Luke though out his school years showing the effect of medications. You can see it in his eyes.
“What is wrong with doctors? Where do they get their medical degree from? Russia? Those emergency room doctors should work for Comcast if they want to be that slow!” Stated by my youngest son after his autistic brother Luke endured a grueling 21 hour stay stuck in the corner of an emergency room on a gurney.
My oldest son’s main problems focused around him being agitated. Agitation is generally multifactorial and can be seen in autism. It can be triggered from different reasons which may lead to a mental health crisis. Behavioral emergencies are frequently complex and need to be assessed.
Luke was therefore admitted in the ER after exhibiting some erratic behavior while in the care of his father. Since his father and I are separated, our son spends weekends with his dad. When informed by my husband that our son was not doing well, I asked him to bring him home. As an RN, I believed I could help to calm him down. Luke’s behavior at times can be unpredictable, but in all his 20 years on this earth, we have never had to take him to an emergency room for his behavior. In fact, Luke has had only one admission at Children’s hospital for his autism several years ago, but he was allowed to bypass the ER all together.
As a 20-year-old, Luke has begun a new journey of accessing health care through adult services. Here are some of the events as they happened as transcribed from my face book. This is raw data of emotions of my friends in regard to Luke’s crisis. This in fact shows the emotional charge ordinary folks responding to my plea of disdain of what my son was going through and how our health care system is broken. I must warn you many of my friends are doctors and nurses:
My first initial status update on face book:
Alesiablogs: Luke is in the hospital. I would appreciate your prayers. I am not trying to be rude, but the mental health system sucks. He has been left on a gurney in the Emergency Room for 12 hours, because he is not allowed to make a decision if he can voluntary admit himself and as his parents we cannot either. The doctor said she can not either because of state law and that only a mental health provider could who is NOT a doctor. Can you freakin’ believe that? Hello to ADULT MENTAL HEALTH. WE are in for a rude awakening to a very poor system.
Donna: My Prayers are with you.
Connie: So sorry.
Sarah: I’m sorry this is happening. “Boarding” as it’s called is a really abhorrent part of our system! I hope he is evaluated soon!
Desiree: Our system is going bonkers, what happened to common sense .
Tillie:I’ve just been sitting her dumfounded…Praying that your situation improves quickly.
Meagan: Prayers to you and your family Alesia! I wish it surprised me that things are so screwed up! This is what happens when business-people and lawyers are too involved in medical decision-making! So sorry you are all going through this!
Kitty: I hate this for both of you-but there really are no psych beds. they have closed beds all over the country because of cuts.
Patty: Oh Alesia I am so sorry Luke is caught up in this situation. I am afraid it has gone on for years. There have been a number of articles in the newspaper about it with nurses writing editorials about how the system is so inadequate. There are very specific ways someone can be held on a ‘involuntary hold’ and the Mental Health Professionals are the ones who make the call. The person has to be a threat to themselves, a threat to others or in imminent danger something like that. Since Luke would most likely never have had the ability to make decisions for himself, he can’t admit himself voluntarily. They keep closing beds at Western and there are psych patients bordered all over the city on med-surg floors receiving absolutely NO treatment. Can one of his private doctors admit him for a “medication adjustment”? The idea behind the rules is to protect an individual’s rights but that just gets lost in a system that is overloaded.
Rebekah: I am so sorry Alesia! I know the mental health system needs serious changes….I get frustrated with it all the time being in the mental health profession. I am praying that God will open the doors to helping Luke. Dear Lord, please bring the needed resources for getting help for Luke. And get him off that freekin gurney. Give your peace to mom and dad. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Angela: Fight like hell so next time he can get the treatment he needs and deserves!
Carol: I hope we don’t have another situation like that at Boston Children’s Hospital. Horrible…
Linda: That is totally crazy! I hope things have progressed since you posted this. I really detest inaction when someone is in need. I had to appreciate the honesty of the nursing supervisor… “politics” – reading between the lines, he/she doesn’t agree with it either.
AS you can see by these raw emotions from myself and my friends, this situation caused quite an uproar. As of this writing, I have put in a complaint and investigation of the ER admission and what we can be done to have made this outcome better. There were many factors involved here and I hope to share more about them in another post. In a nutshell, there were many people involved with Luke that night that slowed the process down. I literally talked with 10 individuals that night including doctors, nurses, social workers, mental health liaisons, security, third-party social workers called into Luke’s case, and then of course patient relations. The whole system needs to be streamlined. Until my next post, I hope to shed more light on this horrible experience.