Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the escape artist

Many people who come in for mental health don't realize that we in the ER take the following words very, very seriously: I am suicidal. Once you make that statement you pretty much guarantee yourself a bed. You aren't going anywhere. You can either go voluntarily or you will be put on a hold.

The vast majority go voluntarily. Some people get pissed. They say we can't keep them there, la la la. We can. Some people try to run. They don't make it far. Our security are pretty fast on their feet. They end up being tackled and then put in restraints. Its a big ugly scene with a lot of shouting, crying, screaming a lot of the time.

I really don't like it when we have to restrain somebody. Usually after we restrain them, we sedate them because they are out of control. It feels really barbaric to put someone in that position. The thing is what choice do we have? We can't let them leave. They are out of control, could hurt themselves or us. Sometimes they do hurt us.

When someone is restrained its a huge deal. They have to be carefully monitored. All that monitoring has to be recorded every 15 minutes. Its very hard to do in a busy ER.

Our ER is not set up well for mental health. We don't have a specific place for it. The rooms are scattered throughout the ER. Its less than ideal. Often it takes hours to complete the process of admission, so people sit there and think about how miserable they are. Sometimes they become more agitated. Its an accident waiting to happen.

I wish it were different.

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