Montgomery County Emergency Services / Poor service
I have a serious story. This is about basic rights and civil rights and being afraid for my safety .
It is about cruelty, verbal abuse, but most importantly, clear civil rights violations at the Montgomery County
Emergency Services (MCES).
On October 22, 2010, after feeling immobilized by depression following a failed job search and catastrophic illness
of my partner, I turned to, what I "thought" was, a crisis center, that would offer me direction. In particular, I had been
having a daunting experience obtaining outpatient therapy -- one that would accept my insurance coverage. Clearly,
this was contributing to my depression. I went VOLUNTARILY to MCES. I just wanted help. I had never gone there
previously. In serious retrospect, it is clear now that I walked into the wrong place.
During an exchange (intake) with a disturbingly slovenly dressed, unkempt physician, I observed that he was clearly paying no attention whatsoever to my verbalization of feelings. His name was Dr. Santini. It quickly became obvious
that I was just another number to him. He seemed to not care at all. It was blatantly unprofessional. When I asserted myself (God forbid)
and addressed the fact [in a non-confrontational, non-provocative manner] that I could see he was paying me no mind, he became inflamed.
The next thing I knew he accused and labeled me "Hostile". This Dr. Santini berated and insulted me in the worst
demeaning, condescending fashion.Specifically, he said and I quote "Oh what's wrong -- I'm not making you feel s-p-e-c-i-a-l? He said it in the most disgustingly bullying, belittling tone. It was emotional terrorism in a pure form. There were no witnesses, as I was alone. It was apparent he took full advantage of this fact. It was offensive. He immediately aborted the intake. Then, to my shock and disbelief, he stated "we're done
here". Santini instructed another employee to start papers to lock me up on what's called a "302" which means
INVOLUNTARY commitment or against my will. I was horrified! He had deccided to make it personal. I was not suicidal nor a risk to others or myself. I came there for help. I was alone there and felt helpless, and this was exploited. I had never in my ife had this happen to me! I felt powerless, since I was alone and they knew it.
I have documented everything.
1.I have documents where there were falsehoods, false statements, signed without me seeing.
I did not receive these docs until after the fact.
2.Some docs stating that I approved the statements, others asserting that I made a suicide attempt
3.Their mission statement citing respect, dignity and the right to request an advocate and/or attorney
at any time were not adhered to.
4.At a hearing on 10/26/10, the judge said of me "She looks pretty good, I think she can be d/c". But
the doc assigned to me asked for an extension of up to 10 more days.
5.None of my rights as stated in their literature were honored. I asked several times to speak to the
Ombudsman (which is on signs on the unit). But no phone number was posted. Each request fell on deaf
My rights, as stated in Patient Rights on their walls, are the following:
1- The right to ask for the Ombudsman. Denied -- despite several requests during my stay of 5 days.
2-The right to be assisted by an advocate". Ignored and Denied.
3-On the Admissions Wall: "No treatment decision will be made in violation of a patient's civil rights." Not honored.
Also, as soon as I informed them that "I have a lawyer" -- and that "you can't keep me here", they rapidly proceeded
to execute the "warrant" papers (referring to the 302 Involuntary commitment.). I later learned from a Psych Tech that "the bed census had been down". I knew then there was something inappropriate going on.
I was in a living nightmare. I knew there were civil rights violations all over the place. I was alone, was vulnerable and they could see that. I felt unlawfully victimized.
Important to note: I was actually approached by two R.N.s. at different times during this stay. They seemed puzzled. I have names.
that I, in fact, was even there? On their own volition, the two R.N.s came forward at different times and
presented me with "Complaint Forms" both on North Hall. They were green forms and could have simply been
in-house forms. I don't know. Although I completed these forms, I have no way of knowing of their disposition. Despite my request. I was never offered any avenue to enter a Grievance.
In addition, after reviewing my copy of the 302 Involuntary commitment papers, Form MH783, I discovered blocks of statements indicating that I, the patient, was read rights, then signed without my knowledge, as well as false statements. I have documented and saved these examples for potential legal charges against MCES.
Safety: I did not feel safe. There was another consumer, a female, who was going around assaulting other patients.
The attendants so much as laughed at her behaviour! In one instance, I was alone in the Restroom. She walked over
to me and violated my personal space by putting her hands in the sink I was using clearly being provocative. I was
frightened. AT NO TIME WAS SHE MONITORED BY STAFF. I felt my safety was in danger.
I strongly believe this institution was fabricating facts about me, again to bolster their position in case of liability.
EXAMPLES: MH783 FORM:
False statement #1: A box was checked by facility that I had attempted suicide. This was False.
False statement #2: said I was asked for a "guarantee" not to harm myself. False. This was NEVER asked of me.
False statement #3: FYI: I was NEVER asked if I had a plan to hurt myself.
False statement #4: In documents, I was referred to as "severely mentally disabled". Again, a seriously distorted
allegation. There is no physician I had in the past, nor currently, who would concur with this statement
When I was collected by an attendan (I have her name), she brought me to the unit. The rudeness and cruelty of
this "NON-orientation" I feel was akin to entering a prison. Against their entire Mission Statement, which cites, "All individuals will be welcomed and treated in a respectful, professional manner...". This aide pointed with her "finger" to
my assigned room, what she called the "Toilet", and the "Med Room". All the while pointing with her finger. I felt lost and scared. I felt I had to grovel to ask her for a towel and pillow for my bed, which had neither and were not offered.
Despite claims on their Mission Statement, there was no dignity nor respect to speak of.
In a hearing that followed, (not 120 days later as indicated by law), but five (5) days later, the Judge stated with regard to me "She looks good, why don't we discharge her today." Again, to my shock, the residing doctor requested an extension of "up to 10 days of inpatient". Again, I feel strongly that this was all posturing, with a clear objective to
bolster their position. I felt as if I was walking through a nightmare. Interestingly, I was discharged the following day.
Side notes - unrelated to my situation but relevant to quality of care in this facility:
There was a consumer who shared a room with me. She was clearly in distress and actively responding to auditory
hallucinations. I never, at anytime, saw where she was provided any human stimulation from staff. She was left alone
in this room. This patient would sit there, alone in this room, for hours and hours -- the entire day and night. I felt it
Other observations: Sanitation, Health, Job Duties
1. Flies consistently in the dining room and also in the bathroom.
2. The attendants would sit and fiddle with their cell phones while on duty, instead of aiding patients in any
productive way, i.e. assisting those in need of encouragement to perform fundamental, daily activities such as
showering, dressing, or getting out of bed.
3. I observed one female staff member doing the hair of another staff member while on duty.
4. The only performance of duty of any kind I observed was making rounds, again, akin to what you might expect
from prison guards.