"Lack of help when I needed it most"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

Recently I was admitted for an overdose. The staff in ED were very well equipped to deal with my tachycardia and I appreciate their swift response to work to resolve that.

Following my tachycardia being semi-resolved, I was moved to a quieter area of ED. I asked multiple times to see someone from the psych team as I was in a mental health crisis, hearing voices telling me to injure myself.

I was refused to see a psych and I decided I would leave because I did not feel heard or listened to. As I went to leave, the nurses assured me we'd discuss my situation and get someone to talk to me.

After this, I was moved to a secured toxicology ward where exiting was not possible.

Throughout the night, my dissociation and voices increased and I self-harmed whilst on the ward. When I informed the nurses, I was told that if I didn't do that it wouldn't hurt and when I asked for a Band-Aid, I was told the same thing. On the ward, I also, unknown to myself due to my dissociation, attempted to strangle myself with cords I was connected to. The nurse said it was a stupid thing to do.

Eventually, I got to see a psychiatrist who was extremely understanding and nice and I felt heard and listened to and it was excellent.

The next morning the psych registrar came into my room and informed me that I was being discharged. I asked why and they said I was unsuitable for a psych admission and that due to my diagnosis, psychotherapy would be best. I asked what my diagnosis was and they did not answer. I told them I had suicidal intent and begged to remain in hospital as I could not keep myself safe as I'd harmed myself on the ward without realising and had originally come into the ED after an overdose attempting to take my life. I asked the psychiatrist to review his decision as I disagreed, but they said they were in charge today and it's their decision what happens.

The nurses then came to take my cannula out and asked me to collect my belongings as I was being discharged. I politely asked them not to touch me because I was not leaving.

About 1 hour later another person from psych and another doctor came back to my room and informed me that the decision had not changed and that I needed to leave. I explained to them that I had intent to walk into traffic, or take my partner's chemotherapy tablets, or cut my wrists or even a mixture. I explained that there is a voice in my head telling me to do these things and I cannot control myself when the voice gets too strong. They said the decision was final. One of them told me I had given up on myself and the psych nurse/doctor told me to download a mindfulness app and that that would help me.

Following this interaction, they called security who forcibly removed myself and my friend and showed us out the door onto the road near the taxi rank.

I was not returned a full Webster-pak of medications and when we called to enquire, they had lost them.

I feel absolutely appalled by the care I received in Royal Perth Hospital. I feel as though the staff were not trained at all to deal with mental health crises! I do understand that it was not a psych ward, but if someone has overdosed and is expressing suicidal intent, harming themselves on the ward, you'd assume more empathy and more assistance than I received.

I believe my discharge was unethical and goes against the non-maleficence that doctors and nurses pledge to.

Since my discharge, I was admitted to another hospital after walking into traffic and harming myself further.

Responses

Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear NeededHelp1,

I am sorry to hear of your recent experience at RPH. This is not the level of care that we strive to provide. Without more information I am unable to comment on your treatment or exactly why you were discharged. However, I would like to know more. Can I ask that you please contact my office on 9224 2219 so that we can make a time to talk about this.

Thank you

Dr Lesley Bennett

Acting Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by NeededHelp1 (the patient)

Several complaints have been made to your department to address my treatment.

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