Years ago I was misdiagnosed with being bipolar until it was discovered I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which causes a woman to have a serious hormone imbalance — imagine having PMS 24/7 and a 100 times worse. After getting my PCOS under control with the correct medications and the right doctors everything got better emotionally for me. No more sudden bursts of anger or crying for no reason, etc.
Then about three years later I break my arm and have to go to the ER by myself. I call my husband at work and he came to the ER later on.
While in the hospital my medical records show I had been diagnosed with being bipolar BUT also showed it was a misdiagnosis. However, the ER doctor on call seems to only see that I was diagnosed with a mental disorder and that is that. He seems to completely ignore the misdiagnosis and during the my time in the ER between x-rays and scans, etc. he keeps trying to get me to take the same antipsychotic medications I was on before and even loudly berates me because I “stopped taking my meds.” I try explaining, even give him both my family doctor’s and my gynecologist’s number but he just won’t believe me. Even when my husband finally arrives and tries to talk to him the doctor just won’t listen.
And on top of that, the ER nurses somehow find out about it as well and a few of them (not all) start treating me as if I should be admitted to the psychiatric wing of the hospital for not taking the antipsychotic medications.
The final straw is when the ER doctor leans over me while I am lying down on a hospital bed and gets up in my face and threatens to have the medication injected into me even if they have to hold me down and have me admitted to the psychiatric wing. My husband gets up then and almost grabs the doctor (he later said he was going to beat the crap out of him) but I tell him to stop and I said the magic words that I implore any patient of a hospital in a similar situation use, “I have the right as a patient to refuse any and all medications and procedures and I’m demanding to see a patient advocate NOW!”
Both I and my husband agreed later on that we both have never seen a person get so pale so fast.
The doctor leaves quickly without saying another word and we assume he went to get a patient advocate but about 30 minutes later when a nurse (one of the good ones) comes in to check on us we ask about our request. She didn’t know we had requested to see one and when she goes to check at the nurses station they don’t have any request either. They go ahead and call for one then.
When the patient advocate arrives and my husband and I explain what has been happening he helps us lodge a complaint against the ER doctor and we never saw that doctor again while waiting to be discharged. The few nurses who gave me grief also seem to avoid our room which is fine with us. The patient advocate did say the doctor in question has been updated to the fact my bipolarism really was a misdiagnosis and that we made a formal complaint about his behavior. The advocate ended up apologising on the doctor’s behalf which we both thought was unfair since it should be the doctor doing it.
On leaving the ER with my arm in a cast and feeling good from the painkillers, we pass the nurses’ station. Only the nurses and staff who did NOT judge me smile and say their goodbyes and get wells. The few who treated me like I was less than human have their heads down, apparently doing “paper work.”
I don’t blame the hospital for the way I was treated. I blame that doctor and the few nurses for assuming things without either knowing the whole story or refusing to listen, and thinking anyone with a mental disorder are liars or not to be taken seriously.
It scares me that there could be people with mental disorders being treated the way I was treated.