Misdiagnosis In New York

While there are people who claim that there are all these people with mental illnesses who are afraid to come forward and be ‘treated’ due to the stigma against people with mental illnesses, there are also people who get thrown into the psych ward when there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. One case in point is that of Chris Muth, the Cat Man of New York City.

As relayed by The Brooklyn Paper in a story entitled Cat Man bares his claws in suit against hospital:

Chris Muth, aka “the Cat Man,” made headlines in July, 2008, when he got thrown into the psych ward of Long Island College Hospital for six days after his attempt to rescue Rumi, a friend’s feline who had fallen behind a wall in Muth’s Court Street apartment.

Chris is suing Long Island College Hospital and 11 of its workers to the tune of 260,000$.

Somebody apparently called the boys in blue, although these were perhaps not New York’s finest given the result, mistakes happen. Wait until you see what’s in the medical report…

A medical report compounded what Muth claims was a misdiagnosis, saying that Muth was suffering a “bizarre delusion [that he] was trying to ‘save’ a cat.”

Seeking a pen and paper with which to write a press release from the head nurse on duty at the hospital, Chris was promptly assaulted and injected with the powerful psychiatric drug Haldol.

Much of the difficulty in recovering from a diagnosis of serious mental illness, in my estimation, can actually involve recovering from the disruptive experience of institutionalization. These difficulties have given Chris Muth much reason to sue in his case.

Muth was eventually proven to be sane — regarding the cat at least. Rumi was indeed rescued by an animal control officer after 15 days. But by then, Cat Man had been declawed: His landlord kicked him out, he lost his job, and his girlfriend dumped him — though they are now back together.

Hopefully Chris Muth can manage to win his suit in this case involving rash decisions and such obvious lapses in good judgment on the part of law enforcement and mental health authorities. It’s not the only suit he is bringing forward, but it certainly shows that criminals are not the only people who make stupid mistakes.