Have you ever been mistreated by a hospital, doctor, or other medical personnel? You are not powerless. I recently wrote the following grievance against a hospital which detained me against my will, restrained me, and put me in a room secluded from other patients. If these events can happen to a man who has written and published a book on Bipolar Disorder, has a masters degree in psychology, and spent one year in Law School, they can happen to just about anybody. We need to know our rights and how to legally stand up for ourselves.
GRIEVANCE AGAINST WESTERN PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE ANDCLINIC
On Tuesday September 28, 2010 at 8:00PM, I, Richard Jarzynka, entered the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center (DEC), also known as the emergency room, at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) and requested to see a doctor regarding symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
While in the DEC on September 28, 2010, I was interviewed by a social worker who is an employee of WPIC. I told the social worker that I was notexperiencing any symptoms of mental illness, that I was notthinking of harming anyone, and that I was not having any thoughts of harming myself. I was calm throughout the interview and the social worker commented that I looked like I was doing well. He and I discussed the book I have written and published, “Blessed with Bipolar,” the fact that I have a masters degree in psychology, my work as a psychotherapist, my upcoming speaking engagement regarding my book, and the fact that I attended Law School for one year. I reiterated to the social worker that the sole purpose of my visit to the emergency room (ER) was to speak with a doctor regarding the symptoms of restless leg syndrome which had worsened in spite of my treatment with Requip.
At the close of the interview, the social worker told me to wait to be seen by a doctor.
After being in the ER from 8PM until nearly midnight and not yet seeing a doctor, I decided that I wanted to leave WPIC. I then approached a male employee of WPIC and requested that he retrieve my previously confiscated belongings because I had decided to leave. Rather than retrieving my belongings, the employee picked up a telephone receiver and said, “Richard Jarzynka is asking to leave. Is he ready to go?” He then told me, a 48 year-old man who had come to the ER voluntarily and on my own initiative, that I was not permitted to leave.
I said to the employee, “I came here voluntarily and now I’m leaving voluntarily. Get my belongings and open the door.”
The employee refused and I again demanded that I be given my belongings and that the door be opened because I had decided to refuse treatment as was my right according to the “Notice of Patients’ Rights” – paragraph 4 – which was given to me by a WPIC employee while I was in the ER.
The employee again refused to get my belongings and I attempted to turn the knob on the door in order to open it and leave. The door was locked, so, I again told the employee to open the door. He refused, picked up the telephone receiver, and called for security personnel to come to the scene.
As another male employee and two female employees arrived, I turned and attempted to kick the door open in order to escape the detention which had been imposed upon me against my will.
The door did not open, so, I turned again and demanded that the employee open the door. He refused and I kicked the door a second time. It did not open. A female employee of WPIC then came out of a side room and said, “You’re being silly.”
I responded, “I came here voluntarily and now I want to leave and I am being forced to stay here against my will.
The woman then told me that I would need to see a doctor before I could be released.
I said, “Okay, get a doctor out here.”
The woman refused and I again kicked the door, attempting to escape through that door because there was no other means by which I could leave the ER. The door still did not open.
The woman then opened the door and I stepped through it in order to leave. As I stepped over the threshold and out of the ER, the first male employee, along with two other male employees wearing navy blue sport coats, forcibly, aggressively, and tightly grabbed me around both arms, both shoulders, and my waist. The three men then violently pushed me back inside the door and into the ER against my will.
I again said clearly and loudly, “I came here voluntarily and now I am leaving voluntarily.”
The employees continued to aggressively grab, hold, push, and pull me. One of the men said to the other two, “We can go to the floor.” They attempted to force me to the floor, but were incapable of doing so.
As the men continued to grab, hold, pull, and push me, we moved several steps away from the door. The same man again said, “We can go to the floor.” The three men again attempted to force me to the floor, but were incapable of doing so. The same man who had said, “We can go to the floor,” now called for somebody to get a nurse to give me a “shot” that would sedate me – against my will and without my permission.
I then said, “Okay, I quit.” I stopped resisting the men and let my body go limp to show that I would do what they wanted me to do.
The same man who had been speaking said, “First, you have to show us that you are calm.”
I said calmly, “Okay, what do you want me to do?”
The man said, “I want you to walk down this hallway.”
I calmly started walking down the hallway as the men continued to hold my arms and shoulders.
As I was walking calmly down the hallway, a white, male employee wearing a navy blue sport coat shoved me from behind in my upper back and violently drove me down the hallway.
The man who had been speaking to me yelled the name of the man shoving me, told him to stop, and said that he did not need to shove me because I was walking on my own and following his directions. The man behind me continued to shove me and I then struggled to stop moving forward and to protect myself from injury.
The three men wrestled me through another doorway and I calmly walked to the seclusion room to which they told me to go. The three men – and others – stood in the seclusion room and prevented me from leaving. They repeated that I would need to see a doctor. I then noticed that a female doctor was standing behind them and I said, “We have a doctor right here.”
I told the doctor that I wanted to leave and she stated that I would not be permitted to leave until I had a “full evaluation.”
I calmly remained in the seclusion room – against my will –for another three hours until I was seen by a male doctor at 3:00AM. We spoke with each other for about 5 – 10 minutes and the doctor recommended that I see a neurologist. I informed him that I had already – on my own – made an appointment with a neurologist.
I received no further “treatment” and was discharged at 4:00AM after spending eight hours in the ER, being assaulted by employees of WPIC, being threatened with a “shot” to sedate me, and being forcibly detained against my will – though I had come to the ER voluntarily and had clearly, calmly, and repeatedly requested to leave.
In summary, my grievance is that employees of WPIC violated my rights to make informed decisions regarding my care; refuse treatment; receive care in a safe setting, free from verbal or physical harassment; and be free from restraints and seclusion of any form used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff – as stated in paragraphs 3, 4, 8, and 10 of the “Notice of Patients’ Rights” that was given to me at some time prior to my decision to leave the ER.
In addition to this grievance, I hereby demand to review all of the documents in my record pertaining to my visit to the WPIC emergency room on 9/28/2010 and 9/29/2010. This demand is made pursuant to my rights as stated in paragraph 9 of the Notice of Patients’ Rights. This demand includes all documents that I may have signed or not signed, any and all consent to treatment forms, any and all incident reports, progress notes, interview summaries, and all other statements pertaining to my visit to the ER written by the social worker who interviewed me, the men who restrained me, the doctors who spoke with me, and all other employees of WPIC.
Copies of this Grievance have been sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Allegheny Department of Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, and the Allegheny County Mental Health Association.
Richard Jarzynka is the author of “Blessed with Bipolar” (http://www.bipolarman.org) and he hosts his own Radio Show at BlogTalkRadio.com/bwb. He has used the “symptoms” of Bipolar to help him counsel clients; run a marathon; grow in his christian faith; and earn a masters degree in psychology, a scholarship to law school, and a football scholarship. Rich also conducts a bipolar support group on Facebook.