We often have to report on sensitive issues like medical kidnapping however, we never thought we’d be reporting that the well-known and much trusted Mayo Clinic in Minnesota would be the one responsible for kidnapping. And an adult! But that’s exactly what happened to 18-year-old high school senior, Alyssa Gilderhus.


On Christmas morning in 2016, Alyssa and her family, who live in Sherburn, Minnesota, had just started to open presents when Alyssa suddenly fell very ill. After a local hospital determined that Alyssa, who was a healthy teen, had a ruptured brain aneurysm and that her life was on the line, she was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“On Christmas night, surgeons gave her a 2% chance of living, her parents said. Doctors wrote in her medical record that her prognosis was ‘grim.’ Her parents reached out on Facebook for prayers. They called their daughter the #Christmasmiraclegirl. Alyssa lived up to that name. She survived, thanks to four brain surgeries over the next month. Her doctors were ecstatic.
‘They were like, she’s not supposed to be here. She beat the odds,’ her stepfather said. ‘Mayo neurosurgeons saved her life,’ added her mother. ‘We’ll be grateful to them forever.’ On January 30, Alyssa was transferred from the neurology unit to the rehabilitation unit.”1

While this should have been a happy moment, it wasn’t and wouldn’t be for a long time because almost immediately, the family got into conflicts with the rehab staff. And, after multiple issues the family asked for her to be transferred to another hospital. But Mayo refused.


In fact, according to police, Mayo officials had asked the county for assistance in “gaining guardianship of Alyssa,” who was an adult.

Family says Mayo Clinic held teen ‘prisoner’

In a jaw-dropping moment caught on video, an 18-year-old high school senior rushes to escape from the hospital that saved her life and then, she says, held her captive.

A spokeswoman for the Mayo Clinic said hospital officials would be willing to answer CNN’s questions if Alyssa signed a privacy release form giving them permission to discuss her case publicly with CNN but after the form was signed, they still declined. They did provide a statement however, which you can read here:  Read the Mayo Clinic’s entire statement to CNN.

Sadly, this is not the first time a hospital in the US has medically kidnapped someone and we assume it will not be the last. However, we are so happy for Alyssa and her family.

Sources and References

  1. CNN,  August 13, 2018.