New mother Jessica Porten took all the correct steps in scheduling an appointment with her OBGYN to discuss treatment options for the postpartum depression symptoms she was experiencing. However, instead of being treated by a doctor, the nurse called the police on the struggling new mother.
Porten took to Facebook to tell her heartbreaking story:
I had an OB appointment yesterday, my first since giving birth 4 months ago (because they kept [canceling] my appointments), which is inhumane in my eyes. I went to the appointment alone with Kira. It was at 2:10, and I was not called back to a room until 3:15. A nurse practitioner comes in (one I don’t particularly care for) and I tell her everything my husband told them when he scheduled me the appointment a week ago. That I have postpartum depression that is manifesting in fits of anger, and I want to discuss my medication options. I tell them I have a very strong support system at home, so although I would never hurt myself or my baby, I’m having violent thoughts and I need medication and therapy to get through this. She rushed through my pelvic exam, barely spoke about medication, said she needed to talk to the doctor about my PPD, and left the room.
They called the fucking cops on me.
Porten says that the cops escorted her to the ER, where she was stripped of her clothes and shoes, brought into a hospital room, and left to wait with her infant daughter for hours with little to eat. She finally spoke to a social worker around 10:45pm, who ultimately determined that Porten did not have to be placed on psychiatric hold, and released her.
I leave the ER at midnight, my spirit more broken than ever, no medication, no follow up appointment, never spoke to a doctor. This was a 10 hour ordeal that I had to go through all while caring for my infant that I had with me. And that’s it. That’s what I got for telling my OB that I have PPD and I need help. I was treated like a criminal and then discharged with nothing but a stack of xeroxed printouts with phone numbers on them.
Porten clarified that she has no plans to take legal action or leave her current doctor at this point, but rather encouraged people to ask themselves and others to ask these questions:
-Why is the way I was treated standard procedure?
-What can we do to improve standard procedures for all postpartum mothers, but also specifically those at a higher risk for developing PPD and presenting with signs of PPD.
-Who is most qualified to make suggestions for improvements?
-Who is actually capable of making the changes to standard procedures, and how can we can contact them?
Porten added, "I may be marginalized as a woman, but I am white and heterosexual and hold privileges in these places. I am scared for our mothers of color and our LGBTQ mothers who seek out help in these situations."
She then added these questions to her list:
-Why was I let go, when so many others would have been put on a mandatory 72 hour psychiatric hold, and had their children taken away?
-Why do a disproportionate number of women of color who have PPD not receive the services they need, even when they initiate treatment?
-Why are a disproportionate number of women of color who have PPD misdiagnosed?
-Why are black women half as likely to receive mental health treatment and counseling as white women?
-What can we do as a community to lift up our marginalized [members] and make sure they receive the quality care that we ALL have a right to?!?