I am sorry you are having to deal with this, but I have had the same experience with Buffalo and Buffalo Psych. My grandmother was there as well and I was unable to obtain any information and cited the same causes. My mother, her oldest surviving child, can't get any information. I did get some info from the County building because she was placed there as the result of a crime and there was a case (eeek...black sheep genealogy....!!!!!)
A word of warning, there is inconsistency and IDIOCY at Buffalo City Hall. There is a clerk there who REFUSES to follow NY State Law for genealogy copies for direct descendants. I tried to get a birth certificate for a deceased direct-line ancestor and while the Albany vital records website clearly states time period restrictions are waived for direct-line descendants with proof (which I had), she REFUSED my request and argued with me. I returned with a print-out of the Albany Vital Records rule and she said "How do I know you didn't do that yourself" and I told her to go the website and she told me "We don't have a computer here with internet access, only a database of Buffalo deaths." LIAR. She argued with me again when I told her I get certificates all the time from Ogdensburg when I show I am a direct-line descendant, and she said maybe the clerk there doesn't know what she's doing. I asked for the supervisor and when she went and talked to someone else (and probably told them I was being a PITA) the supervisor came over and said "We don't waive time restrictions for anyone. Goodbye."
I called her an incompetent b word and left and since then I refuse to have any dealings with them. If I need something from a Buffalo death, I will write to Albany and wait 8 months. It was such a horrible experience that I don't even really bother with my Buffalo genealogy, which is all of my father's side and half of my mother's!!! I prefer to work on my grandfather from Ogdensburg's side, where at least I know I won't be hitting dead ends all the time.
If you have to go to Buffalo Vital Records in person, make sure you are dressed up and carrying a briefcase, because if you go in wearing jeans and carrying a backpack, they will treat you even worse. I know, I tested them several times over the past 15 years.