A woman who says she’s the mother of a patient dumped on the street outside a Baltimore hospital in frigid weather this week says she was laughed at and stonewalled by hospital staff while trying to find out about the status of her daughter.
The mother, who spoke to CBS News and identified herself only as Cheryl, said her daughter, Rebecca, is “not deaf, not a prostitute, not a drug addict,” but suffers from bipolar disorder and Asperger’s syndrome. The woman was filmed moaning and pacing around outside the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus on Tuesday after being discharged by workers, in a video that has gone viral.
"The hospital wasn't being helpful," Cheryl told CBS News. "I called the security department [and] they laughed at me. When I told them, 'That's my daughter in the video and I just need to find out if she's in the hospital,' they laughed at me. Every person that I talked to at the hospital either hung up on me or told me to email the hospital, and that everyone was going to tell me the same thing."
Cheryl said as of Thursday night, she has not heard anything from the hospital.
"This was a hospital that has a psychiatric unit. They should know how to deal with mental health patients without dumping them out on the street in the cold, naked," she told CBS News. "They're supposed to be able to deal with mental health issues, and if they don't know how to deal with mental health issues, then they should close their doors."
Cheryl added her daughter, who is 22, had been living at a residential youth program called Pathways since she was 18 up until Christmas Eve, when she was released for not taking her medications.
CBS News reported she has been trying to get legal guardianship of the daughter to gain control of her meds, housing situation and Social Security, but doctors will not speak to her because of patient privacy laws.
"This is a byproduct of what the mental health system is," she said. "I cannot get any help for my daughter."
Cheryl reportedly tried to file a missing persons report with police last month after Rebecca stopped talking with family members, and police told her during the process she was admitted to a Baltimore hospital.
"I didn't even know that it was my daughter initially," she said. "As he got close enough, I saw it was her and I got hysterical because in that moment, it was sheer fear that my daughter was going to die. I still haven't watched all of the video."
The hospital has said in a statement it is conducting an internal review of the case.
“While there are many circumstances of this patient’s case that we cannot address publicly, in the end we clearly failed to fulfill our mission with this patient, no matter the circumstances of her case or the quality of the clinical care we provided in the hospital (which is not depicted in the video),” it said on Facebook earlier this week. “We are taking this matter very seriously, conducting a thorough review, and are evaluating the appropriate response, including the possibility of personnel action.”