Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Saints Who Stole Christmas!

Last Friday (December 16) the Coalinga State Hospital Administration delivered Unit 10's annual Christmas tree. Afterwards, the Unit Residents, as a group, decorated the tree with plastic ornaments, colored lights and home-made decorations, all provided by the State.

Having completed the tree decoration, they were informed that they would have to take the lights off the tree because it was said to be a "fire hazard".

The consensus amongst the residents of the unit was that if they wanted the lights off the tree, then the Unit Supervisor could "get off her fat ass and do it herself".

So the Unit 10 Unit Supervisor as well as the Unit Supervisor from Unit 11 arrived at Unit 10 with their usual condescending, fake smiles. They then removed the offending lights from the Christmas tree.

At that point, the unit Residents became incensed, took a vote and unanimously decided that the Unit Supervisors should simply take the entire tree away. So, with the assistance of the Residents, the tree was removed entirely and flung down the hallway.

Within the hour, a fresh, natural Christmas tree had been replaced with a quickly improvised 10" green construction paper Christmas tree made by the Residents.

Immediately thereafter, one of the Residents, Mike St. Martin sent Hospital Director, Pam Ahlin, a Christmas card in which he lovingly wrote "Merry Fucking Christmas! I don't need to tell you where you can put your Christmas tree. Year-after-year, you continue to do the same thing and you're shocked when the outcome is the same."

Monday, the Program Director, Frances Hicks, attempted to return the Christmas tree to the unit and the unit unanimously refused to allow the tree to be put back up.

On Wednesday, Acting Unit Supervisor, Patricia Blevens ordered her staff to drag the tree back into Unit 10 and to decorate it but without the lights, still against the continued objections of the Residents. Again, this attempt was quickly aborted .

On Thursday, having finally given up in their attempts to impose the unlit tree upon Unit 10, Hospital staff drug the tree outside and put it into the dumpster.

It must be said that, this was not the first time a Christmas tree had been stripped of its lights in C.S.H.. Each Christmas since the Hospital opened, Hospital staff have carried out their own little unique Christmas ritual which involves visiting all units ands removing, with loving care, each of the little colored lights festooning the Christmas trees.

In so doing, they appear to be earnestly protecting the well-being of their little charges lest any of the trees should catch fire from the lights. This, despite the likely fact that all the loving staff have their own trees at home, brilliantly lit with cascades of brightly glowing, colored lights!

In this way, they demonstrate that they care more for the Hospital's residents than they do for their own children!

It's traditions like that that make Mike St. Martin refer to the D.M.H. as the "Department of Mental Disorder."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another Unnecessary Death At California's Coalinga State Hospital

Early Saturday morning, the 5th of March, 2011, Civil Detainee Victor Segovia died in California's Coalinga State Hospital. He had complained to medical staff of chest pains and difficulty breathing earlier in the evening but was left untreated and told to go to bed. Shortly before 4:00 a.m., he collapsed on the bathroom floor and, despite attempts by other Detainees to get him the timely medical attention he desperately needed, he did not receive it and died shortly thereafter.