June 16, 2010 1

Hospital Story

By in montreal

Something I don’t usually do on this blog. A acquaintance of mine e-mailed me a very unpleasant hospital story. I just find it upsetting, but he wants to spread it around. His name is Robert M.Smith. A long-time Montrealer, and a good writer & poet, he feels intimidated by blogs and the web. Even so, you can check out his work on his site,. And here’s a sketch of his I stole from that site:
(c) Robert Smith

Here’s his story:

I would like to make public and protest against the brutality against the mentally ill and elderly people with Alzheimer’s in our Montreal hospitals. I was in the Emergency of the Montreal General on the night of June 11-12 for a heart problem. I must say I was treated very professionally, but I witnessed an entire episode lasting an hour or two and involving an elderly gentleman called George G., who was disoriented as to time and place.

Two officers of the SPVM brought him in. At first he was quite calm, but he wanted to go home. He was adamant about that. A woman doctor called Dr Lajoie interviewed him. She asked him what month it was and what year it was; he couldn’t answer. He claimed to have been married and sometimes claimed to have one, two and three children. The doctor wanted to examine him and he refused. He threatened to hit the doctor if she touched him, so she proceeded to order restraints.

I wouldn’t treat an animal this way. The man was way over seventy years old, and a whole battery of security guards, orderlies and nurses overpowered him by force. They did give him the option of choosing to cooperate or be subjected to force. However, this confused old man was in no position to choose. I heard him screaming in pain for at least an hour, because they were hurting his sore knee and holding him down forcefully while they injected him with 2 mg of Ativan at first and then enough tranquilizers to knock out a horse. He kept protesting against this treatment and threatening to sue them and to beat them up. Once he was knocked out and asleep, the nurses exchanged little jokes about him, which I thought was pretty distasteful.

Now I suppose the hospital Ombudsman would tell me this is a normal procedure. Imagine if that old man was your father. Do you think it is normal to bully people like this in a care-giving environment?
– Robert Smith

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One Response to “Hospital Story”

  1. Carrie says:

    It is so painful to hear these stories — the lack of understanding by professionals who are supposed to be trained to deal with these kinds of situations. While I understand (and know from experience) that mentally ill people can be extremely difficult to deal with, they are still PEOPLE. Suffering – both physically and mentally – needs compassion, not restraints and jokes.

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