A Glimpse into Our World

A Glimpse into Our World

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.

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Published in Senior Health


  1. sarifa

    how can you sue some one who has done nothing but talked to you ?if you see things that are not there its is normally a problem but suit a doctor for that now i have heard it all ,dont get laugh out of the lawyers office or then again he will take your money and you still have nothing in the end , just saying …

    1. patak

      Not so sure you are right here sarifa the problems encountered by Laurie bring to light some serious failings in clinical care. From Laurie’s description of the events it is clear that psychiatrists who attended did not consider that the medical complaint Laurie wanted treatment for was imaginary. Then to keep her waiting two hours for the attending doctor to inform her that she could go home without proper medical care are grounds for medical negligence. If this had happened in this country (UK) the press would have had a field day and would have been the subject of a complaint to the secretary of state for health. He I am sure would have requested an urgent investigation to establish why this had happened. Too many doctors assume that just because you have a mental illness it means you are crazy and have imaginary illnesses. It’s about time these so called professionals are taken to task and hit where it hurts most their pockets and reputation. I wish you good luck Laurie in your efforts to seek redress.

      1. Gael

        The stigmitization of mental problems is alive and well. Ignorance prevails even among, obviously, supposedly trained professionals.

        The abuse suffered by those in institutions is beyond words. The effort to educate and expose the abuses must continue.

  2. waylander

    Assuming the medical problem actually was a medical problem and not a product of your other problems and that this was not addressed, then I’d say go for it, Laurie and the best of luck with it.

    Discrimination comes in a lot of forms, from those with mental illnesses (ex forces etc) with stress related problems to age, gender and perceived (by toffee nosed doctors) class distinctions.

    I’ve had a few run ins with some of them, but never had to resort to the courts to get it sorted.

    If you feel that’s the best way for you to go, then I applaud your guts and confidence. Go get em!

  3. roseinbloom

    Laurie, I am glad you did this blog. Too many times older women are not given treatment and told they have an emotional issue so if you actually have an emotional issue, I am sure it would be worse. I know a woman who died of brain cancer but but first she was told her headaches were probably menopausal because she was in her late 40s. I know of one woman who was 95 and had to switch doctors before she could get medication for a heart condition and I know of one whose surgery was delayed because she said her tiredness was from depression, She was about 80 y.o. and later had heart valve surgery.
    I am sorry you went through that, but when you advocate for yourself, you advocate for all.

  4. starlette

    Laurie, just as a matter of interest did you get the physical problem sorted…….a visit to your doctor with confirmation of the problem would help your case……any evidence that you can obtain would be to your benefit…..good luck….xx

  5. PamfromTX

    I’m so sorry that you encountered this so called ‘negligence’ by the doctors who attended you. And I agree… go see your family and/or primary doctor to help with your case. Good luck to you. Hugs…

  6. lani36

    Laurie , i can tunderstand why they would not evaluate your medical discomfort before they called two phsyciatrists , surely they would have to sort the physical complaint first , that just makes common sense to me ….and if they didnt ,..you have a case of medical malpractice ,.. they cannott just jump to a conmclusion as such without an examination… if it were here the same as the U.K. you would have the health department investigating that situation once reported… as was advised by another chatter… go get another medical certificate for your physica lillness by a G.P. before you commence proceedings, the more evidence you have the more assitance will be provided… good luck with your mission…. be aware it could cost you ,becasue it will be upon you to prove it was not your state of mind,….. its a cruel world we live in now and most times it can be the victim that gets punished not the perpertrators , as seems to be the case with these Drs….. best of Luck honey ((((hugs))))) Lani xxx

  7. Debbie4958

    I have no faith whatsoever with the mental health system…been down that road way too many times with family. Good luck with it all Laurie…go get them girl..xx

  8. Linda

    I can understand. One night I had my stomach become numb and the numbness started to run up my right side and then up my neck. I have had a mini stroke before. I went to the ER and by the time I got there there was no numbness. I was in their small admitting office telling them what had happened. I told them that I knew I had been under a lot of stress and that I also had had a mini stroke. They wrote me a prescription for anxiety and let me go. I received a bill for both ER for $1,100 and Doctor for $670. Expensive trip for me letting them know what I thought it might be. Stress can manifest itself in your body many ways and give you false symptoms.

    They (medical doctors) did not check the problem you were having? Was it something they could have seen by a medical test? Have you gone there before for same reason?

    1. pariba

      Hi Laurie,
      I am saddened to read about your recent negative experience at the ER.
      I am not a specialist in mental health nor do I suffer from a mental illness my self so I can only imagine how life must be for you.
      However despite this factor I do have an understanding that mental health can affect anyone and is not dependent on age, race or gender. Injustice of any kind is not nice hence I wish you well in your plight for recognition.

      Kind Regards,

  9. jkm847

    Laurie I am sorry to hear this. I worked in the psych unit of a prison and I can assure you the prisoners had excellent health care. Having said that. I know by experience as a patient that in the free world older women fall through the cracks in the health care system.