The mother of a child with autism claims her family was forced to wait in the ER for more than 200 hours after her son suffered what she has described as a psychotic break.
According to The Herald Sun, Natania Barron and Michael Harrison waited 255 hours in the emergency room before their son Liam, 11, who has autism, was finally treated through a hospital program with a long waitlist.
Barron wrote about her horrific experience with the North Carolina hospital in a blog post on glittersquid.com, revealing that Liam was only treated by the doctors he desperately needed a few weeks after his reported “psychotic break.”
“I will spare details, but the long and short of it was that in his state we feared for his safety and the safety of those around him,” she wrote.
Barron revealed that although she and Harrison had been told there was a program in place to help him, it took 255 hours before he was finally given a spot.
“In spite of medication, a private school with the most amazing staff in the universe, therapy (through TEACCH and others), day to day work with him, and even being waitlisted at a part-time residential facility, it all came to a head on a beautiful day in October 2017,” Barron wrote.
Because Liam was suffering such a severe breakdown, Barron revealed that she and her husband had no choice but to wait in the ER.
“There is no option other than to wait in the ER for kids in Liam’s state. He now has had up close and personal experience with police because we had to send him to the ER in a cop car for fear he would hurt others. (Special thanks to the Durham unit who was amazing in this very scary situation). Once the on-site psychiatrist agreed that Liam needed to be checked in, she gave us a list of about 20 hospitals from Charlotte to Wilmington, and said that he could go to any one of them, but there are very few beds and that ‘this process takes time,’” she wrote. “We thought we’d hear something within a few days. We couldn’t imagine this wait.”
“The ER is the only place that will hold him. And it is like a holding pen. This super active kid isn’t trusted with forks or plastic knives, let alone the ability to run or get some sunshine,” the stunned mom added.
While Liam ultimately got the help he needed, Barron hopes his story will help raise awareness about the lack of proper mental health care for children around the country.