Man With Psychosis Recalls Nevada 'Patient Dumping'

A Nevada hospital put a man diagnosed with psychosis on a bus to California.

ByABC News
May 2, 2013, 4:28 PM

May 3, 2013 — -- James Brown, who has been diagnosed with psychosis, spent three days at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, in Las Vegas, in February 2013. Depressed and thinking of suicide, Brown ended up there after problems at his group home.

But just three days after he was admitted, the doctors felt James was stable enough to go.

Then, Brown says the doctor asked him what state he wanted to go to.

"I said, 'I don't want to leave Nevada,'" Brown told ABC News. "He said, 'California sounds like a really nice state. I think you'll be happy there.'"

Although Brown had never been to Sacramento, he says he was told he would get better mental health care there. Brown was driven to a Greyhound bus station with a $306 one-way bus ticket, six Ensure nutrition shake bottles and just a three-day supply of psychiatric medications.

Brown's discharge papers even listed his "address on discharge" as "Greyhound Bus Station to California." He says he was told to call 911 when he arrived in Sacramento – around the same time he would run out of pills to treat his mental illness.

"If I don't take my medicine, I get really confused and I start hearing voices in my head, and they tell me to, like, jump off a bridge or to do something to purposefully get arrested or go to prison or jail," he said.

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After a 16-hour overnight Greyhound bus trip, James arrived in Sacramento, but he didn't call 911. So instead, a confused Brown walked to a nearby police station- the police took him to a homeless shelter. By then, he was feeling the symptoms of medication withdrawal: a headache, profuse sweating and confusion.

He had no Social Security card, no food stamp card and no Medicaid card.

The Sacramento Bee first broke Brown's story last month, finding Nevada has purchased nearly 1,500 bus tickets since 2008, sending patients by bus to every state in the continental United States, mostly California.

With Brown's permission, ABC News obtained and reviewed his entire Rawson-Neal medical record. Documentation in the medical record shows his most clear wish regarding his discharge from Rawson-Neal was to go to a local group home.

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