In Jacksonville, Florida, a 6-year-old boy, Nicolas, was locked away in a psychiatric hospital for throwing a temper tantrum at school. Once reported, police took the child from his elementary school and imprisoned him at River Point Behavioral Health.
Nicolas, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, much to the dismay of his parents, reports BuzzFeed, served multiple stints in a ‘seclusion room’ over three days.
According to BuzzFeed, the largest psychiatric chain in America, Universal Health Services (UHS), went so far as to petition for the boy to stay longer.
According to a prior BuzzFeed News investigation, this isn’t out of character for UHS. BuzzNews at the time discovered that “current and former employees from at least 10 of the company’s hospitals in nine states said they were under pressure to fill beds by almost any method and to hold patients until their insurance payments ran out. Nicholas was covered by Medicaid, the government insurance program.”
Furthermore, BuzzFeed reported that River Point, where the child had been held, is currently under criminal investigations pertaining to fraud “as part of a wider federal probe into UHS as a corporate entity.”
Nicolas’ mother spoke of the helplessness she and the family felt. “I didn’t want him to be there at all … It felt like my child had been kidnapped,” she said. “I can’t even hug my kid and tell him it’s going to be okay.”
Every time Nicolas’ parents asked doctors to take him home, they were denied.
The young boy who was considered a threat, couldn’t talk or make eye contact with his parents once they were finally permitted to see him.
“He was out of his mind, we didn’t recognize him,” Nicolas’ father told BuzzFeed. “It was hard to leave him there — you wanted to just grab him and run out of the facility with him.”
However, after his release, Nicolas returned to his normal self, a typical young boy playing with friends, kind and loving.
This is yet another glaring example of the state resorting to the use of police force to deal with problems that a parent once dealt with; for the sake of fulfilling quotas.
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