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Avatar universal

should I look for a new facility?

A family member was having a psychotic episode , so I brought her to the emergency room. I was hard to get the Dr and nurses to understand she was having hallucination because they were not seeing it. I repeatedly told them about the hallucinations. They said her blood work was fine except for low potassium and where about to discharge her. I had to plead with them that there had to be something elsde wrong with her. They said they only way for her to be admitted was for her to agree. She agreed to be admitted for observation overnight. I then left her there in the care of the miedical team. That night she was able to get her morphine pills (prescibed due to a pancrease mass that was found 5 months ago that is not able to be diagnosed) out of her purse and tried to commit suicide in the hospital. She is on suicide watch now. My question is should I try to take her to a different facility due to neglect? Them seem to still think this was all done due to depression over a boyfriend breakup(which is part of the parnoid hallucinations she is having) and has not mentioned the psychosis at all  
3 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
This sounds terrible and I'm sorry you and your family member is going through this.  It's my understanding that a suicide attempt would involve an involuntary hold of up to 72 hours.  There are all sorts of laws regarding holding patients and it's a difficult thing.  Do you feel the neglect has to do with their providing the pain medication (although, that's a little crazy as usually medication is dolled out very carefully.  She had her own pills with her?  Trying to understand what happened).  Is there a psychiatrist on the floor assessing her?  A psychiatric involuntary hold is usually considered a last resort.  What type of hallucinations is she having?
2 Comments
Yes. She had her on medication that was prescribed before this incident. She was having visual and audible hallucinations but it's like the come and go. The Dr and nurses did not see any of this behavior, but I had told them that we as a family have seen her talking about the people she is seeing. Unfortunately there is no psych floor at this hospital  she is now in neurological ICU under watch until further notice. I am just concerned that they let her keeps are prescibe meds in her purse in her personal possession the first night she was admitted for low potassium  even though we told the ER staff we brought her in for hallucinations. she has no history of mental illness besides anxiety with she is on zoloft and wellbutrin for
Typically they monitor a patient and they aren't to bring in their own medication and dose themselves.  That's unusual unless she was sneaking it. Does she have an addiction problem?
Avatar universal
You may tell the doctor how she was behaving. Now that she tried suicide they will watch her very closely, probably for the next 3 days. Doctors like to get input from other people who know the patient better. Patients know how to "act normal" when they know they are being observed. Other people, family, friends, willing to be interviewed by doctor, can provide useful descriptions. (Sometimes it has to be a "one way" conmunication, where you can tell them anything and they listen, but they can't tell you anything, due to privacy issues.)
5 Comments
We have been trying to tell the Dr and nurses this is not normal behavior and they dont seem to want to listen to the family. They are seeing the the bloodwork is normal. I was just wandering if I should change facilities since it seems like they would have took her personal belongings along with the medication she had since we explained to them the irrational behavior . I am just confused as to why she was able to down a bottle of pills under the supervision of the hospital after we had stressed the importance of her mental behavior even though  she was not showing psychotic signs in front of them
I don't understand the mention of bloodwork.  You can't diagnose mental illness through bloodwork, as science hasn't figured out what causes it.  That would be looking for a disease state but not mental illness.  But here's where I'm very confused.  You say she's on Zoloft and wellbutrin, which means she has a doctor or psychiatrist treating her for mental illness.  That's the person who should be consulted about confinement.  You might also say she has been only diagnosed with anxiety.  That raises another possibility, which is that the medication is causing the further problems.  This is assuming she didn't have these problems before she started taking medication.  The problem you're facing is a lack of beds at mental health facilities.  As for her taking her meds into the hospital, they aren't a police agency, they don't search you.  They do have a rule against bringing your own meds into a hospital, but the truth is, that's just so they can sell you one pill at a time from their own pharmacy and charge a fortune for it.  Again, they aren't a police agency, so if someone has a prescription, they have to take their pills.  But I'll repeat, if she has a doctor or psychiatrist, they should have admitting privileges and they should have the full story of her mental health.
I just assumed that since we brought her to the emergency room due to the fact that she was hallucinating and I was in fear of her safety that they would have took the bottle of opioids she had after admitting her and I would have also assumed that they would have contacted her emergency contact after she was found unconscious on the floor of the hospital after trying to commit suicide , but you know what the say about assuming . One thing I have found out through this process is that it is impossible to get a loved one help for hallucinations unless they agree to the help. The law and medical industry can not help.  UTMB of Galveston did not help but only allowed my family member to harm herself then discharged her less than 48hrs later.
Also as far as bloodwork goes the hallucinations can be caused by potassium or magnesium levels being off. They tend to medically find a cause before assuming it is mental
Yes, I agree bloodwork was a good thing to do, I just didn't see what that had to do with why they were discharging her.  It is true, having hallucinations doesn't forfeit your human rights.  Being a threat to yourself or others does.  The latter is a reason for confinement.  Remember, emergency facilities are triage facilities -- they don't provide long-term treatment.  Her doctor or psychiatrist does that, so that's for whoever prescribed her the medication.  But if she tried to commit suicide, I don't understand why they would let her go.  A story I know of -- a local psychiatrist was in charge of a local hospital admissions for mental patients, and he let go someone who had told him if he was let go he would either commit suicide or kill someone.  Due to a lack of beds the psychiatrist let the person go on his own to find a halfway house or a psychiatrist, and the person kept his word, took a hostage, and committed suicide by cop.  The psychiatrist lost his job, lost his license for awhile, and now mostly does CBT therapy.  His former partner is my psychiatrist.  Which is to say, the American health care system is very hard to negotiate and isn't always focused on health.  It is often more focused on money.  That's why every candidate running for President since Theodore Roosevelt has talked about trying to change our system, mostly failing.  But if you keep trying, you might find the best results.  Peace.
Avatar universal
Bloodwork can be done to rule out other possibilities, such as low thyroid.

Sounds like a good doctor who listens and understands has yet to be found. I'd keep looking. Ask other people for suggestions on who to try.
6 Comments
I agree, assuming they actually check the thyroid and not the adrenal gland, which they usually don't actually do unless you ask for it.  What I don't understand, though, is what that would have to do with keeping her or discharging her if she's in crisis.  That has nothing to do with the bloodwork.
They can not keep anyone even in crisis against there will.
That's not entirely true.  If someone is deemed a threat to themselves or others they can be involuntarily committed.
Well me and my family just lived it. Apparently we are dealing with hospital neglect
Guess it also depends on who is making that decision.  If someone intentionally overdosed on opioids and still have hallucinations,  in my opinion they are still a threat to themselves. In UTMB of Galveston did not seem to think so and was allowed to leave AMA about 36 hrs later
I'm not sure who makes the determination.  I think it has to be gov't authorities, and the agency that does that probably differs by the locality.  I'm guessing if a doctor at the hospital thought it was necessary they'd still have to go through some form of due process to do it, as having a mental illness doesn't void an American of their rights.  But hallucinations by themselves wouldn't probably lead to forced confinement.  The overdose, if intentional, would seem to call for it.
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