Protests continue over T&T woman forcibly taken to mental hospital

(Trinidad Express) Cheryl Miller, the woman who was reportedly forcibly removed from her office and taken to the St Ann’s Hospital two weeks ago, was yesterday described as a “quiet, introspective” woman by co-workers.

Miller’s co-workers from the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development staged another midday protest yesterday, calling for her release from the psychiatric hospital.

One co-worker, Alvin Fortune, who worked with Miller for close to 15 years, yesterday said that to people who were “not accustomed” to her, “Cheryl would seem a little strange. But that is not to say that everybody who strange, you just going to come and snatch from their office.

“Sometimes she would use file covers to barricade herself by her desk so she didn’t have to interact with people. I admit when I first saw that, I said to myself, ‘Okay, that’s a little strange,’ but after getting to know her, you realise that’s just how she was,” he said.

He said Miller worked as an Accounts Clerk II and has a penchant for mathematics, figures and calculations. “If it was a cent off, she would find it and you couldn’t get it past her,” he said.

Miller was moved to the Gender Ministry when it was split from the Ministry of Sport last year and was working under new managers. “So they not accustomed to her. I could say boldly she was never a violent person. Never had a violent episode,” he said.

Her co-workers said something about her admission was “just not sitting right”, and they wondered if there was some collusion to keep Miller locked away to avoid costly legal lawsuits and retribution.

A source close to the unfolding situation said Miller’s admittance file was “peeked” at and she was described as “violent and threatening workers”.

“That was not true at all,” Fortune said. “When the three men came to take her, she was writing her report on the situation.”

“This is the most frightening thing I have seen. This is straight out of a horror movie. I was outside her window and a nurse came and they took her to the treatment room. When Cheryl came back, she said they injected her, she did not know what it was and she did not know what the effects were,” he said. “They just doing what they want with her.”

Fortune said at yesterday’s visit, Miller was taking her medication orally to avoid the injections, but was still unsure of what she was ingesting.

When asked about the admissions procedure, Dr Ian Hypolite, head of the institution, would only say that “everything is contained in the Mental Health Act”.

“It is not in my habit to speak to the media, but the Mental Health Act dictates totally how patients are to be admitted,” he said.

What the Mental Health Act states: 7. (1) The Psychiatric Hospital Director or a duly authorised medical officer may admit to a hospital as an urgent admission patient any person in respect of whom an application is made. (2) An application may be made by any person who alleges that the person in respect of whom the application is made is mentally ill and, in the interest of his health and for the safety and protection of others, or either of them, ought to be detained in a hospital; and shall be accompanied by a certificate of a medical practitioner other than the duly authorised medical officer responsible for the admission of the person.


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