Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Crazy Place To Send People

A woman involuntarily admitted to a New York psychiatric hospital was allowed to sit in a waiting area until she died -- and then another hour -- until she was given some attempted (futile) treatment.

The facility is being sued over the event, a fact that is all the more likely to receive sympathy after the hospital falsely recorded that the deceased woman was waiting quietly, taking trips to the bathroom, and otherwise seeming to enjoy normal use of the waiting area for more than forty minutes after films show she in fact had collapsed on the floor.

The state of mental health in the United States seems pretty bad. If we can't identify dead people in the waiting area of a psych ward, how will we identify mentally ill people suffering in the general population?

There may not be a lot of public interest in mental health, but untreated mental health is costly in lost productivity and consumed services (just because the services aren't sought for a mental health condition doesn't mean they're not sought for traumas, comorbid conditions, etc.).

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