Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

LETTER: Hospital is not a safe place for an aggressive psychiatric patient

Not everyone who comes to hospital can be kept safe inside

(Re: Chilliwack mother upset about son’s alleged suicide attempt after hospital discharge, Chilliwack Progress, Dec. 3, 2020.)

1. The spokesperson for psychiatry made many valid statements!

2 They cannot keep everyone that comes in to hospitals.

3. Psychiatrists make thorough assessments, they consult with EPNs (emergency psychiatric nurses who also perform an in-depth assessment), the medical doctors in the emergency room also see and assess (albeit briefly, for the most part) psychiatric patients.

4. Often for psychiatric patients, who also have addiction issues, the wait is too long in ER and the patient will begin to withdraw and crave drug use more than the desire to stay in hospital. If they insist on leaving, they usually deny any suicidal ideation at this time, because they need to go. No drugs they are given in ER satisfy these cravings, and it’s very, very difficult to keep them safe at this point. (Doctors must meet the criteria when sectioning a patient and it requires two doctors to do so.)

5. Drug addiction, combined with mental illness and aggression are very common with crystal meth use, and are a huge concern for a mother.

We are so worried about our children. However we can’t keep them in our homes (because their behaviour is not safe for our home). We don’t want them on the streets or in jail, however, we need someone to keep them safe from themselves (and the vulture drug dealers). Sadly, hospital is just not the place.

If the intent is to keep all patients, staff, visitors and families safe, hospital is just not the place for a young male who is aggressive, with a bipolar disorder, and a drug addiction to crystal methamphetamine. It’s just not.

Lesley B (retired psych nurse)

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