Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hospitalization (Part III)

Before I was taken to the psychiatric unit, I asked to speak to a patient rights advocate.  I felt I was not receiving the quality of care I should have been getting, since I was being denied pain medication.  I was informed that the hospital's policy was that a patient rights advocate would contact a patient on request withing 24 hours of the request.  I also asked several times to speak to the social worker I'd talked to earlier but was told she was not available.  I asked to speak to someone in charge of the ER and was told by the nurse that she'd see if the person in charge was available, but I guess that person was not available because I never saw anyone in charge.

After about eight hours in the ER, I was finally take up to the psychiatric unit, where I was happy to find there was no patient in the other bed in my room.  At least I had a room to myself.

I was on the unit almost three hours before I finally got some pain medication.  I kept asking for it, over and over again, and was told that it had finally been ordered for me but that it often took a few hours for the pharmacy to send medication upstairs.  No one seemed very concerned about my pain.

About the time my pain meds finally got to the floor, the nurse told me that the patient rights advocate was there to speak with me.  However, the man correct her and said he was not a patient rights advocate, he was a chaplain.  I asked why a chaplain had been sent to see me but no one seemed to know.  The nurse seemed confused to hear that a chaplain and a patient rights advocate are not the same thing.  I certainly had not asked to speak to a chaplain.  I am not Christian and would not expect to find a pagan chaplain working in my local hospital.

The chaplain asked if he could talk to me anyway, even though I hadn't asked to see him.  I agreed to speak to him because I was upset that no one was listening to me and thought perhaps he could do... something.  I don't know what I thought he might be able to do for me but I guess I thought he could get in touch with the patient rights advocate or talk to someone in charge about what was happening.   He never told me he could do those things, I was just hoping.  That's not what he did, though.

He asked me what happened that caused me to cut myself.  I didn't feel like trying to explain everything so I just said something like, "I've had depression for years and years.  A lot of bad stuff happened to me when I was a child."  He told me that had a lot of bad stuff happen to him when he was a child, too, and that he used to suffer from depression, as well. 

Can you guess what's coming?  He got over his depression.  He was cured.  Now he is filled with joy, and all because he found God.  He prayed and he forgave the people that hurt him, and that's all it took to cure his depression.  He was sure it would work for me, too.  All I needed to do was to pray and forgive the people that hurt me, and then I wouldn't be depressed anymore and would not need to be hospitalized ever again.


  1. I feel terrible that you had to go thru this awful experience. It would be a terrible time even if your issues were only physical. Mental health issues make the situations like this so much worse for the patient.

    If possible, and you feel like you are able, follow up with your hospital leadership and such.

    I hope things get better for you soon. Know that you aren't alone. Just some of us are lucky enough to have better doctors and better hospitals.

    1. Thanks. I did follow up as much as I could. I met with the director of the ER and someone from Risk Management in person, after I was discharged. I spoke with the director of the psychiatric department, too. And with a patient rights advocate. None of them seemed to care. The director of the ER said no one in the ER charted that I'd asked for pain meds. She said she asked the nurses that cared for me in the ER and they all denied I ever requested pain meds. She told me having cuts stapled is not painful.

      I filed a formal grievance with the hospital. I have no idea what happened with that. No one ever got back to me about it.

      I also filed a complaint against the emergency room physician that treated me with the state medical board. They are supposed to notify me of their conclusion at the end of their investigation, but that might take a long time. I don't expect them to do anything. But at least the complaint will be on his record.

  2. I'm sorry that happened to you. I'm a Christian and I can't believe the Chaplain took advantage of your vulnerable situation to proselytize to you.