Press Release for Mother's Hunger Strike

Press Releaase

70-year-old Grandmother Goes On Hunger Strike Over Failed Discharge Practices at Western State Hospital

On July 4th, 70-year-old Vancouve, WA resident Cindi Fisher, began a hunger strike in protest of her adult child’s false imprisonment at Western State Hospital.​

Cindi Fisher is demanding that Siddarta Fisher be put back on Western State Hospital’s discharge list and immediately released without restrictions. Siddharta had been removed from the discharge list without explanation or warning.

This Tuesday, Mom Cindi will be on Day 31 of a Hunger Strike to Free Siddharta.

She also wants to draw attention to the public that Western State Hospital was decertified in 2018 and defunded its annual $53 million budget since then.

This was due to the extremely dangerous conditions for staff and patients, 

  • and the hospital's continuously failed discharge planning, which she believes is a form of false imprisonment

Cindi wants the public to know that there is a better way than keeping Western State open OR building newer, smaller hospitals--even if closer to home--.

This is  because 

what does not change is the past and current

• culture of disempowerment,

• false imprisonment,

• staff shortages and burnout,

• punishment and retaliation,

all of which breed dangerous and violent conditions for patients and staff.

Cindi says, "There really is a better way. 

Open Dialogue, 

Peer-run Respites, and

Soteria Houses

in our neighborhoods and communities are alternatives proven to be more effective, more caring and compassionate, and far more cost efficient in the long run. And for a truly lasting, profound change, the voice of those most impacted, must have the greater say at the decision making table. 

Here is Siddharta's story

• On Friday, March 27th, 2020, Siddharta Fisher was arrested by police after experiencing a mental health crisis in Vancouver, WA.

• In mid-April, 2021, Siddharta was determined to be discharge ready from Western State Hospital.

• After weeks of the hospital not making progress towards discharge, Siddharta and Cindi Fisher took the initiative and worked out accommodations that would accept Siddharta and set up wrap around services from a local mental health agency that Siddharta had worked well with before, and new ones that were available through the Trueblood settlement. The hospital agreed to the plan, but still did not give Siddharta a firm date for release.

• On Monday, June 28, 2021, after Cindi Fisher informed the hospital administration that she would commence a hunger strike based on what seemed like a violation of the Olmstead Decision, Siddharta was given a July 1 discharge date.

• On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, less than 23 hours before Siddharta’s long awaited release, the discharge was blocked with no explanation before or at the time.

• Cindi Fisher stated, “For the last 6 weeks, Sidd had such laser focus about getting discharged, and was so articulate about going home and what freedom would feel like. When Sidd’s long and desperately awaited walk to Freedom was revoked by some members of his treatment team, Mikhail Ziskind (psychiatrist),  Jocelyn Ronpogren (Psychologist), and Brian Waiblinger (medical director) less than 23 hours before I was due to pick her up, it had a harsh and crushing effect on Sidd's mental health. She lost her clarity and so much of her hope.” It should be noted that Dr. Waiblinger, less than  one week earlier had participated on the Case Consult team, that reviews every case for independent discharge into the community and had approved Siddharta's discharge.

Because of structural inequalities, Black and gender non-conforming people like Siddharta experience increased vulnerability to mental health oppression, mental health crises, less access to quality treatment, and the least access to resources to continue care after discharge. Black patients receive more stigmatizing diagnoses for the same symptoms, higher doses of medication, and a higher likelihood of longer periods of hospitalization or being warehoused in jail's isolation cages.

Press Contact: Cindi Fisher

[email protected]