As you may have read in recent news reports, the Office of the Public Defender has filed a suit against the State of New Jersey regarding the inhumane conditions at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. The MHAEM Board and Staff hope this drastic legal action will result in important changes that benefit the patients and staff at the Hospital. The suit’s allegations, which are supported by substantial credible evidence, are that patients at Greystone are treated in an atmosphere of overcrowding and understaffing that leads to neglect, mistreatment and abuse. This lawsuit was motivated by verifiable and valid complaints from patients, family members and staff who witnessed patients being harmed on a regular basis.
The suit alleges in great detail that patients and staff have been hurt—and indeed died—as a result of these systemic conditions and immoral indifference. Specific examples taken directly from the suit include, but sadly are not limited to the following Paragraphs in the filed Complaint:
“35. Defendants intentionally kept multiple sets of books regarding the rate of assaults: one set for the public, one set for regulatory agencies, and one set for internal use only. The internal set is the only one with an accurate picture of the astronomical rate of violence at Greystone. Multiple whistleblowers have lost their careers and reputations when they attempted to disclose or refused to unlawfully manipulate this information against the direct orders of Defendants.”
“ 63. On or around February 7, 2018, a patient punched a psychiatrist and knocked him to the floor. He then repeatedly punched him in the head while the psychiatrist lay on the floor unconscious. The assaulted psychiatrist was taken by ambulance to Morristown Medical Center.”
“67. In or around September 2018, a patient on Unit G3, who had been stable for months, decompensated because he did not have an assigned psychiatrist. Due to the frequent change of covering psychiatrists, his prescribed medications were repeatedly changed, which caused his decompensation. As a result, he became agitated and paranoid, and struck his psychiatrist in the face.
“ 68. From approximately January 2018 through August of 2018, about 105 employees were assaulted by patients and injured significantly enough to necessitate a report to Greystone’s human resources. Of those 105 staff members who filed with human resources, at least one-quarter required multiple days off because of their injuries.”
“108. At least one Greystone physician is aware of sudden unexpected deaths in at least four other patients aged twenty-seven to forty-five. Two of these deaths occurred in the presence of the physician, who was delayed in offering aid because the “code cart” did not arrive in a timely fashion. The code cart is a set of trays/drawers/shelves on wheels used for transportation and dispensing of emergency medication and equipment at the site of an emergency for life support protocols. These deaths were never reported to the Food and Drug Administration as possible clozapine-related deaths. Despite doctors’ suspicions and the Medical Examiner’s conclusions, Defendants ignored the dangers of clozapine and effectively prohibited the Food and Drug Administration from further investigation into potential clozapine-related cardiac arrests.”
These are but a few of the outrageous examples of the well documented, verifiable episodes of mistreatment and negligence that occur daily at Greystone.
I am asking you, as friends of the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, to reach out to your State Senators and Assembly Representatives via phone or e-mail at the link below to let them know you “care about the patients at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital and that you want your Senator/Assembly person to take an interest in the suit to ensure that it is immediately addressed and settled by the State in a manner that permanently improves conditions at Greystone and the treatment of individuals with serious mental illness.” In doing so you will be speaking on behalf of people who cannot speak for themselves.
Please consider contacting your elected officials today. Below is a link that will help you find the contact information for your representative. If you want to get the full impact of the conditions being endured by the patients and staff at Greystone, you should read the full attached Complaint filed by the Public Defender’s Office.
Thank you for your support of this critical issue. Now is the time we must get our State legislators involved in the supervision of this sorely neglected psychiatric hospital.