Schizophrenic Man James Brown Sent by Nevada Hospital to California, Told to 'Call 911' When He Arrives

A schizophrenic man was relieved to be admitted to a Nevada mental health hospital where he would receive treatment, but that relief quickly turned into fear when the hospital put him on a bus to California for no apparent reason.

James Brown, 48, was being treated at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas after he suffered from depression and contemplated suicide. He was discharged within three days and sent to Sacramento.

His case is the most recent in a series of alleged "patient dumping" where mental health patients are sent from Nevada to another state. Since 2008, Nevada has purchased 1,500 bus tickets to send mentally ill patients to states where they know no one.

Brown had no interest in moving to California and was frightened to enter a state where he did not know anyone.

"Why California?" he said in an interview with ABC News. "What's waiting for me there? I'm already scared enough."

It only took a few days for doctors at the hospital to ask Brown where he wanted to move in February 2012.

"I said, 'I don't want to leave Nevada,'" Brown recalled. "[The doctor] said, 'California sounds like a really nice state. I think you'll be happy there.'"

They insisted he would receive better mental health care in Sacramento, but did not give him any information about the city or where to go once he arrived. They simply told him to call 911 once the bus dropped him off.

They bought him a $306 one-way ticket on a Greyhound bus, gave him six Ensure nutrition drinks, and three-days worth of medication.

Papers from the hospital noted his discharge address as "Greyhound Bus Station to California."

He took the 16 hour trip, but was confused when he arrived. He went to the police station where officers took him to a homeless shelter. Then, he started feeling withdrawal symptoms as he had no more medication left.

He told staff his story and eventually they put him on another bus to a mental health clinic. When he failed to arrive, a Sacramento Bee reporter learned of his story and reached out to him. They helped him make contact with his grown daughter who quickly had him move into her home.

"I don't want revenge, and I don't know about justice, but I want them to pay for what they've done to me and the others," he said. "I want people to really take a moment to think about this."

In March, The Bee found that the state purchased nearly 1,500 bus tickets for patients in almost every state in America.

The Director of Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services, Mike Willden, says most of the patients are sent to family members or friends.

He says of the 1,500 bus tickets, only 10 led to inappropriate destinations where the patient knew no one.

There were nine people at Rawson-Neal involved in sending Brown to California. Of the nine of them, four no longer work there, two have been fired and three are facing disciplinary action.

Sources: Sacramento Bee,ABC


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