Monday, November 17, 2008

Over Sensitive

Y'know, these days I have to be really careful about what I read or even what I watch on TV. I know some would say I am over sensitive, but reading or watching the wrong thing can (and does) send my mood plummeting. I'm not always sure what "the wrong thing" is to be honest. Injustice of any kind, I think. Watching a crime drama about a doctor who causes someones death and then covers it up and gets away with it is definitely "the wrong thing" for me.

When Mr Man was in hospital for the third time in 2003 one of the patients died. It was widely believed that the doctor had assessed the patient and decided that she was well enough to go home with her husband for the weekend, but then she killed herself. An easy mistake. If someone is determined enough (and pretty good at acting) it is possible that they could fool the doctor into believing that they are starting to make a recovery. It was a tragedy.

But, what actually happened was that the patient was on "level 3 obs" as they called it - she was supposed to have been checked every 15 minutes to make sure she was safe. She wasn't on home leave at all. During the inquest it was explained that the hospital was regularly under-staffed, making such observations difficult. The ward had two floors, with numerous exit points, which increased the difficulty further.

Actually, the truth is that at night the patients weren't allowed downstairs, and in the day the patients weren't allowed upstairs and their rooms were locked. It was impossible to leave the ward from the first floor anyway - all of the windows had bars across them on the outside, preventing them from opening more than a few inches. On the ground floor there were only two exit points, one of which was directly next to the office. In fact you couldn't walk in or out of the exit without being seen by whomever was in the office. So how did this patient manage to leave the ward?

It was nearly four years before the truth was finally established, that the patient's notes were falsified and recorded that she had been checked on - a full half hour after CCTV footage showed her committing suicide elsewhere in the town. She was missing for four hours before anyone noticed. The notes were falsified by the nurse whom I had witnessed on numerous occasions playing computer games in the office. Obviously the nurses were very busy because they were so under-staffed.

It makes me wonder what we would have found out if the case of Mr Man's attempted suicide on the ward a year earlier was fully investigated. Of course, it never was investigated because... well, he didn't die did he? So that made everything ok. That's what I was continually told anyway. I did meet with the Medical Director, to discuss this and other issues, and I was assured that Mr Man had been checked every 15 minutes, so the staff had done all they could to prevent it - it was in his notes so it must be true.

11 comments:

Mental Patient said...

I never cease to be amazed by the morality - or the lack thereof - of some mental health staff.

Mr Mans Wife said...

I know what you mean Mental Patient. The trouble is that their behaviour is so unbelievable that it's difficult to get other people to believe it!

Barbara K. said...

All patients these days have to be so proactive in motioning the care we get. How can someone with a serious mental health condition take on that role for herself? She can't. She's just vulnerable. This is so very sad.

margerydaw said...

thats shocking, makes me really angry...sometimes stuff goes wrong because of there being too few staff but at other times, its bloody laziness..

glad you're back MMW xx

cellar_door said...

That's absolutely appalling. I get depressed thinking about the career I've chosen when you hear stories like this. Being oblivious to her leaving is bad enough, but then to lie and try to cover your arse is just disgusting. At least admit what you've done and take it like a man...

Merelyme said...

Hello...I came over from Barbara K.'s site. I have a definite intereste in schizophrenia as my mother has this. You are doing a great job just by hanging in there.

You can read some of my story about me and my mother here:

http://www.healthcentral.com/schizophrenia/c/474035/49391/mother

It is a great site with lots of support.

Azulinebloo said...

That is a shocking story, but I wanted to add to cellar doors comment. Stories like this encourage me to try my best as a MH nurse to counteract the crap ones!

I feel I have to add that the good ones are my role models and I don't need crap nurses to spur me on!

Mr Mans Wife said...

I agree Barbara. It seems our most vulnerable patients are treated the worst.

Thank you Margery. I just had to get that off my chest after watching that TV drama. It upset me for the rest of the week. You see why I have to live in a bubble sometimes!

Cellar Door, don't give up! Good mental health nurses are absolutely priceless and make all the difference - due to the few we met Mr Man is still alive.

Merely Me, thank you for commenting and thank you for leaving a link. I read about your experiences with you mother, and I found it very touching. Thank you for sharing.

Lol, Bloo I'm glad to hear that you actually know some good nurses to look up to as your role models!!

Ronen said...

Wow!,

seems like the situation is the same all over the world. The hospital's staff don't care about they're patients at all, and they only want to get back home at the end of the day, letting the patients rotten in the department...
http://www.BestSchizophreniaTreatment.com

Polar Bear said...

That is just SO wrong! Hard to comprehend how they can lie so blatantly!!

Also pretty scary to think these people are supposed to care for and be responsible for such vulnerable people.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Ronen, I know what you mean. I don't know what causes this apathy but I suspect it's a combination of office politics and their own prejudices about mental health, despite training.


Polar Bear, I know! People thought I was over reacting when Mr Man was in hospital, but the attitude of these nurses was obvious and I was really scared for his safety. It seems my fears were proved true, albeit a year later and a different patient.