Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital

Recently, on May 15th, I experienced a cardiac event and was taken by ambulance to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. After arriving they immediately began treatment and I was ultimately admitted to the hospital.

While in the emergency room I was asked if I had any other major health issues and I replied that I was HIV identified and I had mental health issues. I told them both of my psychiatric providers who are part of Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital in the Behavioral Health Clinic on the same campus as the hospital. At this point the hospital was now on notice about my psychiatric issue.

The evening of my admission, I was moved to the 4th floor south. I met my night nurse who would be doing my intake. Her name was Nurse Annette and while doing my intake, I relayed, once again, that I have mental health issues.

Being so honest I thought I was in a safe place. I could never imagine that i would be bullied and disrespected for being an openly gay man with a mental health disorder while in the care of an institution that claims diversity and inclusiveness. As it unfolded, Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital was anything but inclusive. They are not practicing diversity. They did not even supply a basic standard of care in their discrimination and dereliction of duty.

I have PTSD and I found my nerves getting the best of me while I layed in bed fearing a stroke or death. I didn’t sleep the whole night and, as for anyone, sleep is imperative for those with mental health disorders.

The following morning, May 16th, an Eisenhower Medical case worker named Calvin entered my room and said he noticed I was married and referred to my wife. This was the moment I snapped. My PTSD was triggered and I broke down. My trigger was sprung and I screamed, “You homophobic bigot. How dare you come into my room and disrespect me as a gay man.” I fought for my rights to be married and expect respect for that right and my relationship of 25 years. Personally, I find this a most egregious mistake. Homophobia is more than physical abuse. Most gay men recognize homophobic behavior including being treated as a second rate citizen by, in this case, the hospital refusing to recognize my gayness or have any sensitivity to acknowledge my husband. Any amount of homophobia is unacceptable for an institution that espouses diversity and inclusiveness. Unfortunately, having my emotions pushed to their limit and my PTSD was triggered. I lost control and began screaming and yelling uncontrollably.

It was at this time Nurse Blanca Fiero came into my room. As I was screaming to her to keep that man out of my room, I was trapped in my bed, IVs in each arm and an EKG attached to me. Nurse Fiero just stood at the door doing nothing. I finally yelled, “ Stop acting like a child and answer me.” She began to scream at me that she was calling security to have me removed. Clearly, she did not have training to deal with a mentally unstable patient or recognize the symptoms of my mental health disorder of which I had already disclosed two times. Suddenly, without warning, she charged my bed with her phone in hand over her head. I was trapped due to my IVs and EKG. As I prepared to be punched another nurse arrived (Nurse David).Nurse David arrived just in time to pull her out of the room and save me. I was screaming for them to restrain me if they needed security to remove me. They did not. Is this the behavior Eisenhower Health Medical Center Hospital considers to be their standard of care of behavior for the mentally ill and those who identify as LGBTQIA? I was out of control, sobbing uncontrollably and begging to see my husband. Still, no one made contact with my psychiatrist or therapist. It is abusive to leave a patient in such emotional distress. Remember, I had given my psychiatric providers names upon arrival in the emergency room.

I was crying. I was panicked and paranoid. The doctor tried to soothe me and convinced me to stay in the hospital for additional tests that he felt necessary. Enter Pamela Moorman, the patient relations coordinator. She came in laughing with another doctor. It felt to me like strangers were coming into my room to get a glimpse of the angry faggot on 4S. I inquired who she was and she either didn’t hear me or ignored me. Again, my PTSD was triggered and I began to scream at her to leave my room. She replied, “I was invited.” I was infuriated. I did not invite her and I told her to leave. She refused over and over until I was completely overwhelmed and distressed. As a trained professional, I was sure, in her position, she would have recognized my mental health state and would call my psychiatric team. Yet, she allowed me to be left in severe emotional distress for a second day.

The hospital did not perform their duties as healthcare professionals, they were derelict and negligent, I have been damaged mentally by the abuse at the hospital’s hand and the direct cause was their negligence to contact the proper medical caregiver or psychiatrist to treat me. I was shamed for my gayness and left to suffer deep mental anguish from the abuses I suffered at the hands of the hospital’s healthcare professionals.

The following day, May 17th, as I was being discharged. Nurse Ellen, who I believe was the floor supervisor for the nurses. She entered my room with some canned, corporate responses about hoping I enjoyed my stay…and that all my treatment was okay. I said it was not and Jeff (my husband) and I would be meeting with Ms. Moorman. Nurse Ellen responded by saying that she remembered my situation from the day before And had been in the room. I do not remember her. At that point, homophobia continues to run deep in Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital. Since she acknowledged that she knew my situation, you can guess my new outrage to be diminished and relegated to 2nd class citizen status once again as she referred to my husband as “my friend “. He is my husband. I am married and I don’t know why the Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital will not recognize my gayness or my husband. From my viewpoint, Nurse Ellen carelessly and intentionally intensified my emotional distress once again. This “standard of care” the hospital has role modeled over three days quickly destroyed my emotional state. Yet, still, no one made contact with my doctors or the psychiatrists that were on duty at hospital (Dr. Levine and Dr. Saurez) The hospital might want to check their records because I believe Dr. Levine was actually in the hospital during my stay at the hospital. Yet, my team of doctors and nurses left me to suffer and simply refused to contact a psychiatric professional.

I am well awareness of my mental health issues and work diligently to overcome them. That is why I am so transparent about my mental health. I am not going to be shamed by their hospital and pushed into hiding, even though this has been a very public humiliation of my mental health issues and I have become anti social since the abuse I recieved.

The real irony of this entire situation is that this all occurred during Mental Health Awareness month. (And I might add LGBTQIA awareness month is currently happening.) As a mental health patient, the care I received was less than people treat their old clothes. It was abysmal. It was deplorable. It was disgraceful. Eisenhower Medicals standard of care diminished me and left me feeling desperate and hopeless. I have been left feeling like I am nothing from my care at Eisenhower Medical which did nothing, absolutely nothing, to contact a doctor who would or could have treated me. Instead the hospital chose to leave me in continuous and painful emotional abuse at the very hands of those I entrusted my care.

I’m hoping the hospital has a zero tolerance policy for physical threats, perceived or actual abuse toward patients. Especially having a nurse physically and abusively treat me carelessly because she may have indeed been endangering me. I should not have spent three days fearing physical retribution by Nurse Blanca Fiero or any nurse in your facility.

As a mental health patient it is imperative to have a trusting relationship with my doctors. Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital destroyed this relationship.

I entered the hospital in a stable mental health position and by the actions of their staff and Pamela Moorman i have been left feeling worthless, defeated and giving up on life.

Since my hospital visit, I have been left emotionally scared and living in an abyss. I am hollow and alone. Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital must address the basic standard of care that was not provided by neglecting my mental health and neglecting to contact the necessary doctors who could have helped. There was a blatant abandonment of care. Leaving me emotionally exposed without treatment is no different than them refusing to attend to my cardiac needs or allowing me to suffer in pain. Have no doubt, I am suffering painful repercussions of the abuse I received at the “healing “ hands of Eisenhower Medical and its staff.

The issue of homophobia needs to be addressed as well. Eisenhower Medical espouses diversity and inclusiveness yet the actions they model is treating LGBTQIA patients with disdain and disrespect. Diversity and inclusiveness is more than a marketing tool mouthpiece. As long as LGBTQIA patients are treated in any similar manner as I was, (and there are…there are two similar cases which were told to me anonymously) you can not claim diversity and inclusiveness. This should be an embarrassment to the hospital when 40% of the population in this area is LGBTQIA. You are only providing 2nd rate care to to those you also treat as 2nd rate citizens. I am an example.

While I was in distress, a nurse, who I can’t name, told me she understood my frustration because he/she can not be open in the workplace. Another young worker approached me after the 2nd homophobic incident and told me, “That’s just the way things are here. You have to stay quiet.” he told me anonymously. I allow these sources to be anonymous to protect them from retribution by the hospital.

I was shamed for my gayness and left to suffer deep mental anguish from the abuses I suffered at the hands of the Eisenhower Health Center Hospital healthcare professionals. It’s so shameful.

Please call Dr. M. Abbas, the hospital director at 760-837-8905 or phone Pamela Moorman, patient relations coordinator, at 760-837-8905.

I implore you to call them and request that Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital increase their diversity training and sensitivity training toward the LGBTQIA community and and those who suffer mental illness. Please help me make real change and pressure the hospital to reverse its current practices.

My husband and I did meet with the hospital patient relations coordinator, Pamela Moorman and Dr. Abbassi, the medical director. He acknowledged that their care did not meet their standards. I presume this because he apologized for the treatment I received and that in itself is an acknowledgment of neglect I received while in the hospital’s care.

During the discussion it became clear that Pamela Moorman’s recollections of the event in my room were so vastly different than the account my husband and I observed. The incident with Nurse Blanca Fiero was also written so that she is separateder from blame. Though, there is no mention of her lack of training to deal with mental health patients. I became a problem rather than a patient.

Having mental health issues and being gay is difficult. I do not expect this kind of behavior from a hospital where one is vulnerable, scared and unsure. I expect Eisenhower Medical Center Hospital to exemplify a better example than the treatment I received.

Published by Cosgrove Norstadt and Jeff Foote

We are an older couple together for 25 years and married for six. We have appeared on DIARY OF AN AFFAIR for Lifetime. We did a pilot for the Travel Channel called MR. AND MR. SMITH. We also were featured on MSNBC's EXTREME EXPOSURE. Our last project was THE GLORYHOLE which is available on the DVD PARIS 559 or through Vimeo.

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