CW: Suicide, Involuntary Medical Admittance
Hi everyone, Cass here.
Mabel got some difficult news Thursday night, November 8th, and on that following Friday morning she considered suicide. Long story short, she decided not to go through with it, but a cop saw her crying by the railing of a bridge, handcuffed her, and took her to lockdown at Pennsylvania Hospital Crisis Center, where she was kept for nine hours in an empty room without phone calls or other outside contact before being transferred to Friends Behavioral Hospital in Philadelphia, where she was involuntarily committed based on the officer's report. I discovered her missing around noon that day and tracked her to the crisis center using her cell phone, but I wasn't allowed to speak to her or see her, nor was I given clear information about what had happened, in spite of the fact that I'm her legal spouse.
Mabel entered Friends Hospital on the Friday night before Veteran's Day weekend, and her commitment hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, the day after Veteran's Day. I delivered her hormone therapy pills on Saturday, but they were not administered to her until Monday. To date, her treatment team has refused to meet with me. The doctor who makes all the decisions regarding Mabel's treatment is repeatedly unavailable to speak with me, and I've been turned away and treated disrespectfully by countless gatekeepers. Without my knowledge or input, and without ensuring Mabel was fully informed of her legal rights, this doctor Tuesday morning pressured Mabel into waiving the scheduled hearing with the judge, who might have discharged her (which is what she wants more than anything, to come home and be with me and other loved ones), and signing a "voluntary" commitment form that, in effect, is not voluntary at all. By law, as a voluntary inpatient, Mabel should be able to give 72 hours' notice that she wants to leave. Instead, she is being threatened with involuntary commitment if she does so.
Yesterday I entered the waiting area outside Mabel's ward and stated my intention to remain until someone from Mabel's treatment team agreed to speak with me. I was shocked when security was called to escort me out and I was threatened with having my already very minimal visiting rights revoked.
Friends Hospital is incompetent. Mabel and I both have received conflicting and confusing reports from her treatment team the entire time she's been there. Mabel wants and needs to be with friends and family right now, but she isn't being given that option, and we're in no position to stage a legal fight. She is being reassured she'll be released in time for her name change hearing, which is coming up next Friday 11/22. It seems we have no choice but to accept that this is the only thing we can know for sure at this point.
Despite the institution's incompetence, the staff who've interacted with Mabel day to day have been very kind. She's been keeping positive, reading a lot, working on herself, and making fast friends with the other patients, as many of you can imagine—those of you who know Mabel know what a bright, caring, charismatic, sociable person she is.
We feel helpless to fight the machine and get her home timely, even though she's been in a positive mindset ever since she decided to choose life that morning on the bridge, and she feels more than ready to move on with her life. Meanwhile, Mabel is unable to work. She's unable to continue her freelance games work, and she's unable to cam. She's facing losing out on up to two weeks' worth of income, which she badly needs, and, though she does luckily have Medicaid coverage now, we're unsure what her medical costs will be from the forced hospital stay.
Basically, what we're asking is for everyone to pitch in and help Mabel out with the much-needed income she's missing out on while she's being locked up against her will, cut off from her home, the outside world, and loved ones, and the work that she enjoys and relies on. She estimates she could have made up to $2,500 in the time she's potentially being prevented from working, which is money she badly needs right now because of recent persistent financial hardship and upcoming major expenses.
If you can afford to pitch in at all, we'll be forever grateful. If you don't have the cash, no worries—we relate. In that case please just pass the word along. Things were really starting to look up for Mabel in a lot of ways, including financially, so it's been really hard to see this one difficult moment result in up to two weeks' worth of interruption in her journey toward finding some stability for the first time since she lost her job in February. Any help and support, whether it's pitching in $$$ or passing the word along, is deeply, deeply appreciated. I know Mabel has amazing friends who know what a remarkable person she is, and I've been so moved by the outpouring of love I've seen for her so far. Whatever you can or can't do, thank you for being you and being Mabel's friends.
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- Chris Tang
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