Lynched #metoo moment

(NOTE: I keep revisiting this case because I think it’s important to alert authorities of improper conduct toward other human beings – whether it be sexual or psychological – and it still has not been addressed by those whose responsibility it is to investigate such matters. Thus, it is still unresolved.)
I’m having a #metoo moment, but not about sexual assault, but about psychological assault by a system that continues to stigmatize those who have a psychiatric diagnosis, including the top tier of that system – medical professionals who should know better. Like the #metoo movement, this is about the gross abuse of Power, the lengths someone will go to when challenged, the immense stigma toward already vulnerable populations, and suffering the consequences of that wrath. I believe we live in a system where this type of behavior is enabled, and that’s a frightening thought – when the system fails to address and treat an infection within the system.
In 2014, the Department of Justice/Americans With Disabilities (DOJ/ADA) division was interested in a complaint I had filed against Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, regarding an experience I had there with an Emotional Therapy Dog, a delightful ShiTzu, while visiting a hospitalized patient. That experience interested the DOJ. They kept that file open for a year and an agent was in regular contact with me. Little did I know at that time, that I would become the subject of a complaint I never would have imagined, 2 years down the road. These are the only 2 complaints I have ever filed.
The traumatic experience at the GREATER BALTIMORE MEDICAL CENTER ER, took place in the Summer of 2015. The text of that complaint was documented and submitted through the website of the Americans With Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form, and is provided below, including the automatic response and the reference number assigned this specific complaint, as well as acknowledgment of receipt of complaint. As of this date, January 30, 2018, I still have not received a response to this complaint.
The harrowing moment, described below, does not contain the details it should. Imagine a menacing nurse who is taunting you and trying to isolate you, and who is working at the behest of a doctor, whose ego has been bruised. When we reach the door, which they want me to enter, it doesn’t look like the door to an examination room. I’m still under the impression that my allergic reaction to a food I ate earlier is the reason for my return, but that impression rapidly fades when I see a man in the room who appears to be from Security. As soon as I enter the room, they lock the door. My friend has not been allowed to enter the room. However, there is a glass wall, and he can observe what is happening. They are trying to put me in the adjacent room, where they will presumably evaluate me, but that room has no windows, and I refuse to enter that room. Their arguments are not convincing. That is the moment when your Reasoning skills come to the forefront. Remember, these are very scary people. When they have no other choice other than to release me, they escort me, with my friend at my side, to the exit, as though I posed some sort of the risk – which if I had, they would have been able to restrain me, but they couldn’t – and when we reach the exit, the nurse makes a snide remark to my friend about my release.
“I was under the impression that I had filed the following complaint with the DOJ on July 23, 2015. However, I cannot find receipt of acknowledgment from your office. This is what I wrote on July 23, 2015, addressed to the ACLU, now edited to provide further details. This past week, I experienced a nightmare when I went in GBMC ER for an allergic reaction. I had been to the ER on Saturday night, suffering from heat exhaustion. The previous night, Friday night, Paramedics pulled me from my car and took me the Hopkins ER. On Saturday night, the symptoms of heat exhaustion were still present and my psychologist recommended I go to an ER other than Hopkins and I did. There, once the Attending Physician discovered I had a psychiatric diagnosis, left the room. A Fellow doing his Residence in Psychiatry, then came (I never saw the MD again) to discuss my psychiatric diagnosis, which is fine. That seemed to go well – at least that was my impression. The next night, however, was when the nightmare emerged and the sadistic behavior of the staff there was clearly visible. I had a systemic allergic reaction after I had eaten something and my hand became swollen. The same physician who had attended me the previous night also saw me that Sunday night. But before I saw him, a nurse attended me, and gave me 50 or 75 mgs of Benadryl to reduce the swelling on my hand. After that, a Physician’s Assistant saw me, and the first thing she said to me: “I can see that your Bipolar symptoms are exacerbated.” I looked at her and said: “What are you talking about? I’m here because of a severe allergic reaction.” My body was producing hives as we spoke. “Where did you get that information, about the exacerbation of my Bipolar symptoms? “It’s in your chart,” she said. “Really? And who put it in my chart?” The psychiatric resident,” she said. When the doctor arrived, I immediately addressed staff treatment of those with psychiatric diagnoses. He became hostile. And refused to examine my hand, and from a distance, called it a “superficial bruise.” Then, I said, there is no reason for me to be here. And I left, walked out. He didn’t stop me. A friend who was with me that night (an Epidemiologist) returned to the ER and discussed the reason why I was there. The Attending Physician then said, I could come back and be examined by another physician. However that is not what happened. I was tricked and escorted without my knowledge and locked in a ward with 2 security guards present and additional nursing staff. “What is going on?’ I said. They said they wanted to evaluate me. That is NOT why I returned to the ER. Furthermore, they had no right whatsoever to do this, as it was not the psychiatric diagnosis that was problem, but the allergic reaction that brought me to the ER. They had incarcerated me against my will, but in a most sinister fashion, through trickery and malice, because I had earlier challenged their treatment of psychiatric patients. If my friend had not been there, they had the power to hold me, a clear violation of my civil rights, and a dangerous breach of ethics. I demanded I be released, and they were forced to comply.
This type of behavior needs to stop.”
Americans with Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form
Thank you for your complaint. Please retain and refer to the following reference number for any correspondence concerning this complaint:

Federal Complaint (ADA) Against Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) Towson, Maryland

As you can see, I have been busy, having all sorts of fascinating experiences!  

The complaint below was filed with the ACLU and the Department of Justice this morning about behavior that is ethically and morally reprehensible, yet common practice. And it has to stop. Now. 

(P.S.  You can thank WordPress for its most recent update which took what was working perfectly fine (formatting) and made it impossible to determine where one paragraph ends and the next one begins. Sorry for the broad gaps between paragraphs!)



As an Advocate for and Consumer of Mental Health Care in the State of Maryland, I have long been aware of the incredible stigma and abuse we experience at all levels of society. However, this past week, I experienced a nightmare when I went in GBMC ER for an allergic reaction. 

I had been to the ER on Saturday night, suffering from heat exhaustion. The previous night, Friday night, Paramedics had to pull from my car and they mistakenly thought I had enough strength to stand but I collapsed instead. That night Paramedics took me the Hopkins ER. 

On Saturday night, the symptoms of heat exhaustion were still present and my psychologist recommended I go to an ER other than Hopkins and I did. 

There the Attending Physician had no idea how to address the circumstances that brought to the ER (another investigation altogether, but part of the same diseased system that metes out mental health services) so he called in the Fellow to discuss my psychiatric diagnosis. That seemed to go well – at least that was my impression. 

The next night, however, was when the nightmare emerged and the sadistic behavior of the staff there was clearly visible. I had a systemic allergic reaction and the top of my left hand was swollen. 

I’m not gonna go into the details now, however, I will say that I was tricked and escorted without my knowledge and locked in a ward with 2 security guards present and additional nursing staff and told they wanted to evaluate me. I clearly said that was not why I returned to the ER and told them they had no right whatsoever to do this, as it was not the psychiatric diagnosis that was problem, but the allergic reaction that brought me to the ER. THEY HAD INCARCERATED ME AGAINST WILL because I had earlier challenged their treatment of those who had such diagnoses with the Attending Physician who brushed me off and told me I had nothing more than a bruise and refused to give me a thorough examination and I said then there was no reason to stay and left without discharge papers. 

A friend who was with me that night returned to the ER and discussed the reason why I was there. The Attending Physician then said, I could come back and be examined by another physician. However that is not what happened. 

I will forward correspondence that I wrote about that incident, first to Thomas Insel, Brian Hepburn (now retired) among others. 

I have already written 2 letters and I also plan to file a complaint at the Federal level, Department of Justice, Division of Civil Rights.

This behavior and treatment must be stopped. First, a medical diagnoses of Bipolar, etc., is extremely complicated and difficult to treat. Second, we must be treated with respect and dignity, which we are not. It is the diseased social system that is problematic and dangerous. And it’s time to stop them in their tracks. 

If you have any further questions, you can contact me …

Thank you. 

Betty B Hood

Sent from my iPhone




But last night while sitting at starbucks drinking coffee and eating a slice of Spice cake, I absent-mindedly was scratching the top of my left hand. And when I glanced at it, it was swollen. Really didn’t look good. And Ken, an Epidemiologist, said, let’s go to the ER. NOW. And we did. What followed was heinous in terms of outright hatred of people with psychiatric diagnoses. 

Because I found the Nurse Practitioner lacking, I requested to see a doctor. The first thing the NP had said to me: I see your Bipolar symptoms are exacerbated. And I looked at her and said: What? Where did tryouts come up with that? And she said: It’s in your chart. Really? I said. Because I don’t recall any mention of that yesterday. So anyway, the gruff physician was inconvenienced because I had requested to see an actual MD. Imagine that. Going to the ER. And requesting that. 

I immediately addressed the lack of communication between staff and between staff and patients. And I told him I found it highly offensive that I had come there for a systemic reaction, and the first thing she addressed was an exacerbation of my Bipolar symptoms. Ken had been there when she said, and in no uncertain terms had told her what I had said: That had not been what had happened. 

The doctor said to me I am not going to waste my time discussing this (Ken was not in the room at the time when I saw the doctor) and I told the physician, nor did I want to waste my time as my time was valuable. He became increasingly hostile, and glanced at my hand, which was still swollen after they had given me 50 mgs of Benadryl, but now was also Black and Blue. 

He said to me: Do you know where you are?

Yes! I said. In the ER! I have had some sort of reaction. 

He glanced at my hand and said that’s a superficial bruise. 

No it’s not, I said. That’s why I’m here! My friend is an Epidemiologist, and he considered it serious enough that we check it out. 

Well I can’t do anything for you, he said. 

Well, I guess it’s not to leave then. 

Go ahead, he said. 

So I did. 

Ken had been trying to figure out where to put the key to start the Smart, so he could move it, because we had just parked it by the ER entrance. And I told him what had happened. He asked if I wanted him to go talk to the doctor and I wavered and finally said, ok. 

He comes out 10 minutes later and the doctor, he said, was willing to give me another go at it, see another doctor, and Ken asked me if I wanted to do that, and again, I wavered, and finally said ok. 

So we go back in and the nurse comes and gets me, and they take me to opposite wing, and she tells Ken to sit on a stool in, and she takes me through a glass door and I knew immediately something was not right, because I see a Security guard there, standing by a door to a room that was completely isolated, and another guard to my left. And I said to them, Wait a minute. What’s going on here? I came back to see a physician because of an allergic reaction and I see an isolation room here. And the fake nurse said to me: you will. We just want you to be evaluated first. And I said absolutely not. I turned and saw Ken on the other side of the door and knocked on the window and she told me not to do that. I tried to open the door and she said, you can’t do that. It’s locked. I demanded they unlock the door and they insisted that I be evaluated first. And again, I said, Absolutely not. The only reason I came back here was to get my hand examined because of an allergic reaction. And I want to leave now. 

They unlocked the door and we were escorted to the exit, and she began rattling the usual crap about safety, and asked him if he thought I was safe. And he said, Yesterday, the issue didn’t come up. But today it’s an issue? Of course she’s safe. 

If he had not been there, I know my civil liberties would have been violated and they would probably have restrained against my will. Admitted me, etc. 

Ken was appalled that the MD had lied to him. And he’s a very quiet guy, soft spoken. 

There are tiny details that illustrate the incongruous path of the visit and its development. But essentially they were trying to punish because I had challenged them.  

Morally outrageous behavior. Ken said, This is a Nazi operation. And he’s right. 



And this is what I sent to the “Spiritual Support.”  I was wandering around the GBMC site and decided this was the best audience for the Complaint. Thus they can deal with the Spiritual Consequences of their Behavior!

Subject: Re: Spiritual Experience of ER Drpartment


This letter is for you. 

Well, well, well. How interesting that you are joined by Sheppard Pratt in your care of people. Had no idea. However, read the following, multiply that exponentially, and you may reach some insight into the experience I had this past weekend, both on Saturday, and especially on Sunday, when I had a systemic allergic reaction that brought me to the ER – and you may get a glimpse of the sadistic treatment those who have psychiatric diagnoses regularly experience by grossly uninformed staff from top to bottom. 

Luckily, I was accompanied by a friend, Kenneth R Berger, who just happens to be an Epidemiologist and who witnessed my civil rights violated in the crudest and most unethical manner, principally because I have a psychiatric diagnosis, which was twisted in such a manner that I was placed in a locked room for evaluation, following a challenge I made to staff there about their treatment of those who have a psychiatric diagnosis – especially, the physician whom I challenged and who through deception and lies invited me (after my friend had intervened) to be seen by another physician regarding an allergic reaction. That’s when they locked me up. 

I will definitely contact the Department of Justice regarding civil rights violations that took place there this past weekend. 

The people employed by your institution do not belong in positions where they can use their authority to denigrate and dehumanize others and with a vengeance and who consider it perfectly acceptable, though highly unethical, to discriminate against those who have a serious medical condition and to use that condition as a basis for revenge when their authority is challenged. 

But since you are partnered with Sheppard Pratt, you should have no problem gleaning the infestation of the medical community with bias and cruelty toward those who do not deserve to be treated in such a manner and who should like any other patient be treated with Dignity. 

This system needs to be purged. Immediately. It is a dangerous path to follow – for everybody.

Betty Barkas Hood

Sent from my iPhone

BB Hood 

On Jul 22, 2015, at 2:48 PM, 

Sometimes It’s Just A Leonardo DiCaprio Kind Of Day: The Aviator

Accidents!  Hahaha. Have no idea how it happened, but this piece posted – just the title!  So here I am. Back and ready for take-off.  

Forget Silver Linings Playbook.  I know people raved about that film, but it didn’t do much for me. The depiction of two people, both with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder, their romance, the happy ending, left a superficial taste in my mouth. It was a fairy tale. I suppose it helped bring Mental Illness into the spotlight, but through rose-colored lenses. The happy ending was especially annoying because we know when we have such diseases seldom are the endings happy. Rather, we are caught up in a storm that ruins relationships with spouses, lovers and children and friends and co-workers (If we have any). The scars are permanent on all of those involved.  And the biggest challenge is the daily search for equilibrium and minimizing the wounds of the psyche. 

So Silver Linings Playbook, for me, at least, was comparable to daytime soap operas – the sanitized version of “life,” which is nothing more than an escape route into sentimentality, presenting perfectly painted faces – no scars, no stained teeth, because who wants to go to a movie and see that, anyway?

Actually, I do. 

Films such as Trainspotting, for example, which I can only revisit once every 3 years because of the intensity of the subject depicted there – despite its cinematic brilliance and writing, its balance between the tragic and scatalogical humor, the incredible acting – especially appeal to me.

But then we come across a film like The Aviator, which although now more than 10 years old, more closely approximates the struggle, confusion, and eccentricities of an actual person who clearly is not normal, but this, in no way compromises, the gifts of such a person. And which, if it had occurred in the present climate of psychiatry, the essential spirit of that person would be suppressed until that spark could no longer be expressed because they would be heavily medicated and perhaps even institutionalized indefinitely. 

The are the Visionaries – right?  Those whose contributions often lead to dramatic and revolutionary breakthroughs, despite their Mental Illness, in any field imaginable, or more precisely …  That not yet imagined by anyone else …  

They are the fighters, the determined ones who keep going despite adversity, to reach for and make tangible what is intangible. The ones who never abandon or betray their visions. 

The Aviator is all about that. And Leonardo, one of the finest actors around, never fails to deliver an exceptional performance. 

So if you are interested in a more honest portrayal of Mental Illness, I’d put my money on this film, and not Silver Linings Playbook, any day.