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Re: Complaint about Banner Thunderbird as to Noah Daniel Cather (DOB 11/25/2001)
To whom it may concern:
I am the guardian of my 20-year-old son, Noah, who is SMI and living in a BHRF. Noah
• has been institutionalized continuously since January 14, 2020, when he was suicidal and had to be talked into dropping a butcher knife
• carries diagnoses of bipolar disorder with a history of psychosis, autism, an anxiety disorder, ADHD, and PTSD
• takes Depakote, Vraylar, gabapentin for anxiety, and an antipsychotic
• has been at Orion BHRF since April 14, 2020
• has been institutionalized all his adult life
• has had a guardian (me) since he turned 18
• still hears voices after having no access to drugs for a year and a half, but says that on medication, they are “quieter”
My complaint is that Noah was admitted to Banner Thunderbird on November 2, 2021, on a 72-hour hold and didn’t discharge until November 9, 2021, because neither the unit psychiatrist nor the hospital social worker saw to it that he got any psychotropic medication for the first 3 days. Furthermore, both the hospital social worker, Stephanie C. Kyle, and the unit psychiatrist, Dr. Monga, communicated this in a totally offhand way.
That isn’t entirely true. Stephanie Kyle tried to talk over me first when communicating this information so that I couldn’t talk to her—in order to give Noah’s history and insist on a peer-to-peer with Noah’s outpatient psychiatrist. I had to raise my voice and insist that she listen to me first—which, in Noah’s 18 years needing clinical intervention and 10 years in the mental health system, I have never needed to do before.
Dr. Monga told me that Noah was doing fine without psychotropic medication.
While Noah was sitting in a hospital he should have been discharged from after 72 hours, he was missing school and DBT therapy. Noah is already a senior in high school as a 20-year-old because he’s missed school due to hospital stays.
On November 2, 2021, Noah called 911 himself because something in his day triggered him and a 72-hour hold would have been sufficient. His private psychiatrist, TeeJay Tripp, DO, had prescribed psychotropic medications that were working: Noah was attending his senior year of high school and doing well and participating enthusiastically in DBT therapy, and he had even stopped having near-weekly violent episodes at the group home, given that his last one was in June 2021. Noah says the voices are “quieter.”
It’s an even bet whether, since Noah was getting his levothyroxine at Banner Thunderbird the whole time, Banner Thunderbird was taking him off all psychotropic medication intentionally or whether they were just neglecting a patient.
Dr. Monga would be the second unit psychiatrist who decided Noah was doing “fine” off medication (and the last one was at a different Banner hospital and involved the same social worker) given that he presents well. That’s because his medication had been administered by group home staff for the past 18 months as directed so, as Noah has said, “the voices are quieter.” It’s also because he has bipolar disorder, not schizophrenia. He had not come in off the street. He has no access to drugs in Orion BHRF.
The reason I think they were doing a med wash without my consent and countermanding Noah’s own psychiatrist is that Stephanie C. Kyle’s supervisor, Jason McIntyre, was the social worker in 2018, when Noah was 16, at Banner Scottsdale. At Banner Scottsdale in 2018, they discontinued all of Noah’s psychotropic medication. They initially sold it to me as “We’ll do a med wash and start from scratch.” Since he’d been on so many medication cocktails, I agreed for the hospital to figure out what medication would work. But Jason McIntyre said, “You can’t cure autism with a pill” and had a conversation with me about the fact that Noah had autism, not mental illness. Noah was discharged from Banner Scottsdale in November 2018 on no medication.
Jason McIntyre didn’t take the subsequent car ride 28 days later during rush hour at highway speeds while Noah was agitated, psychotic, and scary and ended up in Aurora Tempe for 3 weeks.
Only at Banner Scottsdale and Banner Thunderbird has anyone said that Noah doesn’t need medication (or didn’t care whether he got it) and Noah has been in the mental health system since he was 10 years old.
Then Noah was admitted to Banner Thunderbird on November 2, 2021, and he was given none of his psychotropic medication until I demanded that the Banner Thunderbird unit psychiatrist have a peer-to-peer with Noah’s treating psychiatrist. And the Banner Thunderbird hospital social worker’s supervisor is Jason McIntyre, who told the social worker, Stephanie C. Kyle, to tell me he said hi and who told me in 2018 that Noah only had autism and not mental illness.
The story was that one of the four medications, Vraylar, wasn’t in the hospital pharmacy, but they could have called the group home and the group home would have brought the medication over in blister packs along with the pharmacy prescription list. They could have done anything other than nothing.
Then Dr. Monga, the unit psychiatrist, got on the call with Stephanie Kyle, which by that point was on speaker phone, and Dr. Monga told me Noah is “doing fine” while taking nothing but levothyroxine for hypothyroidism and not needing PRN Zyprexa. The most either of them would say was “I hear your frustration” about doing absolutely nothing to ensure an adult they knew was SMI, in a BHRF, with a guardian got his psychotropic medication.
Had Dr. Monga had a peer-to-peer with Dr. Tripp before either passively or deliberately stopping Noah’s medication for 3 days, he would have learned that
• Dr. Tripp has already seen what Noah looks like off medication, from his disastrous stay at Banner Scottsdale in 2018
• Dr. Tripp has been treating Noah for 6 years and does more than spend a perfunctory 15 minutes with him
• the treatment team, including the BHRF (which has had the ability to assess Noah over the long term), Mercy Care, and the evaluator who found Noah eligible for SMI services wholeheartedly believe that he is seriously mentally ill and in need of psychotropic medication and long-term institutional care
I have a printout of all of Noah’s hospital stays from late 2018 onward (there are 22 of them), with a sentence about the reason for each hospital stay, and I emailed it to Stephanie Kyle. I demanded that Dr. Monga have a peer-to-peer with Dr. Tripp, and I cc’d Dr. Tripp’s office.
That peer-to-peer took place and Dr. Tripp rightly told Dr. Monga to leave the medication as it was and that happened.
At least Noah has the insight to know he needs medication and his insight isn’t so fragile that having a unit psychiatrist he’s never met telling him he’s fine without it didn’t convince Noah otherwise.
I have attached a copy of the latest guardianship renewal order giving me mental health powers (case number PB2019-001551).
I have made a prior Mercy Care complaint, but it was on the phone, and the complaint that was transmitted from the call-taker was not the complaint that I actually made. For this reason, I made this complaint in writing and I would like to hear from someone at Mercy Care in writing.
I still haven’t mastered using this forum, although I have my own website using WordPress, so sorry for the lack of paragraph breaks.
Noah hasn’t ever really been consistently stable, which is frustrating, and he’s been on almost every psych med there is with the exception of Clozaril, which he would never agree to take and would have to cooperate with the lab draws, which he wouldn’t.
I just think it’s hard to treat a person with autism and mental illness.