Yesterday I had a traumatic experience in the ER of a local hospital. I will tell the story briefly and omit graphic details. I went to the ER for a minor medical emergency. The two doctors who attended me were of the opinion that because of my psychiatric diagnoses I must be imagining the problem and that there was actually nothing wrong with me. They first bungled a feeble attempt at treatment after I insisted they provide medical intervention for my complaint. I was then told to wait in the exam room for them to return with further assistance. The next doctors to enter the room were two psychiatrists. They informed me that the medical doctors had asked them to evaluate me for possible involuntary admission to the hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit. A lengthy interrogation followed which included questions on whether I was having suicidal ideation and whether I was hearing voices and seeing things that were not there. They then departed and said they would return presently with their decision regarding my forced admission to the psychiatric unit. I then waited for two hours. Finally one of the medical doctors returned to tell me I was now free to go home. I requested that my original medical complaint be satisfactorily resolved. This doctor refused on the grounds that I was now medically cleared and any perceived symptoms were a product of my imagination. So as nothing more was to be done I returned home. I am now going to file a formal complaint against these two medical doctors with the hospital’s patient relations department. In addition I intend to sue both of these doctors for malpractice.
This experience illustrates very clearly one of the many kinds of discrimination and abuse suffered by the mentally ill on a daily basis. In this case it was an example of the extreme prejudice against psychiatric patients practiced by so many medical doctors. Other forms of discrimination and abuse commonly perpetrated against members of our community include firing from jobs, being given unfairly low grades and then being forced to leave college, and being shunned and ignored by all the members of our own immediate families.
My decision to take a stand after this traumatic ordeal serves both the practical goal of advocating for myself in this instance, as well as the symbolic one of protesting not only all the similar injustices in my own past life, but also all those perpetrated against every member of our community.