The family of an incapacitated woman put out of a Baltimore hospital on a cold night earlier this month identified her Thursday as a mentally ill 22-year-old who is receiving treatment at another hospital.
On Jan 9, Rebecca Chandler was filmed being removed from the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus. In a widely viewed video, she was seen wearing only a hospital gown and socks on a night when temperatures were in the 30s, and was grunting and shouting, appearing at one point to say: “Please help me!”
On Thursday, Cheryl Chandler, Rebecca’s mother, said her daughter has suffered from mental illness since she was 16, the Associated Press reported.
“My daughter did not choose to be the face of mental illness,” Cheryl Chandler said. “She didn’t choose to be an example of the impact of a failed mental health care system. She was an individual in need of services.”
J. Wyndal Gordon, Rebecca Chandler’s attorney, said she was receiving treatment at another hospital he declined to name.
“Rebecca’s condition was going to require a considerable hospital stay to stabilize her,” he told the AP. “UMMC, believing that she did not have insurance, determined it was better to return her to the street untreated and face whatever consequences arose from that decision rather than to absorb the cost.”
Cheryl Chandler said her daughter does have health insurance, the AP reported.
Rebecca Chandler’s mother was joined at a news conference by Rosslyn Hall Taylor, Rebecca’s twin sister, and her younger sister, Rachelle Hall, according to the Baltimore Sun. Rachelle read a statement she said was from Rebecca.
“I am in the hospital and well and furthermore I am safe,” she read.
The University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus said in a statement Thursday that it has completed an investigation that “identified a breakdown in coordination of several touchpoints within the continuum of care.” As a result, the hospital conducted training, took “personnel action to hold individuals accountable” and hired independent auditors, the statement said.
The hospital declined to discuss its internal review further, saying it was “restricted by law from addressing the confidential details of patient care and personnel actions.”
“We take full responsibility for the failure that occurred in demonstrating compassion to this young woman in the post-discharge process after delivering medical care,” Mohan Suntha, chief executive of the University of Maryland Medical Center, said in the statement. “I’m confident the decisions and actions we have made in response to this incident are in keeping with the high standards of excellence to which we have always held ourselves, and that our actions address the root causes of last week’s breakdown.”