Mental Health Conditions

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, 

Things That Never Made It Into Print

By Things That Never Made It Into Print

Keep it simple ... Radical ... Writer, Artist, Dancer, Musician, Chicago Betty

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