Shield Update for And Steiner: 9/21/23
And’s life is still in danger as SCF continues to retaliate against it for its activism.
Instead of heeding the reasonable concerns about And’s safety that so many of you have been voicing to Solomon Carter Fuller Hospital (SCF) via email, SCF staff confiscated And’s electronics today and refuse to return them until And declares it is no longer suicidal.
Notably, such a declaration would allow SCF to discharge And to a DMH shelter. Otherwise it would have to be discharged to a group home with 24/7 staff support as per standard procedure.
This is therefore a blatant attempt to forcibly relocate And to a dangerous environment unsuited for its needs as a transgender patient with acute suicidality, and continues to draw disturbing parallels with Jean Busch’s case.
MFI is truly grateful for everyone’s continued advocacy on And’s behalf. However, the situation unfortunately remains critical since And’s two suicide attempts 11 days ago were triggered by a similar confiscation of its electronics, which deprives it of resources crucial to its wellbeing including music and its online network of support.
Urgent call to action
1. Please contact Solomon Carter Fuller Hospital and demand that its staff:
- Immediately return And’s electronic devices and desist from arbitrarily confiscating them again.
- Immediately cancel their plan to discharge And to a DMH shelter and desist from making such plans in the future.
- Transfer And back to Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, Floor 9 South. No other locations, for safety reasons.
- Allow And to work with Brittany Blythe from ACCS in planning its discharge without interference from the DMH.
- Honor And’s legal right to get a service dog and have it in the hospital.
2. Please contact Massachusetts lawmakers and demand that the state set up an independent body to investigate all complaints filed by And and Jean.
Important talking points
- ACCS, the case management company that plans discharges for DMH hospitals, says that And needs to be discharged to a group home with 24/7 staff in order to be safe.
- And had two suicide attempts requiring medical attention in the past 10 days.
- And is currently reporting sucidality with a plan and is under direct observation.
- DMH shelters are known to be plagued by drugs and crime.
- DMH shelters are especially dangerous for transgender patients, who experience disproportionately high rates of emotional and physical abuse due to discrimination. Many trans people like Jean have committed suicide in these shelters in the past.
- Despite never having been accused nor convicted of any crime, And is currently in a forensic unit at SCF that does not handle non-criminal cases.
Phone numbers to call
- Dr. Amam Saleh (Chief Medical Officer of Inpatient Management at SCF Hospital): 508-616-2237
- Dr. James Cooney (Chief Officer of SCF Hospital): 617-626-8796
- Dr. Marco Caicedo (Medical Director of SCF Hospital): 617-626-8736
- Representative John Moran (MA Lawmaker): 617-722-2460
- Representative Samantha Montano (MA Lawmaker): 617-722-2460
Email addresses to use
- firstname.lastname@example.org (This address will automatically forward your email to hundreds of recipients including the above personnel, lawmakers, Boston city-council members, and major media contacts.)
Please include the following in your emails:
- And Steiner’s name in the subject header
- A mention of Representative John Moran and Councilor Tania Anderson’s involvement in And’s case
- A link to And’s #JusticeForJean petition (https://change.org/justiceforjean)
- A link to MFI’s webpage for And’s Shield campaign (https://mindfreedom.org/front-page/and-steiner)
Shield Update for And Steiner: 9/20/23
And’s life is currently in danger! Please take action ASAP!
Today Dr. Marco Caicedo informed And in an impromptu meeting that it is going to be discharged to a shelter run by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) as soon as a bed is available. A charge nurse later said that this will happen as early as tomorrow morning (Thursday, September 21st EST).
This decision contradicts previous careful planning with Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS) to discharge And to a staffed group home, which has always been the standard procedure until now. It also mirrors Lemuel Shattuck Hopsital’s discharge of fellow transgender patient Jean Busch to a DMH shelter, where she tragically committed suicide shortly afterward due to its unsafe and unaccommodating living conditions.
And itself is already acutely and actively suicidal, having made two major suicide attempts only 10 days ago at the time of writing, but this clearly does not matter to SCF staff based on their plan to relocate And against its will to a place where it will be subjected to further discrimination, harassment, and assault.
Fortunately, State Representative John Moran and City Councilor Tania Anderson have recently taken action by communicating directly with And and advocating directly to DMH.
However, due to the urgent nature of SCF’s new plan for And, we still need as many people as possible to make phone calls and/or send emails on And’s behalf in order to keep it out of immediate danger. Please act now!
Shield Update for And Steiner: 9/14/23
And has thankfully regained access to its electronic devices and would love to hear from you via email! Please reach out to it with words of support at email@example.com.
The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) has said that they won’t discharge And anywhere but a group home, and the group homes are controlled by Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS) and And’s case worker Brittany Blythe. However, this claim should be met with wariness because the DMH is not legally obligated to honor what they say, and they have broken their word and laws regarding And’s care before.
Shield Update for And Steiner: 9/11/23
It was a grim week for Shield member And Steiner, who is still at Solomon Carter Fuller Hospital (SCF) enduring prison-like conditions after attempting suicide twice, both times needing emergency medical attention and the second time requiring sutures over its left wrist.
According to And, the emotional distress of losing its electronic devices on Thursday (the main way that And can connect with outside supporters and listen to its favorite soothing music) as well as access to its notebook (containing all of the phone numbers for its contacts) was the event that triggered the suicide attempts.
Some may ask why the SCF staff confiscated And’s electronic devices. According to And, staff alleged that it had identified a fellow patient in an electronic message that had been widely circulated. While not denying the allegation, And questions why it was not simply given a verbal reprimand as is the case when other patients break a rule.
After returning from the ER, And was later walking around in the open section of the ward, speaking with another patient when a doctor ordered And to go back into its room and used the threat of restraints if it did not comply with the seclusion order. And was calm at the time and had not shown any self-harming behavior for several hours both in the ER and at the ward before the doctor ordered seclusion. It told the doctor that putting it into seclusion after all the trauma it had recently experiencing would cause it to experience flooding (a rapid and persistent reliving of traumatic events) and likely harm itself again.
Regardless, And was violently thrown back into its room upon trying to leave, then impulsively pulled out its sutures and was restrained. And was in severe pain from the restraint and recent medical trauma, so it requested “something stronger than an NSAID” from its doctor. In response, the doctor offered And an NSAID that was already on its medication list with no explanation, nor did he at any time check in with And about its pain levels before or after the restraint.
This incident exposes the punitive nature of SCF’s “treatment” for an attempted suicide survivor, which amounts to forcing a person who had just committed suicidal acts to sit in a small room and stare at its blank walls for 24 hours while enduring emotional distress and physical pain.
Since And cannot reach out to others via email, it welcomes calls, cards, and letters of support, which you can send to the address below: And Steiner 8-East Solomon Carter Fuller Hospital 65 E. Newton St. Boston, MA 02118
Note: SCF has claimed that an unidentified individual threatened their staff with violence over the phone. We urge all Shield members to refrain from using threats or violent language when contacting staff. As a reminder, our mission statement reads:
“In the spirit of mutual cooperation, MindFreedom leads a nonviolent revolution of freedom, equality, truth, and human rights that unites people affected by the mental health system, with movements for justice everywhere.”
Shield Update for And Steiner: 8/30/23
And was denied treatment multiple times for a growth in its wrist that the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (MDMH) has known about for over two years. This type of neglect is similar to the neglect that led to the death of Haywood Earl.
Shield Alert for And Steiner: 8/27/23
And (pronouns: it/its) is a transgender human rights activist who is facing life-threatening retaliation as a result of calling attention to its own abuses and the abuses of other trans patients in hospitals run by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH).
In 2020 And went to a private hospital, St. Elizabeth’s, in Brighton, MA following a string of serious suicide attempts. At St. Elizabeth’s, And had two more suicide attempts, and was voluntarily transferred to Lemuel Shattuck Hospital (LSH), Floor 9 South, a DMH-run unit.
At this time, And came out as transgender and began filing complaints about what it saw and experienced. For instance, fellow trans patient Jean Busch (pronouns: she/her) was also experiencing abuse and filing complaints, thereby becoming a legal liability for her providers and LSH. Instead of dealing with the issues that Jean was bringing to their attention, they coerced her into being discharged into unsafe living conditions in which she committed suicide shortly afterward.
When And found out about Jean’s mistreatment and resulting suicide, it created an online petition campaign called Justice for Jean and soon afterward began to experience severe, life-threatening abuse and discrimination. Director Amy Lisser started to target it and transferred it to Floor 10 North, the most acute floor.
“I knew I could lose my sanity, my freedom, even my life. I was so terrified and humiliated and infuriated! I thought about suicide frequently. I think the only reason I made it through was because I finally came out as transgender. And to think this is happening in plain sight to so many transgender patients! So, I chose to fight back! I started writing complaints for every instance of abuse and discrimination I experienced.
I have some choice words for the people that treat me and other transgender patients like this but I will say this much: this has to stop! I am going to fight these atrocities, and I hope you will help me in standing up to protect my life and other transgender patients’ lives. EVERY patient’s life matters!”
Dr. Amam Saleh, the Medical Director of DMH, retaliated against And by forcibly transferring it under restraints to Solomon Carter Fuller Hospital (SCF), a short-term forensic facility unit which never handles non-criminal cases like And’s.
And has been at SCF for 5 months. Since being transferred, And has been assaulted, with injuries, by 6 other patients and has had another suicide attempt. (By comparison, And had no suicide attempts at Lemuel Shattuck and was not assaulted once.)
After And filed 5 complaints at SCF, doctors responded by denying And basic vital medical care including arbitrarily canceling a surgical appointment for a mass growing on its wrist.
Then the doctors issued And a HINN-12 Form, which is essentially a notice to a hospital patient that their hospital is telling Medicare they no longer require medical care at that location anymore. And may be discharged to a “transitional shelter,” which would be highly unsafe—this too is retaliation, similar to how Jean Busch was treated before her death.
At Solomon Carter Fuller, And is being attacked by other patients and denied essential medical care by staff. And talks about the link between this abuse and high suicide rates, saying:
“It’s terrifying to live with. If I remember my numbers correctly, trans individuals are 18 times more likely than the average person to attempt suicide. That number goes up 70% if they’ve been assaulted recently.”
And is still experiencing acute suicidality, but knows what it needs to re-stabilize. Having comprehensive gender-affirming healthcare and access to a therapy dog are both protected under MA law and would both help And immensely. Although Massachusetts passed laws making it a trans “haven” state, the mental health system routinely denies trans patients the gender-affirming care they need.
And says for now it would be safer to transfer back to Lemuel Shattuck, 9 South. And told us:
“The trans community has warned me about every other hospital, and I already know I can stabilize there. More than anything I want to be living independently in the community. However, it is a process to get there.”
And says it’s planning with case worker Brittany Blythe to ultimately find a safe housing placement to discharge to, and needs to be sure it won’t be thrown out into the shelter system before that happens.