Emergency Room Nightmare

For everything and anything else not covered in the other RLS sections.
Rustsmith
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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by Rustsmith »

Some of you may have noticed that I have not posted anything on the board for almost two weeks. The reason is because an Emergency Room doctor decided that I was suicidal and a danger to myself, so he had me involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. The commitment was supposed to only be for a 72hr "observation", but the psych hospital did everything they could to keep me there and it eventually was extended to almost 8 days (including Christmas and a weekend).

On the Monday evening before Christmas, my RLS decided to kick into high gear. There was no way that I my legs were going to let me fall asleep that night, the weather was freezing cold so I could not go out for a walk and my mood was somewhat down as a result of the after effects of an experiment with Wellbutrin over Thanksgiving that had been a total disaster. I asked my wife to call my psychiatrist's after hours phone number thinking that she might be able to provide something that would help me fall asleep. After all, she was the one that had prescribed the Wellbutrin that started my journey down this path and she was familiar with my situation. As it turned out, the after hours number that I asked my wife to call was the local hospital's Emergency Room. My wife was told to bring me to the ER for help. I agreed to go (big mistake on my part) thinking that the ER would be able to contact my psychiatrist to get advice on what needed to be done to help me.

In the ER, I was asked very vague questions about suicide, which I answered honestly. I was never directly asked if I intended to commit suicide or had suicidal intent. But based upon my answers, the ER doctor decided that I was suicidal and issued the 72 hr hold. I was put into a vehicle similar to a police car (bars on windows and very little leg room in the back seat) and was sent to a hospital that was about 180 miles away). I arrived there at about 5A.

When I got to the hospital, when I got my first round of RLS meds, I found out that Tramadol was not on the hospital's formulary, so they simply decided not to give it to me. Several hours later, my hands started to shake and my legs started to become restless. Over the next several hours, the shaking continued to get worse and worse. Toward the end, I was sweating and shaking so bad that I could not walk. I could only curl up in a ball and shake, much like the classic videos of an addict coming off of heroin. All the hospital staff did was tell me to "hang in there" and you will get the other half of your RLS meds in a few hours.

My shaking finally ended about an hour before I was supposed to get the other half of my RLS meds (methadone). I declined the methadone when offered because I have opioid-induced insomnia and taking methadone at 8P would prevent me from getting any sleep until 6A. Since I only had the few meds in my system that I had been given at lunchtime, I ended up walking around the psych ward for hours and hours most of Christmas Eve.

There were other nightmarish issues that occurred before I finally returned home late on New Years Eve. But they are not relevant to my warning:

If you are a severe or very severe RLS patient and need to go to the ER for any reason, be very careful how you respond to any questions about suicide or mood and make it very clear that you are not a suicide risk (unless your are there because you do feel like a suicide risk). Keep in mind that may areas have laws that allow a physician to place a 72 hr hold on you, which essentially means that you are being placed under what feels like a "medical arrest", you will not be allowed to go home or leave the facility where you will be sent and you will feel like you have essentially no rights.

I am still emotionally recovering from this experience and am trying to put my life back together after this "experience". Therefore, for a while, I will not be posting as often as usual.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

stjohnh
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:13 pm
Location: Palo Alto, California

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by stjohnh »

I'm so sorry for your troubles.
Blessings,
Holland

Rustsmith
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Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by Rustsmith »

Thanks Holland.

Since depression is something that many of us struggle with as a result of sleep deprivation, I just want everyone to know that you have to be very careful what you tell doctors who are not familiar with RLS if the start asking questions that touch upon depression and suicide. Otherwise you could temporarily lose everything you love and your freedom for an undetermined period of time.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

stjohnh
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:13 pm
Location: Palo Alto, California

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by stjohnh »

As Steve mentioned, if you are not truly suicidal (I.E. are seriously contemplating suicide, have thought about how you would kill yourself, and see no other way out of your current problems), you might well find yourself in the situation that Steve experienced.

ER docs are trained to check on these issues when a person with emotional upset goes to the ER. ER docs are super-afraid of getting sued and one way occurs if a patient goes to the ER with emotional complaints and subsequently kills themself. If the ER doc hasn't documented "good" answers to the suicide questions, the ER doc will send that person for a 72 hour evaluation. This is NOT subject to refusal by the patient or his family. If the patient attempts to refuse, the ER will call the police, who will transport the patient, against his will, usually in handcuffs, to the locked psychiatric evaluation facility.
Blessings,
Holland

Bridgercan
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:43 pm
Location: Montana

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by Bridgercan »

Steve—I’m so sorry to hear what you had to get through in name of getting help. Your term “medical arrest” sums it up terribly well—an awful experience no one should have to go through when seeking help.

Your experience resonates deeply with me for I too have been committed to hospital for a similar situation when the fool of a psychiatrist changed my meds then went on vacation. Involuntarily confinement is a completely dreadful experience especially when prescribed psychotropic drugs put you on the road there and without your RLS medication you’re forced to suffer even more.

May you find peace and healing soon, and I extend to you much empathy.

-nick

debbluebird
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 3:27 pm

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by debbluebird »

So sorry to hear about your experience. I understand totally. Too many Doctors just don't get it.
I was admitted to a psych hospital on a Friday night for the same reason. My primary Doctor was off that day and it was the PA that got me into the mess. When I went to the ER, I was told by the PA, they could give me something for sleep, keeping me a night or two. The ER Doctor wasn't the problem in my case. They told me they couldn't keep me, but a psych hospital could and give me something for sleep. They asked me how I felt and I told them. Then the psych hospital thought they were giving me something that would quiet my legs. It increased my leg issues instead. I paced almost the whole time I was there. During the weekend the staff pretty much ignored me. I did speak to a Doctor on Saturday morning, I think, it might have been right after lunch. I was so out of it from lack of sleep. The whole thing was because the sleep Doctor wanted me off methadone a month earlier. By the time a month had passed I did want to die. I was so sleep deprived along with my legs going crazy. I was released Monday, and I saw my primary, got restarted on methadone and got better. I have fought depression my whole life too. Sleep deprivation puts me right into a tail spin.

Yankiwi
Posts: 439
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:20 am
Location: West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by Yankiwi »

Steve and Debbie, so sorry for your recent nightmares. They make my three or four hour stints up in the night pale in significance.

ViewsAskew
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by ViewsAskew »

Deb - that is terrifying that this happened to you, too! I honestly am beside myself about this. What do we have to do to be safe?
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

QyX
Posts: 703
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:53 pm
Location: Berlin / Germany

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by QyX »

I've made similar experiences and was committed involuntary two times to a psychiatric clinic myself for "bipolar disorder" and "drug abuse" in the years before I was properly diagnosed with RLS. I am really very sorry to hear what has happened to you.

What happened with the RLS meds in the end? I can't believe they simply didn't give you the Tramadol and let you suffer from RLS symptoms for hours. This is just barbaric and sadistic and in my opinion is very unlikely to happen in a hospital in Germany in that way.

Unbelievable, I wish you could sue those people for the unnecessary suffering for not giving you the Tramadol in time. Disgusting behaviour by the people responsible.

Polar Bear
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Location: N. Ireland

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by Polar Bear »

These are truly terrifying situations, all through no fault of the patient.
That it can happen scares and angers me.
I am so sorry for those that experienced this.

QyX said
I can't believe they simply didn't give you the Tramadol and let you suffer from RLS symptoms for hours
I think that in Steve's case the psych hospital did not have any Tramadol.
Betty
http://www.willis-ekbom.org/about-rls-wed/publications
Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation

QyX
Posts: 703
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:53 pm
Location: Berlin / Germany

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by QyX »

Polar Bear wrote:These are truly terrifying situations, all through no fault of the patient.
That it can happen scares and angers me.
I am so sorry for those that experienced this.

QyX said
I can't believe they simply didn't give you the Tramadol and let you suffer from RLS symptoms for hours
I think that in Steve's case the psych hospital did not have any Tramadol.
This is a horrible excuse from the hospital because they could have used almost any other opioid.

Codeine or Dihydrocodeine are about as strong as Tramadol ... or as an alternative low dose Morphine or Oxycodone ... there would have been plenty of options. No reason to make the patient suffer so many hours. I think this is simply pathetic behaviour from the physicians.

Polar Bear
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Location: N. Ireland

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by Polar Bear »

To me it screams of neglect to let a patient suffer so.
To actually not replace the Tramadol screams of neglect.
Betty
http://www.willis-ekbom.org/about-rls-wed/publications
Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation

peanut1
Posts: 352
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:06 am

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by peanut1 »

Steve,

I really hope you sue them over this on principle if anything else. I had a situation where I went to the doctor to get some medication and was honest about the suicidal thought. I also had a counseling appointment right after that and told them and they ended up lying to me, calling the police and I ended up missing the appointment. thankfully, I had documentation on the appointment so the police let me go. It's absolutely barbaric the way they treat issues like this, particularly since people with severe RLS have an increased rate of suicide.

peanut1
Posts: 352
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:06 am

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by peanut1 »

Thank heavens Germany is a little more humane!

ViewsAskew
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Emergency Room Nightmare

Post by ViewsAskew »

I do get that they don't want people to commit suicide, but there MUST be a better way to ensure the safety of people AND ensure that those said people are taken care of.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

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