Rick Shapiro’s Wife Posts Facebook Plea for Help: “I feel as if I am a prisoner to this system”


Tracy DeMarzo Shapiro is married to comedian and Wednesday night on Facebook she posted a plea for help on Rick’s facebook page. In her post, she says that Rick is being held in a New York hospital unit and that he is being harmed by his treatment, but that she is unable to get him proper treatment.

Rick suffers from Parkinsons Disease and other conditions, and according to DeMarzo’s post he was admitted to an Electroconvulsive Therapy program at a New York hospital. The program provides therapy to treat depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders that have not responded to medication. According to her post, Rick was admitted through the ER to a Neurological unit in the hospital on January 24th where she says he remained without incident for about a week when hospital personnel discharged him and admitted him to the Electroconvulsive Unit, which has a more restrictive visitation policy. And that is when DeMarzo says, Rick began to have problems, and she is claiming that Shapiro was being mistreated.

“The PCTs were disrespectful, they were unhelpful, they laughed at him,” she wrote. “I continuously notified the staff of these problems. I stated that Rick has Parkinson’s Disease, he is not a drug addict or crazy. He needs more physical attention than what is being provided. I told them that this stress will increase his Parkinson’s symptoms and his mania will increase. I told them “you are hurting him.” My pleas were ignored. I emphasized that Rick’s Parkinson’s is emotionally based and stress will agitate his mania. I was ignored.”

DeMarzo says that as a result of his treatment, Rick went “manic” on February 5th and she describes a frightening series of actions that followed. “I was sitting in the hallway when I saw the security staff walk into the locked unit. I followed and proceeded to watch from the windows. I was petrified. I was told to get away from the windows due to HIPPA rules. I responded “that is my husband that is being man-handled, I can see it. I am his HIPPA designated member, I am also DPA and POA to him. What is going on?” I was told that I would be informed ‘briefly, shortly and in a few minutes.” 30 minutes went by. I called rigorously trying to get attention or some information as I watched my husband physically pleading to explain something, I know not what. I was frightened and in shock. At 3:30 I was told to got home, that I was causing the problems, that I was aggravating him. My heart was crushed. I said emphatically, ‘I am not leaving.” I was permitted 5 minutes to see him—he was destroyed. That night he was placed in the ‘quiet room 4 times and had to have a full-time security guard on him due to hostility.”

According to the Facebook post, DeMarzo says Shapiro’s phone was taken from him, and she has been denied permission to see her husband. She further claims her calls are not being returned, and that Rick is being denied therapy. “The goal here was to get him better and I feel that we are so far set back psychologically that I fear irreparable damage,” she wrote. Tracy is looking for help trying to get Rick relocated to a medical floor, and receive treatment or have him transferred to another facility.

You can read the full post on Rick Shapiro’s Facebook page, also embedded below. Shapiro, who was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease in 2012 has continued to perform stand up on stage, and has also appeared on Maron on IFC in a recurring role.

Posts from earlier this week showed Shapiro doing well, and looking for donuts.

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