CRMH, Western State Hospital and
Independence from the family at all cost, part 2
The dominant model that allows the mental health community to dominate the lives of its clients, exclude the family and then wash it hands of the results, is an extreme danger to our community...
Two young men in our town (Vancouver, WA) were under the care of Columbia River Mental Health (CRMH) several years ago. A very similar decision was made by CRMH staff in each young man's case that resulted in serious consequences for both the individual, their family and our community.
In each case, the mental health staff excluded, ignored, or completely disregarded the family's input. If you read part 1, you know, one young man took the life of another... the other young man was my son, Siddharta Fisher who while experiencing a severe withdrawal episode caused by the mental health teams refusal to bring him his medication, became very agressive toward me. Read the story below...
When will they ever learn...
A setup for yet another tragedy
November 17, 2012..Currently Western State Hospital is following this same exclusionary model which I will go into more details in another link. None the less, Dr. Jerry McGuire and staff at WSH are currently ignoring my son's desire to live at home and my desire to have him live with me. They are insisting that he live in a group home that he does not want to live at. He will no doubt, leave the home as he has done before and choose to recover at home with family. This could be a repeat crisis or tragedy of a prior disregard of two different families request and the mental health's team seeming intent to separate families at all cost...read on
Columbia River Mental Health(CRMH) was the main provider for my son Siddharta Fisher in 2007.
Sudden increase in medication causes violence
Siddharta had been hospitalized at Western State Hospital in the winter of 2007. The reason for his hospitalization...His psychiatrist increased his neuroleptic dose of abilify by 25 mg and the next day he became extremely paranoid and kicked the bathroom door, warning everyone to stay away. Siddharta nor I had not been given any warning or informed consent regarding the drug or the possible effects of a sudden increase and so once again, I unknowingly blamed his illness for the act and called for help. The crisis team sent the police and he was hospitalized, eventually being sent to Western State Hospital for a long term committment.
Decisions made in isolation,
During his time there, I was in constant contact with Dr. Longawa, the treating psychiatrist, and his social worker, Analisa Simond.
Mom finds special house to meet son's needs
My son was never visited or contacted by his local mental health team (PACT) until 7 months later. However I called the team, once to tell them I had moved to a new place that had a nice shop in the back, so Siddharta could set up a music studio and play his music as loud as he wanted. My son always played the keyboard and listened to music as soon as he was relased from hospital visits. It seemed as if it was his way to support his recovery. He was often frustrated because he could not play it loud and as often as he liked. I had looked long and hard to find a place that would give him more freedom to play his music and dance whenever he wanted.
Mental health team uses manipulation to exclude family
CRMH Team enticed my son to write a revocation for the power of attorney(POA) I had which allowed me to advocate for my son in the community and at the hospital. They offered to negotiate his release and place him in his own apartment, but suggested that he revoke my POA, so he could be more independent.
Mental Health Team Keeps Actions Secret
The team did not inform me of this at all. I discovered it when the team refused to communicate with me anymore, and also other local mental health staff in the community no longer would communicate with me. When I finally tracked down the reason for the sudden silence, I discovered, they were told by the PACT team that because I no longer had a POA, the HIPAA privacy law prevented them from any further discussion or conversations with me regarding my son.
Continuation of denials and manipulations by CRMH
However, you are suppose to be of sound mind and competent when revoking a POA. So I called his doctor and social worker and asked them both which one of them were witnessing that my son was now competent to revoke my POA, since he was still under their care. The social worker, Analisa Simond, said neither she or the doctor were witnessing to that and that the entire process was initiated by the PACT team. The PACT team of CRMH denied this. Yet, the docotr and the social worker continued to dialogue with me about my son's care and progress. All communication in Vancouver including the PACT team ceased regarding any communication involving my son's care.
They would not even tell me where he would be living at, when he was released. I found this out through the doctor. So it is obvious that it was the PACT teams actions that initiated the POA revocation.
CRMH allows eviction in less than 20 days for keeping apartment messy and unclean
With the proper support, I would have loved to have seen my son in an apartment, but I knew he needed a lot of support Noone from the PACT Team asked me or included me in any other conversations during the next two months while they arranged for my son's release into an apartment. These special apartments were shared with one other client as a room mate and had the support of cleaning personel and nothing else. In less than 20 days, he was evicted, for not doing his part of keeping the apartment clean. I knew coming out of 9 months of being heavily drugged, he would not be able to clean up after himself to the level they would require. But even that is not what was the most disturbing result of their covert actions.
CRMH DENIES medication
causes serious withdrawal episode
My son stayed at the apartment the first night with the new room mate he had never met. The next morning he came to visit me and did not want to return to his apartment. I was shocked at how heavily drugged he was from the hospitalization. He had a glazed look in his eyes that even my roommate noticed immediately. It was that zombied look that is so common with high dosages of neuroleptics.
I informed the PACT team that they would need to bring his medication to my house. (they were assigned to bring his medication to him everyday to make sure he would take it daily). They REFUSED and said he would need to go to his apartment and they would bring it to him there. At that time, I had no idea how dangerous sudden withdrawal is, and even more so, extremely dangerous considering how heavily he had been drugged for almost 9 months. He did not want to go back to the apartment and refuse to do so.
Individual, Family and Community Endangered by CRMH decisions
He did not have his medication the first night he stayed at my house, and they refused to bring it the next 2 nights. They insisted he return to his apartment and my son refused. The 4th day "lightening" struck completely without any warning.
Medication refusal triggers dangerous sudden medication withdrawal aggression
We were both sitting across from each other in our living room. We had been having a regular conversation and then suddenly out of the blue, he quietly got up, walked across the room and struck me 3 times in the arm...I screamed from shock and surprise, but not from pain, as, thank goodness, they were light punches, and yet I panicked because I did not know what else might happened...he immediately walked away without saying a word, and with no expression on his face, sat back down in the same place he was before and then got back up and repeated the act. I had no idea why it happened and was confused and frightened (and I now know he probably did not know either);
Withdrawal harm, emotional pain, loss of freedom
I called the police, and explained that he had been refused medication ( at the time, i still believed the spin story that because he did not have medication the illness rebounded back)---only found out later that the PACT Team's denial of medication caused both me and my son serious harm; I was shocked and frightened and my son's body was in withdrawal shock. He was placed again in locked confinement, just after gaining his freedom after 9 months confinement and he was assaulted with an injection of a neuroleptic drug at a very high dose.
Columbia River Hides / Community pays the price
Columbia River hid behind the HIPAA law and their lawyer to avoid responsibility for this crisis they caused. My son and I and our community paid the price.
Caught on Camera... retaliation by CRMH
I warned them that I would arrive with a video camera to capture their denial concerning their role in this entire crisis and their unwillingness to put their denial in writing. I did arrive with video camera in hand and openly video-taped the conversation I had with two of their department directors. For this I was given an indefinte no-trespassing order. More details of this "no-trespassing story can be found by clicking here or returning the home page and reading it there.
Current mental health care model dominates but does not take responsibility
In both cases the parents felt their input was completely overridden and of little consequence to the mental health team who, in our current dominant mental health model, are empowered to completely overide and/or ignore the main caregivers input.
Caseworker, doctors, social workers, fail to attempt
to make a collaborative decision
Mental Health Staff at all levels should be the glue in collaborative efforts
The counselor or therapist should be the glue in the collaborative effort for positive change and the leader in creating an optimal healing environment for patients and the support network of family and significant others
Independent Living seems to mean exclude the parent and family
Perhaps if we, the parents, had not been excluded from most of the dialogue, the moves still could have happened, but with more care, awareness of possible pitfalls, and more thoughtful preparation.
Parents warnings ignored
As it was, the moves happened, and independence from the family seemed to be the only real goal the counselor seemed to be able to see; warnings and urgent request for medication , were completely ignored by the mental health staff.
Alternative models Collaborate
In alternative mental health models, the patient has the ultimate responsibility for making treatment decisions. However, if the patient is willing and desires it, it is considered critical to include the support network of his/her choice, during major changes. Serious and unexpected reactions can occur during the new adjustment process to big changes , such as despair, rage or confusion, and the patient may be unaware of what is happening. Collaborating with the support network, and paying attention to their serious concerns and observations are critical and can prevent serious crisis.
The Tragedies, for the individual, the family and our communities
The mothers were not included or ask to sit in dialogue with the mental health staff, or were not seriusly considered in the final decisions.
Sadly, one day, after coming home during his first month of independence one young man snapped, and took the life of his next door neighbor. The other experienced sudden withdrawal intoxification and became agressive with his mother and lost his freedom.
This dominant model that allows the mental health community to dominate the lives of its clients, exclude the family, and then wash it hands of the results is an extreme danger to our community!