hospital psychiatric ward where he worked… Chief Trial Assistant District Attorney John Geidel told Judge William DeProspo that the conduct happened in March 2016.”

Northwell Syosset

Name of Facility: Northwell Syosset

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

Number of Stars: 2

Description of Experience: I was twice denied a Koran & access to Imam priest. Misdiagnosed as bipolar for being bisexual from close minded family that does not accept me. Am well educated. I never tried to commit suicide. Screamed political complaints at home, annoying conservative cops who put me away for a few weeks to censor protests.

Psych ward is small 20 people & cold but clean with nice aides. No fresh air, dangerous electro-shock, padded quiet room, indoor bicycle, 2 TV in common room with Xbox & DVD player, old books, art room with 2 computers (if you attend group), good food including snack at night.

Besides discrimination & greed, I am concerned that during 2 of my imprisonments they had a possible undercover Muslim guy who was from another city, admitted having a gun which I never. Said he used PCP & tried to get me to do illegal deals. Sounds like entrapment in what should be a medical place.

Wish the hospital would hire a full time talk therapist & spend more than a few minutes with each patient.

Other people complained about Tardive Dyskenesia & diabetes from being over-medicated. I gained 100 pounds from side effects.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Bisexual, Muslim, High Functioning Autism

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2005, 2016

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

News Articles on Buffalo Psychiatric Center

Name of Facility: Buffalo Psychiatric Center

Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

Articles

Health Alliance Hospital, Mary’s Ave Campus

Name of Hospital: HealthAlliance Hospital, Mary’s Ave Campus

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

Number of Stars: 3.5

Comment: Staff were often kind and understanding, and worked hard to ensure people’s comfort. food was alright and there was a good variety. Groups were interesting, engaging, and sometimes fun.

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

Year(s) : 2015-2016

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