It’s one level of foolishness when black people, especially those with natural hair are discriminated against at work, in schools, or in the military, but it’s another thing when people are sent into mental institutions!
Kam Brock, a Long Island woman, was committed to Harlem Hospital for eight days in September 2014 under a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It all started when police pulled her over in her BMW on suspicion of drug use, and confiscated her car although no drugs were found. When she went to retrieve it the next day, she went to the wrong police station, and then drama ensued. Brock admits that she became emotional, but once the police began questioning her sanity things only got worse.
According to Brock’s lawyer, the police hoodwinked Brock into thinking she was going to her car, but instead took her to an ambulance where she was strapped down, sedated, and taken to Harlem Hospital. Hospital records indicate that her doctors did not believe that Brock worked as a banker or was followed on Twitter by President Obama — both true and easily verifiable claims — and her treatment plan, which included group therapy, sedatives, and lithium, was to get her to deny those claims.
The ambulance transported Ms. Brock to Harlem Hospital where Brock was strapped down and forcibly sedated via injection. During her stay, she was repeatedly subjected to intravenous sedations and administered lorazepam and lithium. She was retained in the hospital for 8 days, during which time the hospital refused to check Ms. Brock’s claims that she was a gainfully employed banker with no mental issues. The Hospital went as far as to notate Ms. Brock’s statements in the hospital records but never attempted to verify them. Further, the hospital records reflect absolutely no violent behavior from Ms. Brock or justification for her involuntary detainment.
In an effort to show the psychiatric staff that she did not require psychiatric hospitalization and that she did not belong there, Ms. Brock truthfully explained that she was a banker and that her Twitter account was followed by President Obama. The staff interpreted these statements as an indication that Ms. Brock was suffering from delusions. Part of her treatment involved being forced to “admit” that her career was a fabrication and that she had never interacted on Twitter with the President.
After an 8‑day confinement, during which she continually demanded to be released, Ms. Brock was discharged from the hospital with no warning or explanation. She says she was given discharge papers and told she was free to go with no comment on her progress or mental state. Simply, they let her out the back door and hoped she’d go away.
The notes from her hospital treatment plan are downright chilling;
“Objective: Patient will verbalize the importance of education for employment and will state that Obama is not following her on Twitter,” the document reads. It also notes, “patient’s weaknesses: inability to test reality, unemployment.”
Now I’m unsure if this has any bearing on the story, but Brock also happens to be a rapper, and goes by her stage name Akilah Brock. She was still making music and performing in September of last year before all of this began, so it’s unknown how the police saw her — as Kam the banker, or as Akilah the rapper. Ironically, respectability politics, in Brock’s case attempting to assure the police that she was a hard worker and a good person, as she describes, got her committed into a mental institution. The icing on the cake is that she was released, without an apology or explanation, but with a $13,000 medical bill! Brock is now suing the hospital for unspecified damages, and we wish her the best of luck.
As a Harlem resident, I’m very worried about the ability of police and doctors to agree that I need mental help if I happen to be well educated, affluent, and wielding influence. Driving while black in America can not only get you killed, but can land you in a psych ward for over a week. What is this, the 19th century where women, black people, and the “socially inept” are locked in mental institutions for no reason?