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Old 09-07-2008, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces and loving it!
576 posts, read 2,115,136 times
Reputation: 850

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I have a friend who is bright, witty, and intelligent; she is also diagnosed with clinical depression. On Saturday she started having a reaction because she ran out of some of her prescription pills--poor planning being one of the manifestations of her illness. She had a kind of breakdown, felt suicidal, and quite sensibly took herself to the emergency room of the local hospital for help and so that she would be safe. I visited her there. She was no danger to anyone else, just curled up and sobbing. If I had known what was coming, I would never have left her side, but after a couple of hours I went home to my family when she assured me she would be okay and just wanted to sleep.

They kept her under observation in the ER for a few hours, then told her she would be transferred to Roswell to the hospital there for further testing. The next thing she knew, the local police showed up, handcuffed and shackled her, and took her to the jail. Her clothes were taken away from her and she was given a kind of vest with velcro closings to cover her nakedness. They wouldn't let her make a telephone call. She was put into a cement holding cell that contained no toilet, no sink, no place to sit, no bed, no blankets. She was left there all night.

This is a 59-year old woman who has chronic back problems. They wouldn't allow her to have her pain pills and she ended up lying on the cement floor trying to sleep--cold, frightened, suicidal, and in a great deal of pain. The only way she could access bathroom facilities was to pound on the door and yell for someone to take her. She said the staff would look right at her through the plexiglass window and walk away.

In the morning she was given her clothing, some hot cereal, and was made to sign involuntary commitment papers, although she told them it wasn't necessary because she only wanted to be in a safe place and was seeking help quite voluntarily. She was shackled with chains and handcuffed again and taken by a sheriff to Roswell. When she arrived at the hospital they weren't sure what to do with her, as the sending hospital had sent no information about her to them. She was eventually admitted and has seen a psychiatrist who provided the missing pills and feels that she is no longer a danger to herself. She'll be released in the next couple of days.

She asked the sheriff on the way down to Roswell why this was happening. He said that it was the hospital's policy, that this is the way they always handle cases like hers, and that neither the sheriff nor the police liked having anything to do with "this stuff." He advised that she get a good lawyer and "sue the hell out of them." We are asking around to find a lawyer for her.

Have you heard of anything like this happening elsewhere in New Mexico?

~clairz
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Old 09-07-2008, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
76,079 posts, read 88,987,299 times
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If you have lived in NM very long you may understand some of the problems that have transpired in the past 2 or 3 years with medically diagnosed depression. I am sure it is hard for those who stand by to be objective and some of us do not totally understand, but we all have to realize past situations can cause future concerns. Let's hope all turns out well for her.

Nita
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Old 09-07-2008, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces and loving it!
576 posts, read 2,115,136 times
Reputation: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
If you have lived in NM very long you may understand some of the problems that have transpired in the past 2 or 3 years with medically diagnosed depression.
Nita
Can you tell me more?

~clairz
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Burque!
3,556 posts, read 9,299,068 times
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Sue 'em.
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Old 09-08-2008, 06:45 AM
 
271 posts, read 1,089,975 times
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yes I have heard of a similar situation here in southern NM but I'm not sure
about the police part of it but this lady was put in a velcro suit and taken
to a some facility for the mentally ill in Las Cruces. This lady is also
clincally depressed. She seems fine now but I'll ask her if the police were
involved in her situation. I guess the smaller hospitals do not know how
to handle these cases and yes it is sad. Actually I'm pretty sure the lady
I'm referring to has been diagnosed as Bi-Polar. Hope your friend is
going to be alright and hopefully she will keep her meds stocked up.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:36 AM
 
2,857 posts, read 6,149,824 times
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I am by no means defending what happened, but she should have gone to a hospital that has a mental ward. It was probably standard procedure when transporting her, to restrain her for her own protection. Sounds like a nightmare.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Las Cruces and loving it!
576 posts, read 2,115,136 times
Reputation: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino View Post
I am by no means defending what happened, but she should have gone to a hospital that has a mental ward. It was probably standard procedure when transporting her, to restrain her for her own protection. Sounds like a nightmare.
Apparently the nearest hospital with a mental ward is at least 2 hours away, not a journey for someone who is suicidal. She was seeking safety the best way she knew how and ended up being treated like a criminal, or in the way mental patients were treated a couple of hundred years ago.

Now they plan to release her in a day or two, as the psych evaluation there showed that she was no danger to herself or others now that she has her medications again. She is two hours away from home with no transportation. We, of course, will go down to get her, but what if she didn't have us to help her?

I am worried that the next time she has a crisis she won't go near the hospital after this experience. What happens when she tries to deal with a breakdown on her own because she has no safe place to go?

~clairz
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:46 AM
 
2,857 posts, read 6,149,824 times
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Luckily she has a friend like you who can drive her two hours to the nearest psych hospital.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Las Cruces and loving it!
576 posts, read 2,115,136 times
Reputation: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino View Post
Luckily she has a friend like you who can drive her two hours to the nearest psych hospital.
Yes, that is just what we would have done if we had known what was in store for her. I'm worried, of course, that when she is in crisis next time she might not ask us for help. She thinks of her illness as something that is somehow her own fault. The local health authorities haven't done anything to help her with that issue.

~clairz
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:07 AM
 
946 posts, read 3,019,635 times
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Does she get any counseling or psychological counseling? Clinical depression in its various forms usually has to be treated with appropriate medication -- but counseling can help with the feelings that it is her fault and other issues.

The worst thing, however, is a counselor who is opposed to medication and advices her to go off her meds.

Also of course -- counseling costs money and most insurance does NOT cover it well. It is not an easy situation as long as our society doesn't fully respond to mental health needs. It can be hard in our society even to find a qualified doctor to prescribe and monitor her meds. Some states allow qualified nurse practitioners to prescribe and monitor meds and they can do an excellent job at a more affordable rate. I don't know if NM allows this.

I wish your friend the best. She is lucky to have a friend like you.
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