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Web search leads to reunion for dumped patient, long-lost family

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Updated: 5/03/2013 9:28 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Sometimes it takes a bad thing to make a good thing happen

James Brown, a schizophrenic, says he was discharged from Rawson-Neal hospital and was a victim of patient dumping.

“When you're trusting that these at these hospital are going to take care of you and let you down like this -- is there anybody out there that really cares about you?” he asked.

He was given a one way ticket to Sacramento, a place he had never been before and knew no one. His meds were wearing off, and he was starting to hear voices once he stepped off the bus despite the advice he says he received at Rawson-Neal,

“They told me to call 911 get an ambulance to the nearest hospital and get my medication,” Brown said.

He did something different. He listened to voices in his head, particularly the voice of reason.

“I chose to do what my voice told me go to that police station,” he said.

Fearful, cold and confused, he walked two blocks. Police officers drove him to a homeless shelter, showing him care he had not experienced in a very long time.

Shelter staffers contacted a local newspaper where a reporter's simple search located his daughter in North Carolina.

“She wasn't looking for me. She thought I was dead,” Brown said.

“Iran around in circles; my butt was on a plane,” said his daughter, Shotzy Harrison. “The entire scary ordeal could have been prevented.

“With a simple Google search, they could have found me. I made my info accessible in case dad had to reach out to me.”

Harrison was looking for her father. The last time she saw him, he was living in a tent in the woods. Then he disappeared.

“I thought he didn't make it, and I tried to prepare for my heart for that,” Harrison said.

But Brown wasn't dead. He went West.

Although he says he did well for about a year, things took a turn for the worse. And he eventually ended up at Rawson-Neal. “Abandonment, reckless irresponsible,” Harrison said of the treatment her father received. “Treating him like he's not a human being, like he's a second-class citizen.”

Not anymore. His daughter her husband and their children are taking him in and giving him a reason to smile after so much pain.

Brown may be safe and sound and reunited with his family in North Carolina, but what happened ignited a fire inside him to protect others from the same fate.


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