MindFreedom is issuing a Shield alert for every individual locked into Patton Psychiatric hospital, located in San Bernadino County, California. Read more about this unfolding tragedy and take action today!
Although it was many years ago, I still vividly remember being locked in seclusion, bound in restraints, and forcibly injected with a drug I believe was Thorazine. Naively I yelled until I was hoarse, “You can’t do this to me; I’ll sue all of you; this is not fair; I didn’t do anything wrong; Let me out of here.” No one listened. I was all alone. I was powerless.
We are the ones who know what it is like to find that our freedom, our ability to make choices being held hostage to a system that claims to do this for our own good.
We are very aware of the ease in which our rights can be trampled and are doing what we can to bring to the attention of the public the harmful psychiatric practices that are all too common and can happen to anyone.
It has been clearly established that the danger during this time of COVID is most extreme for those living in congregate settings – psychiatric institutions, nursing homes, prisons. We must take action to challenge and bring into the light the needs of people who are out of sight and ignored.
Please view the factual information below about the preventable COVID tragedy unfolding at Patton State Hospital and join me and other Shield members by taking action today using the information listed below.
This is an opportunity to join with the lawyers at Disability Rights California to demand that measures be taken for developing and implementing plans for residents to safely transition into community living.
Join me in resisting injustice. Together, let us issue a strong response where we do not allow the inhumane practices and the avoidable deaths to happen in the dark; we have an opportunity to bring in light and demand change.
What is Happening at Patton State Hospital
- Patton State Hospital, which is one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in the country, is in the midst of a surging COVID-19 outbreak.
- More than 570 patients and 600 staff have contracted COVID. 17 patients have died.
- The recent vaccinations of many of the patients are a positive step but the hospital still needs to do more to ensure that patients are treated safely in the least restrictive environment.
- The Department of State Hospitals staff recommended 272 patients for discharge in November, but there is no evidence that the hospital has done anything since then, including contacting their committing courts.
- Beds in the state hospitals cost more than $250,000 per person per year.
- Many patients currently at Patton could get the same treatment they are currently getting in the community. Most groups at Patton have been suspended because the coronavirus. The medications and individual therapy that patients receive is available in the community.
- We call on the Department of State Hospitals to protect the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities by ensuring that everyone who can be treated in the community is treated in the community. Not tomorrow, but today.
ACTIONS TO TAKE
Using the Bullet Points Provided Above….
1) Alert the Media
The following media outlets have covered the Hart v. Clendenin lawsuit: Los Angeles Times, OC Register, San Bernardino Sun, Bloomberg Law, Cal Matters, Guardian, Appeal, KQED, KNX news.(to read the media pieces that have been written about this situation, see https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/cases/hart-v-clendenin
Use the Media Contact Form on Bloomberg Law (information source for attorneys) Note: It is OK to say you are a Shield Reporter for MindFreedom HERE
Submit letters to Cal Matters, a non-profit news organization by emailing email@example.com
2) Pressure Policymakers
Department of Human Services
Patton is Janine Wallace (3102 East Highland Avenue Patton, CA 92369 Phone: (909) 425-7321 Fax: (909) 425-6169 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Director of DSH is Stephanie Clendenin (1600 9th St., Room 150, Sacramento, CA 95814, Office: 916-654-2309, Cell: 916-662-6729, Email: Stephanie.email@example.com)
3) Pressure LawmakersLegislators with interest in DSH issues
*For the legislators it may be helpful to suggest that they make an audit request to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to review DSH, including their discharge planning and procedures.
Also, media who have covered the lawsuit (and may be interested in follow-up) are linked on this page, along with significant court filings, including expert reports: https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/cases/hart-v-clendenin.