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The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Nevada is facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of former patients that claim the hospital "dumped" them. Rawson-Neal is no stranger to these allegations and has faced lawsuits in the past over the practice. Additionally, it is estimated that Rawson-Neal has dumped nearly 1,500 patients by providing them one-way bus tickets to cities all across the country.
For those that don't know, when a hospital involuntarily discharges a patient rather than continuing to provide the needed treatment or a referral and transportation to a more suitable facility, this is called dumping.
Frequently, the practice is done in such a way that puts the patients at high risk of harm, and even death. There are countless documented incidents where hospitals discharge patients by sending them to other cities on busses, or simply dropping them off in another county on the side of the road. It is rather common that when a patient is dumped, they will end up homeless and in need of much more care than they would normally have required.
Rawson-Neal is again being accused of engaging in a specific form of dumping that is called Greyhound Therapy, which they have gotten in trouble for in the past. This refers to the practice of putting involuntarily discharged patients on busses to other cities, often thousands of miles away. In the latest case, Rawson-Neal allegedly put a patient on a bus with a note that instructed the patient to call 9-1-1 upon his arrival in the new city. The patient had no contacts, relatives, or connection to the city he was sent to. Another patient was placed on a bus and sent to a city with instructions to contact a specific hospital upon arrival, however, the patient was never able to do so.
The issue with dumping mentally unstable patients is that the hospitals that do so are avoiding their duty to provide appropriate medical care. Frequently, the patients that are dumped are homeless, low-income, or uninsured, and will lack the personal resources or network to get the help they need. Rather than arranging for the transportation from door to door, the hospitals just make sure that the patient is discharged in a place where they will not be returned to their hospital.