What is the point?

A patient voluntarily checks himself into a hospital because he is afraid of harming himself. He has severe depression. He voices his suicidal idealations, a clear cry for help. He is admitted.

The next morning, he was found unconscious with a suicide note beside him. The staff did not have a policy of monitoring his access to drugs. He was sent to a major hospital for resuscitation. He is now in ICU.

If you need access to drugs, which is the best place to go? The hospital, or a pharmacy. Hence it is not surprising to discover healthcare professionals who are substance addicts. The easy access to drugs, coupled with the high pressured workload is an easy trigger for someone to walk down the addiction pathway.

If you are a suicidal patient, and you are not closely monitored, and let’s say, you discovered a way to get hold of drugs, then what happens? I find it very strange that healthcare staff are not more vigilant in monitoring this patient, especially when it is obvious this patient wants help to stop his depressive behaviour. If you do not have the resources, then surely you should be refering this patient onto another hospital who is better equipped to manage such patients? If all these boils down to financial transactions, then it is a very sad affair.

As fellow healthcare professionals, when we encounter such situations, we usually frown, give a grunt of disapproval, shrug and move on. We do not usually whistle blow because the process is complex, ugly and seriously not worth the time. We have a shortage of doctors with patients to care for. No one is interested in the legal wrangling business. But i can tell you one thing, it gives you a very bad look. You lose our respect, and your reputation is marred in our professional circles. Plus you are not getting any referrals from us.

This is about peoples’ lives. Think about it.

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