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Intra-Muscular Injections March 27, 2010

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Involuntary Committment, Medication, Mental Hospital, mental illness, Psych Ward.
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At the mental hospital, although there was no alternative to taking the medication, there was an alternative to taking the medication orally. If you didn’t take the pills by mouth, you took them via “intra-muscular injections” – a fancy name for a shot.  Amazing as it sounds, some of the patients continually refused to take the medications by mouth, so they were given their medication by shot- over and over again.  Possibly as a side effect of the medications, some of the patients didn’t remember on a day-to-day basis that refusing to take the medications wasn’t an option.

Some patients refused their medications because they didn’t like the way the medications made them feel.  Because of the awful side effects, the patients became slow-thinking, fuzzy, or otherwise mentally impaired to the point that they wanted to discontinue their medications.  They would cry and scream and beg the nurses not to make them take the pills. Failing that plan, when the nurses still insisted that they take their medications, they resorted to praying to God (at the top of their lungs), asking His help to keep them from taking the pills.

Relatively soon, the situation deteriorated. The nurses could not allow the patients to skip the medication.  The medication had to be administered to the patient, either willingly or unwillingly. If the patient refused the oral medication, the nurses were forced to administer the medication via an injection.

After the patient’s last-ditch verbal effort to avoid taking the medication (by mouth) failed, the nurses had to prepare to administer the injection. When the patient saw the nurses make the necessary preparations to administer the injection, they once again begged the nurses not to make them take the medication.  By that time, several nurse attendants had arrived, having been summoned to help hold the patient down while the injection was given.  Once they arrived on the scene, they grabbed the patient and put her in a choke hold.  The patient was by that time wildly flailing about, trying to escape.

Once they grabbed the patient to hold her down, the patient started screaming at the top of her lungs.  Crying and pleading, she continued to beg the nurses not to give her the injection. Louder and louder her crying got, turning into screams. She started praying to God, begging Him to intercept, finally resorting to screaming her prayer to God. She screamed that the nurses were hurting her, she screamed that the nurses holding her down were choking her, and finally she screamed that those nurses were trying to kill her.  The administering nurse walked towards the patient, the long needle in front of her. She injected the needle into the patient’s ass while the other nurses held the screaming, crying  patient down.  The blood-curdling screaming continued throughout the injection process. Finally, when the injection had been completed, the patient was released.

The whole thing probably took about 15 minutes from start to finish. But by the time it was finished, everyone on the ward was upset. Our nerves were shot. It was as if each of us had undergone that process ourselves.  Everyone who heard it was extremely disturbed.  There but for the grace of God go I, we all thought. After one of those sessions, all the patients and staff were both so keyed up that all the patients were let outside for an unscheduled smoke break. Fortunately for all of us, those episodes were fairly rare- happening about twice a week.

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