Over the past five years, Nevada's primary state psychiatric hospital has put hundreds of mentally ill patients on Greyhound buses and sent them to cities and towns across America.Nevada's mental health agency claims that they are simply returning mentally ill tourists back home -- but some of the examples that the Bee's investigation found were clearly not in this category. One example involved a man that they shipped to Sacramento, who had never been to California:
Since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas has transported more than 1,500 patients to other cities via Greyhound bus, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States, according to a Bee review of bus receipts kept by Nevada's mental health division.
Nevada's approach to dispatching mentally ill patients has come under scrutiny since one of its clients turned up suicidal and confused at a Sacramento homeless services complex. James Flavy Coy Brown, who is 48 and suffers from a variety of mood disorders including schizophrenia, was discharged in February from Rawson-Neal to a Greyhound bus for Sacramento, a place he had never visited and where he knew no one.
The hospital sent him on the 15-hour bus ride without making arrangements for his treatment or housing in California; he arrived in Sacramento out of medication and without identification or access to his Social Security payments. He wound up in the UC Davis Medical Center's emergency room, where he lingered for three days until social workers were able to find him temporary housing.Some years back, one of the towns in Oregon gave a one-way bus ticket to a homeless mentally person to send him to a small town near Santa Rosa. Their problem became California's problem, as he opened up a tank car of ammonia into the Russian River, polluting Santa Rosa's water supply for several days.
These tragedies happen all the time in the U.S. Why fix problems when you can just buy someone a bus ticket, and make it someone else's problem?