I'm writing about what happens in the Emergency Room from the perspective of a psychiatry resident (the doctor who is training to be a psychiatrist). I'd like to include a couple of quotes from patients who have been through the experience of going to an Emergency Room with a psychiatric crisis. They would be short quotes -- though you're welcome to tell me the longer story.
~The ER visit needs to have been within the last 2-3 years
~Must be in the United States only
~I'd need the name of the state
~I might want to talk to you to verify that you are a real person
~I would not include your name or any identifying information, but you could make up a pseudonym.
~Of interest would be how many hours were you in the ER and who did you speak with there? Did they share with you their thought processes on disposition -- for example, "I'm afraid you're at risk so I'm admitting you," or "I'd like to admit you but there are no beds," or anything along those lines.
~Thank you for adding your voice!
On a related note, there has been a lot in the news recently about "boarding" in psychiatric ERs and you may be interested in this article about ER boarding in The Orange County Register by Bernard J. Wolfson: Psych Patients Pack Emergency Rooms
Once they get to the ER, patients with mental health disorders are are often held without treatment for many hours, or even days, while they wait for a psych bed to open up – or for an assessment to determine they don’t need one. In an ideal world, those patients would be seen much more quickly, by qualified professionals, in a setting intended specifically for handling urgent psychiatric cases.
most docs have been pretty reasonable and nice.... most of the time when i have gone to the er for stitches, they have talked to me, seen that i wasn't suicidal, and let me go. it was typically obvious admission was coming other times, because i had overdosed or something like that....
a few years ago- "i don't really think you need to be admitted, but since your psychiatrist wants me to admit you, i'm going to."
and another that year- "after i'm done stitching you up, i'm sending you to psych emergency to talk to the psychiatrist there."
my worst was too far back. i was 18, in 2003. i told the psychiatrist who examined me that i was feeling like harming myself, and he asked, "what do you want me to do, tie your hands behind your back?" he sent me home that night, and i took like 90 pills- otc pain killers, allergy meds, and psych drugs. that ass hole could have helped me, and i was just a dumb kid........ that still makes me sad to think about. i felt horrible and thought they might help, and i was treated like garbage. i'm glad to have seen since then that there are a lot more people who truly care and want to help, and that this guy was truly an anomaly.
Anon, thank you -- it sounds like pretty mixed experiences. Anyone else?
I'd like to add a question: Did any staff person in the ER attempt to contact your outpatient treater(s) and did the treater(s) respond?
It's too bad I miss the 2-3 year cut-off a bit. I could tell you some interesting stories. :)
14 hours in the psych section of the ER - NOT the CPEP, that was full - with guards (not nurses). There were people there screaming through the night, a man who had cut his toes off, two men who got in a fight and were sedated. The resident I saw in the middle of the night was very kind, but when I asked to leave she said I had been too honest with her and if I tried to leave at that point she would hold me involuntarily, and I "did not want to be an involuntary patient." The resident I saw the next morning was not kind. I felt looked down on and like she was trying to trick me into becoming an involuntary patient because she kept asking if I wanted to leave.
I'm an ivy league educated professional dealing with depression for twenty years.
I live in Northern Georgia, and my last ER adventure took a little over three hours. My now ex psychiatrist met me there, and yes, she shared her thoughts. I also shared mine. You see, I had called that day, having just returned from Florida, to make an earlier appointment and advise her that I had stopped taking my new medication. I felt that it had made me depressed, and I thought we should consider something else. I thought I was being responsible. She called me right back and demanded I either drive myself to the ER or she would have an ambulance sent out and have me taken into their custody. I initially refused, but when she started timing a count of five, I got nervous. I was angry when I got there, and she kept saying, well, I really think we should admit you so that we can better manage your emotional state.
Hi - I visited the ER in New England earlier this year for SI. I wasn't admitted, but the entire experience was traumatic and extraordinarily humiliating. I can share additional details via email if you like.
My name is Lori. In Feb. 2014 I presented to the ER @JHH in Baltimore, Md. for worsening depression and SI. I arrived there Fri. afternoon and was transferre4d to a unit bed Mon. @ 2am. I spent my time there on a stretcher isolated in a room with a closed door, my only contact with staff was to deliver and remove meal trays or when I ventured out to use the prison-style communal metal toilet. No meds or talk was offered. Late Sun. night a pdoc (I think) informed me that even though I had signed in voluntarily, they had "committed you in case we needed to transfer you." It didn't really sink in until later and I was angry. I had come to JHH because I was admitted there the previous year and felt somewhat less frantic and I felt betrayed because no one bothered to discuss this with me. It didn't fell like collaboration, it felt like a kidnapping.
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