The mother of the 22-year-old patient dumped in the street in subfreezing temperatures after being discharged from a Baltimore hospital has spoken out, saying that she wanted to clear the record about her daughter, whom she says has a mental illness diagnosis.
(Sidenote: That an obviously mentally ill 22-year-old was dumped on a frigid sidewalk in a flimsy hospital gown is the clearest indication that U.S. health care has slunk to level shithole.)
“There are people who are saying that my daughter is a drug addict, my daughter’s a prostitute, that she’s deaf,” Cheryl, who wished to be identified only by her first name, told CBS News. “She’s not deaf, not a prostitute, not a drug addict. My daughter has mental illness.”
She continued: “My daughter was disposed of. She literally was disposed of. It’s disgusting, heartbreaking, horrifying. And if it’s all of those things for me, I want people to know how does Rebecca feel. This was done to her. She was on the street with her body exposed. There was no human dignity at all.”
Cheryl told the news outlet that her daughter was diagnosed with bipolar schizoaffective disorder when she was 16 years old and that she also has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. She was in a residential program from the age of 18 until Christmas Eve, when she was put out because she was noncompliant with her medication.
Cheryl said that she has been trying to get legal guardianship of her adult daughter so that she can require her to take her medication (which her mom says prevents psychosis and mania). But because of HIPAA regulations and the fact that Rebecca is over age 18, doctors will not speak with her.
And in yet another awful wrinkle in this sad story, Cheryl said that last month she came across her daughter’s video while scrolling through Facebook.
“I didn’t even know that it was my daughter initially,” she said. “As he got close enough, I saw it was her and I got hysterical because in that moment, it was sheer fear that my daughter was going to die. I still haven’t watched all of the video.”
Rebecca had not been in touch for some time, and Cheryl was in the process of filing a missing person report when authorities notified her that Rebecca had been placed in a Baltimore hospital.
Cheryl said that she tried to contact the hospital and was told to reach out to its media relations department about the incident by email.
The viral video of Rebecca, taken by Dr. Imamu Baraka, a psychotherapist (God is good), who then called 911, went viral earlier this week.
It shows four University of Maryland Medical Center security guards wheeling Rebecca to a bus stop in her hospital gown. She can be heard crying out after they walk away.
“It’s about 30 degrees out here right now,” Baraka says. “Are you OK, ma’am? Do you need me to call the police?” he asks.
“You could see she has a large lump on her forehead and her face was bloody. So there was a medical issue,” Cheryl said. “She was incoherent. A blind person, Hellen Keller, could see that my daughter was in need of medical attention.”
After Baraka called 911, Rebecca was then taken to the very same University of Maryland Medical Center that discharged her.