Woman claims mentally ill son was given bus pass by Rawson-Neal
The growing scandal over Nevada's alleged "dumping" of mentally-ill patients in other states, is hitting home. A woman tells Action News she was afraid she'd never see her son again. That's why she reached out to us for help.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The growing scandal over Nevada's alleged "dumping" of mentally-ill patients in other states is hitting home. A woman tells Action News she was afraid she'd never see her son again. That's why she reached out to us for help.
Rodrick Hicks was found by Nevada Highway patrol last week. The 18-year-old was walking barefoot on Interstate 15, near Flamingo Road. He was taken to a hospital, which transferred him to the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric facility. What happened next has his mother outraged.
"My child was out there somewhere," says Shannon Hicks. "Rawson-Neal gave him a city bus pass and said go on your merry way."
Hicks claims administrators at Rawson-Neal gave Rodrick two prescriptions and a bus ticket to get home.
Hospital paperwork shows he was admitted to Rawson-Neal on April 17 and stayed through the 24th.
"I didn't get a call, I didn't get nothing," Shannon says. "It's a miracle he made it home safely, because his schizophrenia affects his ability to understand directions. They'll just let a mental patient out the door, without letting a family member know?"
Shannon claims she didn't even know Rodrick was at Rawson-Neal in the first place, despite calling the hospital several times.
"We were looking for him everywhere, and they told me that they had nobody under that name there," she says. "Now it makes me wonder how often this happens. There's probably more people looking for a loved one. It's scary."
This comes as an article in the Orange County Register claims that health care officials there are looking for a missing woman named Monica. They believe Monica was sent on a Greyhound bus from Rawson-Neal to Anaheim without support.
She's one of more than 1,500 patients that the hospital allegedly sent on buses to other cities and towns around the country.
"They obviously need to do more about it," Shannon says. "I worry what else is going to happen."
Mary Woods, the spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, tells Action News she's going to look into Roderick's case.
An investigation into the accusations of "patient dumping" is also ongoing. Nevada health officials have defended their actions, saying the vast majority of their patients are returned to families and treatment programs.
They have implemented a new discharge policy. Patients will now be assigned a chaperone, until they reach their final destination. Additionally, two hospital staffers and an administrator are supposed to oversee patient travel plans.