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Comment Archives: stories: News + Opinion: Health Care

Re: “Million-Dollar Question: How Much Should Nonprofit Hospital CEOs Earn?

Well, I must say those people wouldnt have a nonprofit organization without the thousands of employees doing the grunt work. The CEO wouldnt have received a 22% bonus for best infection control without the grunts, who came up with the new change in infection prevention? Not the CEO. He just reaped the benefits. The staff at UVM MC are dedicated to this organization. Wheres their recognition? You think CEOs put in a lot of hours? Our LNAs are doing 4-8 hours over their schedule shift to help there nurses and the nurses are being asked constantly to work overtime because of staffing shortages. Nurses and LNAs are burning out and moving on because of it. Wheres the compensation for their sacrifices? Wheres their bonuses? People worry about nurses going on strike? They should look at the executives who are unwilling to make UVM MC the best place to work!

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Deb Spear on 06/14/2018 at 11:22 AM

Re: “Burlington to Ease Access to Opioid Addiction Medication

What about us people who suffer daily from chronic pain? I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and all the doctors gave me is gabapentin, and antidepressant, which does nothing for the chronic pain. The DEA is trying to get a bill passed that will take away pain meds from people that need them on a daily basis. There have been suicides due to the pain but doctors risk losing their license for writing prescriptions for pain medication. I think it should be a doctors and patients choice rather than the DEA who are not doctors. Obviously they could care less about people and how they are treated for the pain.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Gi Grape on 06/14/2018 at 11:18 AM

Re: “With Frank Obituaries, Families Aim to Lay Stigmas to Rest

I met Patti in high school. We lost touch but, connected again through her many Facebook posts. I feel in my heart that Patti, and everyone close to her did all they could but, it was not to be. Writing her obituary must've been an unbelievable undertaking. My heart goes out to Bill, their sons, and all their extended family and friends. This peek in to Patti's life, that many of us were unaware of, brought her closer to us. So many times, the "picture perfect" truth is portrayed rather than the actual true life. Patti's life touched so many people in so many different ways and she will not be forgotten.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jean Koch on 05/24/2018 at 4:28 PM

Re: “With Frank Obituaries, Families Aim to Lay Stigmas to Rest

I have so much to say about this article but I will just say this: this is not the whole story and the elephant in the room is not being discussed. I miss Patty. This is an american tragedy and a vermont tragedy. I grieve her death.

5 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by GREENMTCAT on 05/24/2018 at 6:06 AM

Re: “With Frank Obituaries, Families Aim to Lay Stigmas to Rest

I remember reading Patti Rooney's obit as I was looking for a friend's obit and how astounded I was to see that suicide was so plainly mentioned. I have nothing but respect for the Hickok family for this confession and am sorry they have to suffer this loss.

I have had friends and others whom I've known commit suicide and it always feels like a betrayal by the deceased towards the living and a failure by the living to not see "something" and to have been able to prevent the intentional death. Control is an illusion and love isn't enough in some cases.

I hope that by Bill Hickok's honesty a more frank discussion can be had in other families that walk the tightrope of living with a loved one or friend who struggles with mental illness.

In an insane culture whose reach has extended well beyond its grasp, it is a wonder suicide isn't even more prevalent.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by NorthOldEnder on 05/23/2018 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

The system is the way it is to stop abuses. Many people have dysfunctional and abusive families. That has to be be accounted for. Many times family members do not have someone's best interests in mind. The system was even more abusive in the not so distant past. From the book by Lynn Payer, " Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick":

In 1992, U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder, chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, held hearings investigating the practices of psychiatric hospitals in the United States. Rep. Schroeder summarized her committee's findings as follows:

Our investigation has found that thousands of adolescents, children, and adults have been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment they didn't need; that hospitals hire bounty hunters to kidnap patients with mental health insurance; that patients are kept against their will until their insurance benefits run out; that psychiatrists are being pressured by the hospitals to increase profit; that hospitals "infiltrate" schools by paying kickbacks to school counselors who deliver students; that bonuses are paid to hospital employees, including psychiatrists, for keeping the hospital beds filled; and that military dependents are being targeted for their generous mental health benefits. I could go on, but you get the picture.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anti-psych on 05/02/2018 at 11:05 AM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

I'm so glad Seven Days is sharing this story and I feel really bad this family in the story is struggling to find the right treatment. I sure hope you find your way.

I lost my only brother to suicide because he could not find the proper help and my family could not help him because of Vermont laws. Mental health treatment in Vermont is a joke as it leads to a never ending road to nowhere. My brother tried his best to seek help and was always turned away at the worst possible time.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Sven Eklof on 05/01/2018 at 4:01 PM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

The mental health industry has gone backwards since HIPAA. A healthy mental state of a person requires connections to significant others. A person's family and social network offers care in ways our institutionalized medical care simply cannot. Treating a person's mental health with drugs and counseling separate of family and friends is foolish. It not only harms the patient, but those who lovingly care for the patient.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by otter on 05/01/2018 at 3:24 PM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

$500k by age 22...this mental health in-patient treatment is expensive - wow! That would be more than $1m per every 10 years, easy.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by James Berry on 04/30/2018 at 8:36 AM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

My sister had a similar experience of having psychiatric drugs cause her psychosis. This article says Simon worried that Ativan and Risperdal were causing worse mental health problems- oh, yes, they often do. This isn't a delusion on the part of the patient. This often happens, as you can see in those books. My sister had that experience, too. She had some auditory hallucinations before taking drugs, but she knew they were hallucinations. That's not psychosis. A drug she was given at the outset- probably a benzodiazapine, though she wasn't told what it was, caused her to become truly psychotic for the first time. Risperdal taken ongoingly for a few years made her more prone to psychosis. This is a very common progression. Also, with my sister, the antipsychotic drug caused progressive dementia to the point that self care was very difficult for her and she needed a lot of help. This, also, is a common, almost universal effect of antipsychotic drug use. And she became dependent on the Risperdal. She recognized that, and kept taking it. Eventually, also a common occurrence across all antipsychotic drugs, she died of a pulmonary embolism. At age 40. The outcome of forced drugging isn't a good outcome. It's sleeping a lot, progressive dementia, increasing dependence, most likely increasing psychosis, and early death caused by the medical problems caused by the drug. In the above article, I am wondering why body-centered trauma therapy hasn't been attempted, since it seems that's a main issue. Pre-verbal trauma and physical trauma can be addressed that way. That's not a panacea, but I don't understand why it's not even on the table.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Heidi Henkel on 04/27/2018 at 7:07 AM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

Some good books to read, to get an understanding of the effects of psychiatric drugs from outside of the drug companies' marketing schemes and self-serving self-funded "research," are "Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent" and "Drug Induced Dementia" by Grace Jackson, MD, and "Anatomy of an Epidemic" by Robert Whitaker. "Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal" and "Your Drug May Be Your Problem" by Peter Breggin, MD, are also very helpful. Even psychiatrists who spend their careers helping people who want to, to get off of psychiatric drugs as much as possible, as safely as possible, aren't always successful. Some people end up trapped on the drugs, because they have taken them for such a long time that their brain has been changed by them and they are very, very dependent, and because not enough doctors have worked for long enough, on how to help people get off of psych drugs, for enough to have been learned yet, about how to do it. It's a struggle and it's not always successful. But ethics require us to treat that desire with respect and to do everything we can, to honor that. Medical self determination is a really important ethical issue. I think this form of it is parallel in many ways, to the right to have the type of end of life care that one desires. It's not always achievable, but it should be respected and should be attempted as much as possible, even if it's not the most convenient thing for other people, and even if it's not what other people think they would want if they were in the same circumstance.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Heidi Henkel on 04/26/2018 at 9:03 PM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

Sounds like the patient was given drugs and no other meaningful treatment, from the beginning, and this caused him to be more and more disabled (primarily by the drugs themselves) and more and more dependent on the drugs. This story shows us why we desperately need to implement treatments other than drugs and not be so quick to give patients drugs. Giving drugs, leads to a negative cycle- more and more mental illness, and more and more "need" for drugs. There is another path. This has to include helping the whole family. Now we have Open Dialogue in a couple of places in northern Vermont. That's a start.
We need more psychiatrists in Vermont who are able to help patients who want to be off of drugs, make good decisions about that, get off of drugs as much as they can, and use other treatments besides drugs. It is possible to get off of drugs safely. But we have a shortage of psychiatrists able and willing to tackle that. It is a travesty that anyone goes cold turkey off of Ativan or quits antipsychotic drugs by themselves without the help of a psychiatrist, to do it safely and to do something else to meet the needs. The reason so many people go off of drugs unsafely, by themselves, is because the support systems aren't there, to do it safely. We don't have psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who are able and willing to help patients with it. So people do it alone. It's doing it alone, that causes the most problems.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Heidi Henkel on 04/26/2018 at 8:49 PM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

Also, just going off of drugs isn't sufficient. It's important to meet the underlying needs- not just be drug free, but also have one's needs met. This requires having a mental health system that is actively tackling this problem. This requires psychiatric hospitals that are prepared to offer meaningful and comprehensive treatment plans that work, for people who don't choose to take the drugs. This requires community and residential programs that help people do all the various things involved in going off of drugs, including finding ways to meet their underlying physical and emotional needs. As long as we neglect to develop those, we will see people fail to thrive when they go off of psychiatric drugs. Going off of psychiatric drugs isn't the problem. The lack of resources to do it well, is the problem. When people feel that the psych drug is making their mental and physical health worse, they are right. That's what the non-profiteering science shows, very clearly, in abundance. That's true. They're right. The problem is they're not being given a workable other option. That is what needs to change.
There's a marketing based myth that drugs are the only treatment. In fact, they are not the only treatment and they are very poor treatments, tending to, on average, make people's mental health worse, not better.
Instead of working toward facilitating forced drugging, we should be working toward helping families communicate better and we should be working toward full implementation of treatments other than drugs.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Heidi Henkel on 04/26/2018 at 8:48 PM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

At the end of the day, families are the ones left to pick up the pieces during times of crisis but then are shut out of the treatment of their ill family member. Not because hospitals or treatment providers are anti family but because of privacy laws. The system in Vermont is family based and and family centered until an individual turns 18. Then it becomes about individual civil liberties. At age 18, you can suddenly make important decisions in isolation of your family. Add to that a psychotic break and the presumption that you can still make rational decisions about your treatment in that moment, and who you want to have involved in your care. It is nonsensical. Furthermore, if you had cancer, imagine that your oncologist had to go to court to get "permission" from a Judge to treat it in the most clinically appropriate manner. Why are Judges making these decisions? Parity is lacking.

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by DBDBSB on 04/26/2018 at 8:23 PM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

So sad, this is why I became my daughter's guardian. The road we travel is hard , navigating the state and other agencies . I fight daily as some "well meaning" agencies can and will exploit those with mental illness or Autism. My biggest fear is the future, but hopefully I have done all I can and she will be safe and well! Do not give up the fight!

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Robin Martin on 04/26/2018 at 3:30 PM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

What's sad is when you see someone who has been misdiagnosed and railroaded being force drugged with chemicals that cause tremendous damage. It happens more often than people like to believe. When I was at the old hospital they had at least one person a month come in for an evaluation who wasn't really mentally ill. And once or twice a year one of those people would be committed. There was a story in the Times Argus about a man who spent the last 4 years of his life locked up in the hospital even though after a few years he finally got an evaluation that said he wasn't mentally ill.

There are other cases far worse than that. Here is one from Nebraska of a man who was misdiagnosed as delusional for 20 years. 20 psychiatrists in 20 years could not figure out that he was not really delusional.
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jan/19/dismissal-of-suit-by-man-wrongly-held-in-psych-war/

He finally found a psychiatrist who did a bit of basic research and discovered the truth. The man was released but not even allowed to sue for damages. This case should be known throughout the country because it is one of the worst civil rights violations I know. And I know a LOT. Check the records and see that the VT State Hospital was found guilty of violating patients civil rights for at least a decade back in 2005. That should have been a wake-up call that lead to the end of involuntary 'treatment'. But instead our government doubled down on oppression.

6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Anti-psych on 04/26/2018 at 9:23 AM

Re: “Committed: A Son's Mental Illness, a Father's Fight

Sad . Nothing but sad .
I understand that there are no villains here but can't understand why the entire apparatus seems determined to NOT allow family to help their loved ones through mental health crises .Why do the state medical/legal/social agencies work so hard to push the families away ?

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Rich ard on 04/25/2018 at 8:44 PM

Re: “Dr. Yes: Vermont's Addiction Expert, John Brooklyn, Is in Demand

I've never met a kinder man

Posted by Stephen Kline on 03/19/2018 at 11:42 PM

Re: “Vermont's Psychiatric Bed Crisis Befuddles Policymakers

Gee willikers ! remember when Bernie Sanders demanded that the UVMC heed the voices of the paranoid Psych patient and denied Chittenden County an already built bought and paid for psych hospital at Fanny Allen? All because, if you did have the good fortune to be treated bys some of the best trained Doctors in the country there would be another Psych patient sitting int he parking lot at the Dunky D's with a large coffee and a glazed donut writing down all of the license plate numbers and publishing them in a private newspaper?

And Sevendays likes this wing nut so much they keep his name on the front page of the paper. Too bad it costs millions of dollars a year in extra liability insurance for fewer beds and surgeries to keep the unit on the campus. Geee willikers I wonder why so many people are stacked up in the ER and cant find real help by a trained staff of specialists.. Thanks for nothing Bernie oh and you should pay the 10's of millions in accrued insurance waste you putz Ask Bernie why we dont have the hospital oh that right he wont talk to the local press any more.

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Tom Ruth on 03/07/2018 at 9:21 PM

Re: “Vermont's Psychiatric Bed Crisis Befuddles Policymakers

They should be saving as many of those psychiatric beds for the individuals who sit in the legislature. Most of them are definitely living a fantasy life in some alternative world.

10 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by alpha1six on 03/07/2018 at 12:08 PM

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