Justice for Patient Allegedly Left Out in the Cold Wearing Just a Hospital Gown

Target: Dr. Mohan Suntha, CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center

Goal: Punish hospital personnel who allegedly left a mentally ill woman out in the cold in little more than a hospital gown.

A young woman dressed only in a hospital gown and tube socks was allegedly sent out of a Baltimore hospital and left by herself at a bus stop in near freezing temperatures, and video captured of the incident has provoked widespread outrage. Psychotherapist Imamu Baraka, the man who witnessed the incident and recorded it on video, can be heard calling out to the four people in uniforms who apparently left the young patient standing outside, disoriented and incoherent. He says in the video, “Wait, so you all are just going to leave this lady out here with no clothes on? That is not OK.” Eventually, Baraka called an ambulance and the 22-year-old patient was taken back to the hospital.

The patient’s mother, Cheryl Chandler, identified her from the video, and said that she is “eternally grateful” to Mr. Baraka. She said, “it crushed me. No one wants to see their child in that way.” Chandler says that her daughter, Rebecca, has struggled with mental illness for years, and went to the hospital seeking help. “Rebecca is not homeless, uninsured, on drugs, or an unloved young woman with no family that cares for her. My daughter did not choose to be the face of mental illness. She didn’t choose to be an example of the impact of a failed mental health care system. She was an individual in need of services.”

The CEO of the hospital issued an apology to the family. He stated his firm belief that the hospital did provide Rebecca with adequate medical care, but that it did fail to provide humanity and compassion upon discharging her. However, this apology is an insufficient response, and Rebecca’s family is calling for justice. According to her attorney, “Everybody is sorry, but nobody wants to pay. And that’s what we’re coming up against. Rebecca has been severely harmed as a result of being out there in the cold. They exacerbated her pre-existing psychiatric emergency … they failed to screen and treat her. Instead, they opted to dump her at a bus shelter, half naked.” Sign below to demand justice for Rebecca.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear CEO Suntha,

The disregard for human decency and compassion allegedly displayed by your hospital when a mentally ill young patient was left out at a cold bus stop is unacceptable. The young woman, Rebecca, came to the hospital seeking help, and did not deserve to be sent away when she was clearly still in need of care and was unable to fend for herself. The video that has been circulating showing Rebecca at the bus stop reveals this, along with an inhumane lack of empathy from the medical center.

Rebecca and her family deserve justice for this incident. While an apology was a positive first step, it is not enough. I urge you to ensure that the personnel involved in this alleged “patient dumping” are held responsible for their actions, and that every possible step is taken to ensure that this mistreatment of patients is never allowed to happen again at your facilities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Imamu Baraka

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5 Comments

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    Rebecca could have been physically harmed by deranged people or gotten ill or died from exposure to the harsh elements. What happened to her is inexcusable and unforgivable and no way to treat a human being. What if that happened to any one of us or to one of our loved ones? How would we feel? Something must be done.

  2. Gen Agustsson says:

    you refuse service and kick them out of the hospital? its unacceptable and its wrongful. shutdown psych wards or else now! she needs mental rehab not jail nor be on streets. healthcare not jail. stop refusing service to mental disorders now! she needs to be cured. mental health is more important than money. refusing service for a bogus reason is wrongful. no more screening failures. no more overlooking.

  3. Patricia Dumais says:

    In the US it’s all about money. The richest country in the world will not provide for its most vunerable citizens! So glad I live in a country with universal health care.

  4. Don’t know your job?

  5. Get rid of useless personnel – compassion and understanding should be a natural trade for nurses and doctors – or is it money???

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