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true stories of life in a psychiatric hospital
a scary story
by jane dode
pop culture

The most dangerous job that an individual may have, without any educational qualifications or previous experience, is that of a mental health worker or staff at a psychiatric hospital. These individuals are in direct contact with a psychotic individual on a daily basis. There is no telling what a psychotic patient may be thinking at any given time, or what he or she may do without any indicative sign. There are numerous experiences that have occurred, in which the staff at this hospital has had the experience of “seeing his or her life pass before his or her eyes,” because of a patient losing control of his or her behavior.
I recall an incident in 2006 when a very psychotic patient was transferred to our hospital from another psychiatric hospital. In the psychiatric world, we received a patient that is considered “a dump.” A “dump” is when a hospital receives a patient from another hospital under false pretenses. For instance, a hospital may not want to keep a particular patient because he or she is very psychotic or violent, and the hospital tells another hospital they need to transfer the patient because they do not have any beds available for him or her.
In 2006, we received a very bad “dump” from a hospital in a county far north of us. They left out some very important information prior to transferring this patient, I will call Jack, to us. For one, he had a very long psychiatric history involving severe psychosis and delusional thoughts. However, the main reason this hospital dumped him on us is because he has a long history of violence also. In fact, later we found out that he strangled a nurse at the transferring hospital, just prior to his transfer to us.
I asked Jack myself if he strangled and tried to kill a nurse at this hospital. He laughed and said that this nurse was a fricking liar and she would be dead if he wanted to kill her. He was very convincing when he told me this. Therefore, I called this hospital to inquire more about the rumored strangling incident. I found out that not only did he strangle her in front of witnesses but it was also captured on tape. I also found out that he was petitioned to go to a long-term forensic hospital.
The most difficult trick with Jack was to not let him know about this petition. Unfortunately, we had to keep him at our hospital for several weeks before he was ordered to go before a judge on this matter. We had to keep coming up with false reasons for holding him because he wanted out of the hospital very badly and was getting progressively angrier by the day.
At last, the time had come for him to appear before the judge. In hindsight, we should have had the police pick him up and take him to court, but instead we had chose to use our transportation with one staff driving and another staff watching Jack. Knowing how dangerous Jack was I decided that I would escort Jack myself rather than put a young naive mental health worker in danger.
We tricked Jack to go with us willingly, by telling him we were going to court to see if we could release him. As we arrived at the county courthouse, about five deputies from the county sheriff department surrounded our vehicle, and escorted him in. They thought I was crazy for not having more manpower to guard this strong and violent individual. Once Jack appeared before the judge and found out what was going on he lost it. He actually charged toward the judge in a violent attack only to be tackled by several county sheriffs, who placed him in a jail cell.
After the judge seen this act of violence, and heard other testimony, he sentenced Jack to a long-term forensic hospital. However, he stated that we had to take him back to our hospital until a bed opened there. Then about six sheriffs escorted him to our vehicle so that me, and the transportation driver, who has no idea what just happened, would drive him the two hour-long trip back to our hospital. Trying not to look fearful I engaged Jack in conversation as we drove back to our hospital. The time seemed to go ever so slow as we drove back to the hospital. We finally arrived safely, where I had several staff waiting to escort him in.
As we entered the locked unit at our hospital Jack turned to me and said your lucky I like you. He then through a pen to me and said, “You shouldn’t leave a pen in the back of your vehicle; I thought about stabbing you through the neck but decided not to.” I said, “Thank you Jack, I appreciate that.” He then burst out laughing, with his infamous psychotic laughter.


I have two books published which are based on my fascination, education, and experience in the world of psychology. I teach psychology at the University of Phoenix and I have had over 20 years experience counseling young and old people in different settings. One of my books is under an anonymous name because I reveal the deep dark secrets of the locked down acute care mental hospitals I worked at. This is my favorite book because of the variety of humor, fright and sad stories as well as the unknown politics of the mental health system. My other book How to Get in Zone was based on my personal search of what it really meant and how to get in the zone. I studied and read the biographies of th

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