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Mental Health Monday June 2021 Program

Dorothy O’Brien, Mother

Dorothy O'Brien, motherThis part of my story begins 40 years ago when my beautiful, smart 2 yr old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. Living outside of Manhattan, we immediately were transferred to Babies Hospital and a cutting edge program for pediatric cancers.

We were told she had a 65% chance of surviving if we agreed to their very aggressive protocol including chemotherapy and cranial radiation to prevent the Leukemia from spreading through the blood-brain barrier.  It was 1981 and she was part of the first cohort of children to survive.

Years later, she would begin to show signs of brain damage, often manifesting as mental illness. Today in 2021, she has been in the State Hospital Forensic Unit for almost five years after being charged with felonies related to her trying to remove an uninvited man from her apartment. The officers who arrested her, pleaded with the Prosecutor on duty to take her to a hospital, not the jail. We had made sure they knew she was a vulnerable adult and in need of medical care. The Prosecutor refused, she was taken to jail and so began our ongoing nightmare where my daughter was denied the care she needed and was thrown into a system that doesn’t see her, hear or understand her, or have the facility, experience or empathy to care for her.

Please join us on June 28th at 10am for more of this story.

Dorothy O’Brien Sedona, Arizona

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