A schizophrenic man bused with a one-way ticket, no cash and a few-days-supply of meds from Las Vegas to Sacramento earlier this year has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state agencies he says abandoned him and at least 1,500 other mentally ill patients.
Those patients were bused to nearly every state in the nation, many to major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose. Sacramento Bee reporters originally broke the news, shedding light on the problem of “patient dumping” through a series of stories this spring.
Forty-eight-year-old James Flavoy Brown, who in February turned up in Sacramento disoriented and alone with a Greyhound bus ticket, filed the lawsuit backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Nevada. You can read the 21-page case here.
The six state agencies named as defendants include the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the Division of Mental Health and Development Services and the Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance, as well as eight hospital and agency administrators.
The case makes nine claims of civil rights violations and asks for an immediate court injunction to stop Nevada’s Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital from sending patients away without good cause or family to meet them at their destination.
“As defendants, and each of them, knew, Brown was discharged without money, identification or Medicaid card, and that he knew no one in California, let alone Sacramento,” the lawsuit reads. “They also knew that he did not wish to go to Sacramento and that he was delusional and suicidal. “
Brown’s doctor, Anurag Gupta, who’s named among the defendants, allegedly wrote instructions to “call 9-1-1 when he got off the bus,” with no other instructions about where to go or find treatment.
The lawsuit claims cruel and unusual punishment, unconstitutional seizure, criminal negligence, malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things. Brown seeks unspecified damages.