During what was to have been a one week stay at what was described to me as a "sober living facility", I found myself "hostage" in a rurally isolated psychiatric facility in Northern Ohio for twenty days. During this period in which I believe I was held hostage for my Medicare benefits, I decided to make the most of it by taking copious notes documenting my experiences and those of my fellow patients also being kept against their will for periods far exceeding their expected or desired stay at Ridgeview Behavioral Hospital.
I recall the story of Ron, who was brought to the hospital by van from Pittsburgh, PA. When Ron decided the facility was not providing the standard of care he had come to expect from a psychiatric facility he requested to sign his 72 hour notice to be discharged. When he was told the hospital would not allow him to sign these papers he became understandably frustrated and was offered Ativan for anxiety by injection. What he did not understand was that the other medication in the syringe was a powerful dose of the schizophrenia medication Haldol. So powerful was the Haldol that Ron could barely walk for three days. With a look of confusion and tears in his eyes, this man, full of vitality and vigor was reduced to a shadow of his former self with out the will to followup on his request to simply go home where he might find acceptable healthcare.