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The article details the harrowing experience of Zachary Chafos, an autistic teenager, and his family as they faced prolonged waits in an emergency room for psychiatric treatment. In November 2020, amid a severe mental crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, Zachary was taken to Howard County General Hospital. However, due to a shortage of psychiatric beds in Maryland, he and his parents endured an agonizing wait in the ER, where Zachary’s condition worsened. The article highlights the broader issue of psychiatric bed shortages in the United States, particularly in Maryland, which has some of the longest ER wait times for psychiatric treatment. This problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with a significant rise in young patients needing psychiatric care. Despite efforts and promises from Maryland officials over the past decade, the situation has only deteriorated, especially for children and teenagers. The article also touches on the challenges and frustrations faced by the healthcare system and families in finding timely psychiatric care, exacerbated by systemic issues like insurance denials, low reimbursement rates for providers, and shortages of mental health professionals. The story of Zachary Chafos is a poignant example of the dire consequences of these systemic failures.