Doctor with disorder says she was treated like a drunk at Skirball Cultural Center in L.A.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles is apologizing to a doctor who says she was treated like a drunk.

Dr. Maxine Schumack had just enjoyed an evening at the Skirball Center Wednesday and was having trouble finding her car. She suffers from Friedreich's ataxia, which can cause slow, slurred speech. When she approached a security guard for help, she was accused of being drunk.

"We find my car, but he won't let me get out of the car and get in the car to drive home until he takes me to his boss, some security guy. It's like checking me out to see if I'm able to drive," she described.

She said it happens a lot, which is why she wears a medical alert necklace, which specifically says on the back that her condition can cause her to appear intoxicated. She says it's a frequent hassle, often at airports, and one that has even affected her professionally.

"I went to apply for an internship and the woman had the audacity to say to me that I might turn off the clients," she added. "It's been very difficult to get a psych job. People might think it might impact your clinical skills."

Schumack was eventually allowed to leave the Skirball Center, which has since apologized. It released a statement that reads:

"As an institution dedicated to the values of welcome and inclusivity, the Skirball Cultural Center was sorry to learn of Dr. Schumack's experience, and we thank her for bringing it to our attention. We have investigated the matter internally and have taken immediate steps to ensure that all of our staff is properly counseled so that incidents like this do not occur again."

Schumack says she planned to file a complaint through the Americans with Disabilities Act. She may eventually return to Skirball but for now plans to stay away.
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