Archive for the ‘Who Am I?’ Category

How Do We Solve This Problem?

Posted: March 6, 2012 in Who Am I?

Today I got yet another e-mail.  Here is the bulk of it:

“It Is really amazing to me how this hospital keeps its doors open..my therapist had called them only days before I went in and they told her it was a unit for women and their issues….what I went through was life changing.  I just can’t write it all now….Will talk soon.”

So I suppose that story will arrive soon enough.  Here is the bottom line, and I’m asking ANYONE reading this blog for suggestions:  

What does it take to stop this insanity?  What else can I do?  What can the other victims of UBH Denton do?  

So far we know about the traditional venues for complaint, namely the Texas Department of Health, and, that joke “The Joint Commission” (which, by the way, does absolutely nothing that I can see, but that is just my opinion).  There is a new grass roots campaign forming now to start lobbying those organizations to do something about UBH Denton.  But, I welcome ALL suggestions.  

If there is a politician I should write, tell me who they are.  If there’s a government official I should contact, tell me who.  The probate judges?  I don’t know where to begin, but I welcome suggestions.  Do you know a reporter who does investigative work?  Please show them my site.

E-mail me at info@ubhdentonsucks.com

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My Story

Posted: February 15, 2012 in Who Am I?

In January of 2008 I went to a Denton, Texas, hospital emergency room.  I was having a bad reaction to Chantix/Champix.   The hospital emergency room ran tests on me, and had me evaluated by an intake counselor from UBH Denton.  The counselor determined that I needed to go to UBH, and assured my friend with me that I was going voluntarily and not being committed.  Then:

1.  Within 12 hours of being admitted, and after visiting with a doctor for maybe 15 minutes at the most, I was diagnosed as a bipolar alcoholic.  They immediately medicated me with klonopin and LITHIUM.

2.  On day 4, after realizing they were only going to keep drugging me and treating me like an alcoholic criminal, I asked to leave.  They held me against my will for commitment.

3.  On day 5, I learned that the chemical dependency coordinator had me mixed up with a convicted felon who was also a patient there.  He thought I was someone else!

4.  On day 6, Dr. Atique Khan wrote on my discharge papers that I had been admitted after an attempted overdose, which was absolutely not true.  This means he never did really know who I was or why I was there.

5.  I was sent home on lithium and klonopin. The lithium destroyed my thyroid function.  It has taken  years and thousands of dollars in tests and treatments to get healthy again, and even then, I’m not recovered.  I have just learned to live with 40 extra pounds.  (That period of time when my hair broke off and fell out is finally a bad memory, fortunately.)

To this day UBH Denton and Dr. Atique Khan refuse to apologize to me or even acknowledge what they did.  When I sued them for false imprisonment they basically threatened ME with a lawsuit and I couldn’t afford to take that risk and maybe lose my house.

Thanks for reading….  let’s start with the letter I sent the hospital. It’s a nice summary of what happened.

Happy November, everyone!  It’s time to count our blessings.  And for once, I’m going to post about something positive that came out of my UBH experience.  Something that I am thankful for.

Have you ever felt so hopeless that you wondered if things would ever get better?  Maybe your job is getting you down or your spouse isn’t paying you enough attention or money is tight?  Well, we all get down about those things.  But I have a quick pick-me-up strategy I use to always–ALWAYS–effectively pull me out of my funk.  Want to know what it is?

….I remind myself that I could still be a patient at UBH Denton!  Yes, I know that sounds like a smart aleck thing to say, but it is what I do.  I’ve never been in a more miserable place or had such a rotten medical experience–anywhere.  The surroundings were just plain awful.  Broken furniture, a crappy tv, no activities except a few board games.  The beds were painful and uncomfortable.  The closets were stupid (Yes, that’s a petty thing, I know… but seriously, what good is a closet if you can’t have hangers and there are no shelves?)

Most of the food was abysmal, and even the stuff that was reasonably fresh was suspect after I saw the mouse running around on the food warmer counter.   The only redeeming quality about the place were a few really nice patients, and the non-physician staff members.  The mental health techs were really super sweet people and so were the registered nurses.  How they kept an upbeat disposition there was beyond me.  And, I see by their website http://www.ubhdenton.com/Careers.aspx that they still have oodles of job openings so I’m guessing turnover is still high?  Wow, what a surprise.

The most miserable time in my life, ever, were the years 2007-2008.  I am thankful every day that I am above the dirt line that I survived them and came out stronger.  I hope everyone who makes the mistake of going to UBH can come out okay, too.

 

Well, perhaps “save” is too strong of a word. But read this comment posted a few days ago from a woman who almost went to work at UBH Denton:

“I am so disappointed right now. I am searching for a job in the mental health field in the metroplex and was thrilled to discover UBH’s website and the many job opportunities. The website makes it look like a perfect place with such special programs. Then I couldn’t help but be suspicious when looking more closely at the job listings. Why are there so many jobs in every aspect of the hospital? I feared the worst and a google search has confirmed my fears. My heart breaks reading the stories of you and the others posting here. Mental health and families are my passion and I mourn the traumatic experiences of people that are supposed to be cared for in places like UBH.”

You can see the original post here.

It never occurred to me when I started this blog that I might be saving someone from a career mistake.  I guess I always try to see the positive in everything, in spite of what happened to me at this place.  I recall two years ago a lot of things were going wrong with a closing on my house.  I arrived in my new town to find that the stupid mortgage broker didn’t get a mortgage for me.  With three U-Hauls loaded slap full, I discovered I had no place to live.  My poor mother doesn’t deal well with stuff like that, and she was kind of freaked out, but didn’t say anything at the time.  Later, after I was moved in and the house had closed and it was all mine, she confessed to me her anxiety over my situation:

“I just knew you shouldn’t have bought that house… you should have rented something first and then bought something later…”

I told her (from my new home, which was and still is FAB-U-LOUS!) and this was absolutely true:

“I never worried for a minute, and I didn’t let it bother me.  Mom, after you’ve been locked up in a mental hospital and threatened with a commitment hearing, and not really knowing if you’d ever get out, or when you’d get out?  You just don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.  I always know, no matter how bad things are in my life at the moment, they could be worse–I could still be in UBH.”  

She laughed and said, “I never looked at it that way.”

So, I guess I should thank Dr. Khan and Drunk Randy for my new outlook on life?  Maybe that was part of their so-called “treatment plan” all along?  “Hey, let’s just make our patients so damned miserable they vow to never come back here again!”

Nah… they’re not that smart.

This article appeared in the Denton paper this week.

I could not let it go without a response.  I posted this blog’s address in the article’s comments section and got quite a few click-thrus, plus some of the highest traffic ever for this site.   Thanks to all who read and shared with others.

This morning I wrote the reporter who wrote the story and told her the following.  I thought you might like to see what I said:

Dear Ms. Mehlhaff,

I read your article on the merger of UBH and Mayhill hospitals with great interest. I have posted a comment to the article that shares a link to my blog, http://www.ubhdentonsucks.com If you have not already seen it, I hope you will review it.

I have talked to or had e-mail correspondence with probably 20 people in less than a year who all report one or more of the following things that I also experienced while a VOLUNTARY patient at UBH:

1. Overmedication
2. Lack of proper basic medical care.
3. “Cookie cutter treatment”: ie., diagnose everyone as bipolar and/or a substance abuser.
4. Poor security
5. Unclean quarters and food service areas
6. No outdoor recreation.
7. A tendency towards holding patients for commitment even if they signed themselves in voluntarily
8. Attending physicians spending little time with patients, and/or not reading their charts, and/or not paying attention to the patient’s requests and wishes.
9. Retention vs. discharge decisions based primarily on insurance coverage rather than the welfare of the patient.

I understand why you wrote the story that you did, but I really do believe there is a story to be told about what happens at UBH Denton that no reporter has been willing to touch. My Denton friends in psychology and psychiatry tell me that UBH is well-known in town for all the things I mentioned above, so they only use Mayhill when inpatient treatment is required. I have lawyer friends in town who have told me that “everyone in the legal system knows how bad it is at UBH….” Yet for whatever reason they are allowed to continue. UBH seems to be the dirty little secret that no one in Denton will acknowledge or discuss. My mission—my purpose in maintaining my blog and reaching out to people like yourself—is to make sure that the problem is finally acknowledged and dealt with.

The day I asked someone to drive me to the emergency room and then readily signed myself in to the hospital is probably the #1 day in my entire life that I wish I could have a complete “do-over” for. Neither I nor my close friends and family had any clue how I would be treated at the hospital, or how things would work while I stayed there.

I heard this week from a former student of mine (I was a professor at UNT for 17 years) that he fully intends to sue UBH because of something they did to a family member. When he asked to speak to the CEO, Susan Young, he had to wait 3 weeks to get the answer from them that she was “just too busy” to talk to him. This is pretty much the same reaction I got when I sent them my letter describing the horrid conditions I found during my stay.

All I am asking of you is to review all the posts and comments on my blog, and ask yourself how there can be so many people who come out of there feeling and saying the same things. I realize it’s easy to dismiss the comments of any one person who has been in a psychiatric hospital because they/we are, in most people’s eyes, at least a little bit “crazy.” But as many of us as there are who have shared our stories, I would think that someone who start to smell something really rotten at UBH.

My phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx  if you want to visit further about this, or, you can write me back here.

Who am I….and what do I want?

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Who Am I?

I have a regular job, I own a home, I’m a good parent and a good friend to lots of people.  If you met me on the street I wouldn’t stand out as someone  who is particularly seeking attention or notoriety.  I’m an average gal, average size, average height, average looking, average age.

I led a pretty normal existence until I took Chantix.  It changed me in ways that made no sense to me or my family.   I wish we’d been properly warned about the possible side effects a lot sooner, but, we weren’t.  It is what it is.

But the FDA had a black box warning on the medication at least a month before I went to UBH Denton.  And that doctor (I use the term very loosely) had the nerve to tell me it couldn’t possibly be Chantix.   Everytime I think about his smug face talking to me like I was an idiot….  “YOu’re not participating in your treatment…”  “There are no studies to prove that Chantix causes this….”  “Yes, I’m sure you’re bipolar….”

I’m NOT bipolar, you arrogant little virus.  But your lawyer told me you “stand by your diagnosis” (even though you thought I was there for a failed suicide attempt… and that’s NOT why I was there!)

So …. good for you!  Nothing like making a problem worse by denying its existence, is there?  Dr. Khan, are YOU participating in the treatment that YOU need?  It would be good for your soul and your career if you apologized to me and to every other patient you’ve done this to, because I surely am not the first.  I just happened to be the first one who didn’t want to accept your diagnosis.  I walked out of that place so confused, and so absolutely baffled about my condition, that it was an utter relief to find out that you had me confused with another patient!  At least then there was a reason for the nonsense you put me through.

Now, when I went to see your  hospital‘s lawyer, it was under the assumption that we could arrange an apology.  And when he asked me what I wanted, I told him “An apology.”  He said, “That isn’t going to happen.”  So my next request was a settlement.  Hell, pay me something to feel a little better about what I went through.  Not only did he not return my calls, he kept just putting me off and would never say “Look lady, there’s not going to be anything done about this.”  He’d tell me I could expect to hear something in a couple of weeks, and then I didn’t.

So, you got sued.  I thought for sure you’d at least try to negotiate and discuss a reasonable outcome.  Nope.  Your lawyer just promised NOT to sue me for your legal fees.  And you guys knew you had more money than me, and you knew I’d have to back down.  SO, you won all rounds up until the point I built this blog.

But I’m okay with that.  I hope you are, too.  I mean, after all, you HAVE saved your pride.  You did get to preserve that “Never Admit You’re Anything but God Because you’re a Doctor” attitude.  Now that you’ve basked in your moment of glory… let me tell you what mine is.

Do you realize how many times a day someone searches online for UBH Denton, or Dr. Atique Khan, or Dr. Richard Kresch?  I just happen to know….an average of about 20 people do that every day and click through to my blog to read more about you.  I’ve had over 2,200 hits since I went live in September.  At least two of those people have contacted me to tell me they were mistreated by your hospital just as badly as I was.

Do you think this is doing any good for your hospital’s reputation?   When one Googles UBH Denton my site is the SECOND ONE in the Google Search results!   Does Dr. Kresch know about my blog?  Should I tell him?  Maybe I will.  Oh wait… he makes sure his e-mail address isn’t accessible on the www.ascendhealth.net site.  GO figure (I find it so hard to believe that he wouldn’t want to be available for people like me to share my experiences with him).

Sooner or later, someone is going to sue you in a way that sticks.  I really look forward to that day. Meanwhile, I’m going to feel good about what I’m doing, which is exposing your hospital for what it really is, and making sure that other people who get duped into signing themselves in to UBH Denton know they are not alone.

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!  I’m approaching my 3 year anniversary of this incident and although it’s one I’d rather not have experienced, I am quite pleased that I’ve managed to get the word out about this questionable hospital and its administration.  I was surprised to see that in just a few short months I’ve had about 2,000 visits to the site!  Wanted to share that good news with you (see below).

It was very hard to put this out there.  But having heard from people who went there and were treated as badly as I was, and realizing that they felt better knowing they weren’t alone in their experiences, made me feel like the effort and the pain of reliving it all a few more times might have been worthwhile.  I could not sit back and pretend that my experience was unique when I knew that it wasn’t.

SO, hope you find these stats interesting (especially YOU, Dr. Khan)….

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 16 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 4 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 114kb.

The busiest day of the year was October 29th with 116 views. The most popular post that day was It’s hard to believe, I know…..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were chantixsucks.com, facebook.com, ubhdenton.blogspot.com, fairwarning.org, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ubh denton, richard kresch, md, ubh in denton, ubh of denton, and ubh dr khan.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

It’s hard to believe, I know…. September 2010

2

Post traumatic stress? Yep! September 2010
2 comments

3

The Letter I Sent Them September 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

4

Dr. Richard Kresch: The Mastermind of this Quack Shack September 2010
2 comments

5

Why Did I Agree to Go in the First Place? September 2010
6 comments