A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit claiming she was held for six days in a New York hospital’s psychiatric ward after first complaining of flu-like symptoms.
NJ.com reports Kaitlin Taylor was a student at Syracuse University in 2013 when she went to the school’s medical center seeking a prescription because she believed she had the flu or a bad cold.
While there, Taylor reportedly spoke briefly with a school counselor and said she was considering changing her arts major and had wanted to take a leave of absence from the school but missed an important deadline to file paperwork.
Taylor said she was then informed that no one at the medical center could write her a prescription and was taken to nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital where she was dropped off in front of the emergency room.
As she waited at the ER, Taylor said she grew more stressed and felt as though she was getting sicker by the minute.
“I was getting stressed by the circumstances and the surroundings,” she told The New York Post in a written account of her experience. “I thought I’d only be there for an hour or two.”
Taylor said she was eventually led to an office where she spoke to a psychiatrist for about 15 minutes. She said she told the psychiatrist she had been having trouble sleeping and was struggling to keep up with coursework.
The psychiatrist’s notes indicate the student was admitted for “involuntary treatment” for “insomnia, pressured speech, disorganized, declining grades.”
Taylor said she spent the next six days in an observation room with other patients.
She said she was administered Risperdal, a drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as the powerful anti-anxiety drug, Klonopin.
“They made us line up in front of a window and they gave out the pills, just like in the movie ‘[One Flew Over the] Cuckoo’s Nest,’” she said.
She claimed hospital staff told her “the more I cooperated the sooner they’d let me out, that I should take their pills and go along with whatever they told me to do.”
Eventually she was permitted to call her mother who traveled to the hospital to get her, Taylor said.
Taylor’s attorney, Marc Held, filed the lawsuit recently in Manhattan Supreme Court. He called his client’s treatment “unfathomable.”
St. Joseph’s declined to comment on the suit, citing patient privacy.
A lawyer for the university, Matthew Larkin, said the school “denies that it acted inappropriately in any way.”
Taylor, who lives in Union County, New Jersey, has since transferred to Rutgers University.
Details of the lawsuit, including who, specifically, is named and the damages sought by Taylor have not been reported.
Photo Credit: The New York Post, WikiCommons