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Teen accuses Mayo Clinic of 'medical kidnapping'

In December of 2016, doctors determined that 18-year-old Alyssa Gilderhus had a ruptured brain aneurysm. When surgeons at a local hospital said her chances of survival were slim, Alyssa’s parents knew they needed Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After eight hours of waiting for bad weather to pass, the family made it to Mayo.

Doctors performed surgery on her and said her chance of survival was 2%. Alyssa’s parents say they are incredibly grateful for the neurosurgeons who saved their daughter’s life, but the rehabilitation crew was a different story.

Tensions flare

Alyssa’s family got into conflicts with the rehab staff almost immediately after her transfer to the rehabilitation unit in late January. Doctors wanted to take her off oxycodone, and by this time, Alyssa had her fourth surgery in one month just days before.

Now into February, her mother expressed frustration not only because her daughter was in a ton of pain after surgery, but because Alyssa’s breathing tube was the wrong size and she had developed a bladder infection. The staff delayed changing the tube to the correct size and failed to diagnose her infection. The family felt that Alyssa was not receiving proper care.

The request to transfer

When Alyssa and her family requested a transfer to a different hospital, the staff refused. The staff said that she was not capable of making her own medical decisions – even though she had been doing so since her arrival. The family is accusing the hospital of 'medical kidnapping' because she was legally an adult during her entire hospitalization.

"They were cruel to me," Alyssa said when expressing she wanted out.

The escape

Alyssa’s parents planned an escape to get her out of the clinic. Caught on video, the high school senior rushes to escape from the hospital that saved her life, but also "held her captive." When getting into the car, a staff member grabbed her arm and Alyssa’s stepfather told them to get their hands off his daughter. The family then sped away with the patient inside. Mayo security called 911, saying they had a 'patient abduction.'

The family wasn’t answering police calls and weren’t at home, either. After learning more about the situation, police say there was no abduction. "This was done under her own will. You had a patient that left the hospital under their own planning," the officer said.

The family ended up at a medical center in South Dakota, who allowed Alyssa to go home after receiving the proper medications. A sheriff deputy concluded, "If a doctor at another facility says she’s fine and comes up with a second opinion, that kind of takes the law out if it."

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