Green Oaks Hospital is establishing an LGBT policy after a transgender woman sent hospital administration a complaint about her time there.
Green Oaks, a mental health and addiction services facility in Dallas, recently received a complaint from Shawna Brooks after her experience in the hospital. The complaint led to a new trans policy, but the hospital has refused to provide any documentation of this policy or comment on its creation.
Brooks’ partner committed suicide in July. She then stayed with family to grieve. She returned to the apartment the couple shared in mid-August. Her family feared she, too, was suicidal because of the loss of her partner, so she was committed to Green Oaks, at 7808 Clodus Fields Drive.
During Brooks’ eight-day stay, she was denied a counselor to speak to about her loss and was offered only group therapy. She also requested a bed but was told they were for men only. Brooks was given a bed when she finally told a nurse other women were occupying beds, she told Instant Tea.
She also highlighted inadequate accommodations for transgender patients after a nurse rudely commented on medical needs specific to trans patients and denied her a private room, according to her complaint. Brooks had the nurse contact her doctor and was then granted privacy.
Brooks sent a letter about her experience to patient advocate Stephanie Haynes, who responded with a letter (see below) that stated “as a result of your feedback, our facility will implement a policy to better serve the transgender community.”
Instant Tea sent a request to Haynes for a comment and another request after the letter was sent to Brooks.
Alexis Johnson, executive director of risk management for Green Oaks, responded to Instant Tea’s request for comment.
“Due to the nature of care provided at Green Oaks Hospital, we’re bound by a unique confidentiality. We won’t breach the trust of our patients by discussing individual care,” she wrote. “However, our mission at Green Oaks is to promote dignity, compassion and respect for patients and their families. In recognition of this commitment, we strive to deliver high quality, cost effective behavioral healthcare to all the patients we serve. We always strive to accommodate any and all particular needs of individual patients.”
When emailed again about a specific LGBT policy for patients, Johnson again refused to answer questions, restating part of her previous comment.
“As previously stated, we strive to deliver high quality, cost effective behavioral healthcare to all the patients we serve,” she wrote. “All inpatients are assigned a Case Manager to coordinate care based on the individual patient’s needs.”
Brooks said her long stay benefits the hospital because she had good insurance, while her partner Kara, who was also transgender and didn’t have insurance, was discharged in 2010 after two days.
“In the end, neither of us received appropriate treatment and I feel that this is true for many of those who go to Green Oaks regardless if they are LGBT or not,” Brooks said. “There is a greater underlying issue at play here regarding this facility.”
As for the new policy, Brooks said she doesn’t think it will ever be implemented.
“Ultimately, the ‘awareness’ I created or any sort of policy change they stated is simply lip service,” she said. “I don’t expect anything to change at that place or action to be taken. There is no ethical, monetary or legal incentive to do so.”
The full letter is below.