Do you know about Bridgewater State Hospital?

Bridgewater indeed
Bridgewater indeed

I read it named Bridgewater State Hospital but from the you tube clip ( published 15/02/2014) I watched and an earlier abc Nightline report ( published 31/03/2014) , it definitely is a prison (well maybe mild security?). You know the type where you conclude that so called psychiatric beds are actually cells and restrain beds? What they claim to be Intensive treament units are actually ‘punisment isolation cells? That particular one has had its horror stories on focus for over 20 years –  but well who gives a damn?

I can only guess my brother was a good patient/criminal? I don’t know which one – oh the ‘goo al system’. Don’t ask me what he did to find himself there. I wasn’t there but just heard that he was accused by the police of assaulting an officer. My kid sister who was present out there told me they had said on taking him away that they thought he could become a danger to himself or others. Is this what civil commitment is about out there? I am still so shaggily ignorant.

He was very ill at that point and my mum had flown out there to try to bring him back home. He was an adult however, and had some US status so couldn’t be brought back against his will. Initially, he agreed to come back home and I was assigned to zoom to and from Brussels airways co to purchase the air tickets.

It was then that he started changing his mind and became very agitated. And oh no, he dared dial 911 to come to his aid and convince mum to leave him alone. He f… called them twice on the same day? The second call earned him an arrest, handcuffs and some time in that infamous Bridgewater. The first call, the family had managed to sooth the officers, but the second call a few hours later – meant danger to them.

Maybe his ‘obedience’ at Badwater (whatever), saved him then because some other parents have been less fortunate. The parents of the 23 year old Joshua in the above you tube clip, are still grieving and pursuing a civil claim which may outlive them too. Of course the District Attorney or whomever, claims there isn’t sufficient evidence to bring  an action. Oh, all but one of those guards involved in that horrific incident still work there!

Poor Joshua's last minutes before the suffocation
Poor Joshua’s last minutes before the suffocation

I now share with you a desperate mother’s deaf pleas to that ‘almighty system’. Of course I talk of my mother, Gabriel’s mother who up till date never heard from them. I am sorry, so sorry and sad for my mum:

“Bibiana Mbuh Taku

Douala Cameroon

Central Africa

Tel # 237 77 78 56 44

March 17, 2010

The superintendent,

Bridge Water State Hospital



  • Lisa Mitchell, Deputy Superintendent of Patient Services
  • Gabriel’s attorney –


Subject: Concerns about the health and life of my son: Gabriel Bebonbechem

I am the mother of Gabriel Bebonbechem who was brought to your institution for “evaluation to stand trial” by the legal services of your State.

I wish to state here that my son is a known epileptic and has been on treatment for some mental problems and epilepsy under the supervision/monitoring of Lynn Community Health Center.

Before he was charged to court on grounds of assault, I was in the process of taking him back home for family support and evaluation before we would decide on when he would be deemed fit to stay on his own and take care of himself while carrying out activities that would give him hopes, a future and independence.

This did not happen because the decision seemed to have been too abrupt and this resulted in a crisis that led him to try to recuperate his traveling documents that he had willingly given to his uncle, hence the charge brought against him.

What worries me right now is the fact that he seems to be deteriorating as per the account that I have received through your weekly report. The fact that my son who was brought to your institution looking clean and cut is now refusing to bathe worries me.

The worse part of the report is that he has requested for the same drug that was reported to have killed Michael Jackson!!!!. I wish to inform you that while on some antidepressants he may have suicidal tendencies as I observed some times ago.

Finally and most importantly, the last psychological report that was requested by his primary health care practitioner, Mr. Daniel Gross, suggested a referral to a neurologist. I had confirmed with Mr. Daniel Gross that I will get him to see a neurologist and in fact there was one on standby to get him from the airport when the unfortunate incident foiled the trip. Mr. Daniel Gross also informed me that irrespective of my commitment to have him see a neurologist in Cameroon, he will ensure he gets the referral upon his return.

I am therefore, appealing to your services to ensure that he is not put on medication that may lead to side effects that could make him to have suicidal tendencies or any other such serious side effects and above all to ensure that the follow-up on his treatment is assured, namely, to see a neurologist as per the December 2009 psychological appraisal that was endorsed by his primary care giver and his family.

I look forward to hear from you and to be assured of my son’s health situation and safety.

Sincerely yours,”

Ha, she even received  a summon to appear in the court case brought against my brother thereafter: that calls for another post, I just can’t continue.

Dear gentle readers and followers, I know of Bridgewater not only because I researched about it, but because my brother’s violent refusal to talk about it made me see it was a harrowing episode for him. You really need to be beware of those “State Hospitals” or whatever meds they put you on. If you end up being reduced to calling meds, don’t say you weren’t informed. All cases are different and all I know is my brother’s.

Well, maybe just a more secured hospital after all
Well, maybe just a more secured hospital after all


10 thoughts on “Do you know about Bridgewater State Hospital?”

  1. It is sad to hear about the destruction of one’s self in a state hospital…the treatment the patients receive isn’t always for their improvement…instead, they deteriorate. I will keep your brother in my prayers as I do all the institutionalized that are tucked away from society in what we call “hospitals”…

  2. Thanks for raising awareness my friend. State hospitals are terrible. I’ve been in two of them and I can say that they are not fun. I didn’t have it anywhere near what Bridgewater is like, but I can still say that the services provided are inadequate.

    1. Thanks Seb,

      I read your experiences in your memoir and how you were so disappointed and traumatized further. I also read how you called some board to report some shrink and that earned you some ‘punishment’?

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