Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I was reading a story in the New York Times about the strains Hurricane Sandy has put on the mental health care system in New York.  A system that was already shaky has lost a lot of capacity.  Group homes, out-patient clinics, hospital wards, even emergency rooms have been put out of commission.

I burst into tears when I read this part:
In the confusion, some patients lost contact with their families and caseworkers. At Community Access, the same case managers who struggled to get hospital treatment for the young woman with the meat cleaver had to hunt for an elderly female tenant who had been taken to Bellevue by the police before the storm. The police had picked up the older woman for public urination near a schoolyard. 
But two weeks after the storm, which knocked out Internet access and telephone service at the apartment building, neither the staff nor her sister could find her.
Dorca Rosa, the elderly woman’s case manager, eventually found her at Gracie Square Hospital on the Upper East Side, behind several locked doors. 
“I cried when I saw her,” Ms. Rosa said. “I found her in horrible conditions. She was lying in her own feces, she had a fractured leg and the provider could not explain how her leg was fractured.” 
It's not hard for me to imagine something like that happening to Middle Son.

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