Slain Teen’s Grieving Mom Involuntarily Hospitalized For Five Weeks, Then Billed


One day after the bodies of her son and estranged husband were discovered on December 18 of last year, Christina Schumacher was declared “a danger to herself and others” and hospitalized against her will, without a judge’s review.  She remains there still.  “I am not ill,” she told the Burlington Free Press, “I am simply a mother who is grieving the tragic loss of her young son . . . This is my journey, and in no way is it up to anyone to judge how I mourn.”  A Vermont Superior Court judge is expected to review the clinical order this month.

Article →Of further interest:
Grieving Mom is Held Against Her Will, But Still Billed (USA Today)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Extortion-

    The obtaining of money/property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

    Can anyone else find a better word to describe this get a bill for unwanted coerced treatment behind a locked door scenario ?

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    • If you do not want your insurance to pay for your involuntary treatment, make sure you tell everyone that up-front. Don’t sign the insurance forms or anything else relating to financial liability. Make sure that you endlessly repeat your unwillingness to pay and let them know you will go to court if they attempt to collect payment from you.

      I refuse contact with and treatment by any psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health practitioner as these practices, according to my philosophic and/or religious convictions, do not adequately or properly diagnose and such diagnoses can constitute a false accusation about my behavior and/or beliefs and practices, and are stigmatizing and therefore a threat to one’s reputation and physical and mental well-being. Any of their treatments, given against my expressed wish, are an intrusion upon and thus an assault on my body and constitute, in my view, criminal assault. Any involuntary hospitalization or commitment is a violation of my right to liberty and would therefore constitute a false imprisonment by all those advocating and authorizing such action, against my consent and wishes. If in the future, I am accused of a crime, then I direct that I be subject to due process accorded to the criminally accused and not subjected to psychiatric or psychological assessment, processing, profile, confinement or treatments.

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      • I maintain my right not to have any psychiatric evaluation or diagnosis based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as such diagnoses are unreliable.

        “There are no objective tests in psychiatry—no X-ray, laboratory, or exam finding that says definitely that someone does or does not have a mental disorder.”

        Such codes and descriptions should not be entered into my medical records as this unreliable and unscientific information will remain in my records and may wrongly influence any future medical treatment I might receive.

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  2. These bill for unwanted treatment stories are all over the internet, people having nervous breakdowns or SSRI induced mania maybe combined with some drinking… add a previous ‘diagnosis’ to this scenario and the story goes from bad to worse.

    The nightmare begins with “I don’t want to take those pills, they make me feel sick like a zombie” and the standard treatment for medication refusal is threats of injections and long term treatment in the state hospital.

    A negative reaction to this violation behind psychiatric locked doors is usually charted simply non-compliant and “speech is rapid” more indications they need more of the same mistreatment.

    It’s just wrong but this happens to hundreds, possibly thousands of people every day.

    Most will just submit and play the game, swallow the brain disabling drugs, shuffle around like a zombie and lie about how they feel to get out the door.

    It’s a bad joke, made worse with a bill at the end.

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  3. What’s most interesting is that in the comments on the USAToday article (The other one is down) it appears that almost everybody is on her side. Yet this is not some rare practice or occasional screw up. To psychiatrists working in that system who read that article, I’m sure they are shaking their heads as if the news article and the commenters are just a bunch of clueless and stupid morons, since they do this EVERYDAY and it’s just a normal part of their daily work life.

    It’s happening to thousands of people every day. Getting locked up and forcibly drugged amid dubious concerns of “dangerousness” or “disability”, the only major difference being that usually it happens to people with a history of “mental illness” but of course had this of hit the fan a year or two down the road, she’d surely look like a typical “chronic mental patient” by then and the public would be taking the doctors/hospitals side at that point…

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    • Seriously, think about it. Imagine that this whole thing happened a year or two from now after she was initially released on a conditional discharge and then refused the drugs at some point as we’re sure she would and was brought back to the hospital, again and again…

      Imagine what the comments on the article would read like if the article said that she was initially locked up after the death of her son and husband, but since had been a “revolving door mental patient”

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  4. This is the same old, “a danger to herself and others” story (which is it? Is she a danger to herself or others or both?).

    The woman has been in a hospital for 5 weeks. Even if she wishes to die, 5 weeks is more than enough time to ascertain whether her wish to die is due to a brain dysfunction, or if it is a well thought out, logical decision after taking into account various factors is life. If it is the latter, it is none of psychiatry’s or the state’s business to prevent her from killing herself.

    Billing her, of course, makes this worse.

    Such coercive practices effectively make people more suicidal by robbing them of their personhood and autonomy.

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  5. Although it is good that the issue of people being billed for forced “treatment” is being discussed in the media, what isn’t being discussed is to me even a more important issue. When your child is murdered and you are upset about it, how on earth can anyone believe this is a sign of “mental illness?” No one seems to be questioning that.

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  6. This is about as egregious a violation of a person’s human rights as I have read. I feel more than qualified to add my two cents in this dialogue on MIA. Over 2 years ago, my 25 y/o son took his life. And there isn’t a day that goes by that my family and I don’t feel the horror of his chose. Our lives have shattered but every person who has been so violated does have to deal with this kind of grief. This is grief, NOT a MI!!!!!!! Thank you Ted, as I completely agree. Why isn’t everyone acknowledging what GRIEF entails.
    The horror how this poor woman lost her son at the hands of her estranged husband is beyond my pain threshold. I have enough pain dealing with the factors that led up to my son’s suicide – especially how the MH industry deceived my son and his family who was trying to find the compassionate help that was denied him. To believe a mother instead of being humanely supported after such evil is forcibly held against her will now for 5 weeks is DISGUSTING. Is this truly America? Have professionals become so heartless when something so horrible occurs in a person’s life, this is the answer. This mother was handcuffed when taken into custody and she was refused the right to have her son’s funeral outside of the hospital chapel.

    Surely, the various places of support, the resources available thru MIA could be a viable alternative. After the HELL I watched my son endure, twice, locked in these psychiatric places of horror, I can only imagine the terror this poor mother faces each day, the longer she is locked away. And there is an older daughter that is without the love of her mother because the State has decided to continually force this woman to stay involuntarily locked away. Please can’t we find a way to help Christina Schumacher? Surely, I am not the only mother on MIA that feels such anger reading this????????????????????????????????????? Read the Burlington Free Press articles, thank goodness for Freedom of the Press.

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  7. Keep the beds full- goal of for profit hospital.

    Results: Charges were 2.5 times higher than the hospitals’ reported costs to deliver care. Reimbursed amounts indicated by The average cost to deliver care was highest for Medicare and lowest for the uninsured: schizophrenia treatment, $8,509 for 11.1days and $5,707 for 7.4 days, respectively; bipolar disorder treatment, $7,593 for 9.4days and $4,356 for 5.5days; depression treatment, $6,990 for 8.4 days and $3,616 for 4.4 days; drug use disorder treatment, $4,591 for 5.2 days and $3,422 for 3.7 days; and alcohol use disorder treatment, $5,908 for 6.2 days and $4,147 for 3.8 days.

    Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: UHS) is a Fortune 500 company based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. UHS owns and operates “behavioral health centers”.

    “Danger to self or others”

    That lie is as big as “checks in the mail”

    Of course this is crazy. No sane person could possibly see it otherwise. It is, though, how private hospital make a profit. It’s not terribly difficult, actually. Just select a behavior, a mood, or a complaint, and attach a diagnosis to it. The only trick is to make sure that it’s listed in the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM for short. The reason is quite simple: Each so-called disorder comes with its own special number. That number is entered into a form and sent to an insurance company.

    Then, like magic, money gets returned in the mail.

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  8. Ha Ha Ha, This is so insane it’s hilarious.

    Fascist America – Love it or leave it, yeah I’d leave it ASAP

    Get the Heck out of there, run , don’t have kids, keep the hemlock handy.

    I guess she could just let them win – give away everything she owns, take the meds and say OK now house me and feed me til I die. When you can’t win then lose with enthusiasm.

    She’s been murdered already, might as well accept it.

    Schumacher, who had been seeing a psychiatrist for a couple of weeks, arrived for a previously scheduled appointment Dec. 19, the day after the bodies of her estranged husband and her son were found.

    It was before her appointment at the University Health Center that her doctor had University of Vermont police on standby to take her into custody if she did not admit herself.

    Seeing a psychiatrist – well that was really dumb. Would have cost less to read MIA.

    You believe in the system , you die by the system. If someone believes in authority they might not hesitate to turn me in for my “thought crimes”, so should I feel any sympathy here?

    Don’t trust authority, don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters, you’ve been warned for decades.

    I wonder did the shrink get a bonus for every patient he turned in – something like that must be in effect.

    If I were all of youse, I’d be careful. You are obviously suffering from Protest Defiance Disorder.

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  9. This situation doesn’t surprise me. I was held against my will after experiencing ill effects to a class of meds that I had documented previously caused me adverse reactions including hallucinations, and my insurance was billed for these errors as if it were proper treatment. Worse yet, years ago, a clinical psychologist assaulted me right in his office, and my insurance was billed for the session. Evidently, this is health care in the USA. Not to sound unpatriotic, but insurance companies probably shouldn’t have to pay for errors in medication, especially if the error isn’t properly acknowledged and addressed for the patient’s well-being. Doctor’s tend to cover this kind of stuff up usually with a white wall of silence to shield one another’s reputations. And, of course, insurance companies should not have paid for my therapist’s sexual acting out. I thought his behavior was my fault at the time because I had that “victim mentality” from childhood abuse, but years later after I figured it all out and heard rumors he was continuing to molest other patients, I reported him and he can’t do that anymore. But all those other victims probably had insurance that paid for abuse in the name of “therapy.” It’s criminal.

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    • It’s amazing how Americans accept insurance companies (profit making corporations) as something legitimate. Such is the power of propaganda control. As a Canadian, I have never worried about a hospital bill or a doctor bill in my life. Same goes for the Brits and dozens of other civilized countries.

      The only purpose it seems of “insurance companies” is to exploit the citizens and make the elite owners richer and more powerful by denying health services and facilitating early death in citizens useless to the state (corporate enterprise). This is because insurance is a mechanism that makes profit by denying services not giving them.

      Interesting story Cory, thanks for sharing.

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    • Not completely – (Todd Centybear, executive director of the Howard Center, a Fletcher Allen psychiatrist and a hospital social worker) all these three people need to stand trial and pay for their crimes against humanity.

      Kidnapping, forcible confinement, forced doping, physical abuse for starters. All crimes worthy of capital punishment. Vermont still upholds the Death Penalty.
      Ah good… they still have the electric chair in Vermont, barbarism for barbarism…

      Well if that don’t go over, how about a civil lawsuit and several million in damages.

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      • Involuntary hospitalization or commitment is a violation of my civil rights under U.S. Code, Title 42, Chapter 21 § 1983, Civil action for deprivation of rights. Lawsuits for involuntary commitment have resulted in verdicts of $1 million or more against hospitals, doctors and other agencies and personnel:

        Lund vs. Northwest Medical Center, (Case No. Civ. 1805-95, Court of Common Pleas, Venango County, PA, June 16, 2003), jury awarded $1,100,000 million in damages.

        Marion vs. LaFargue Case No. 00 Civ. 0840, 2004 WL 330239, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, February 23, 2004), jury verdict of $1,000,001 in damages.

        Dick vs. Watonwan County (Case No. Civ. 4-82-1.16, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, April 11, 1983), more than $1 million in damages awarded to plaintiff.

        “Marion was offered but refused medication. But Bellevue Dr. Robert LaFargue wrote out an order authorizing him to be injected with Haldol, an antipsychotic, and Ativan, a tranquilizer, and stating that, from then on, Marion was to take another drug, Depakote, orally, on threat of injection.

        In his testimony, Marion described being strapped down to a gurney, a nurse hovering over him with a needle, then injecting him, “like in ‘The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ” referring to Ken Kesey’s novel about a psychiatric hospital from hell. Comparing himself to “Louima,” as in police brutality victim Abner Louima, Marion said, “They used a toilet plunger for him and a needle for me.”

        The jury ultimately voted to award Marion $750,000 in damages for being held against his will for six days, $250,000 for being illegally injected with drugs and $1 for having to orally take medication.

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        • Thanks copy cat .
          However,these are single news stories and may not represent the state of law or the application of it today or USA wide.
          They are interesting though and a good point to start study.

          I tend to think if it was the standard the shrinks woudl be a lot more careful , which they aren’t,

          I love Marion’s story – he left town lol – good for him!

          I want to see if Kristina sues and if not, why not? The community should petition here to sue for the common good. The money is not enough – they should be stripped of their license.

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    • It’s not trying to fastrack “review”, It’s trying to fasttrack admission on behalf of the drug pushers..

      The article is full of deceit, it talks about medication helping people and people needing medication which is nonsense, and tries to pretend that the solution to violent patients is medication. That last is a human rights abuse and horror.

      They need to go back to providing respite and restraint without psychotropics.

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