"If you have anyone you care about in a State of Oklahoma approved or run mental health facility, I strongly suggest that you make sure they get seen on a regular basis by a doctor and a psychiatrist that are outside and independent of the State mental health system. Because, by my experience, that person’s true needs might very well not be met within it. That person’s health could even be at risk by reason of being there.
I’ve been a military dependent and on the move all my life until 2003, when I moved to Tulsa. I’ve seen good, bad and indifferent doctors and nurses. In the local loony bin, state psychiatrists perform the duties of both psychiatrist and physician, and may be fit for neither. Furthermore, after functioning as “witnesses”, mental health “evaluators”, and petitioners for commitment, these doctors and counselors, who benefit from the commitments, balk at even obtaining outside information from an patient’s doctors and psychiatrists of long standing. They absolutely refuse outside professionals the right to “practice” within their facility. Which other State psychiatrists honor, like those at the O.U. Psychiatric Clinic. Along with the Mental Health Court Judge, they certify, in a printed form, that the only medical information apparently available for use in commitment hearings comes from them. Very handy for keeping their personal and professional inadequacies safe from discovery, and filling the beds that presumably justify their salaries.
First, the Tulsa Center for “Behavioral Health” (TCBH) didn’t bother to take or obtain my full and complete medical history. I was 64 at the time with chronic conditions, and had to press even to get my previously prescribed medications considered. I didn’t even get all of them, like blood pressure and prostate medication. When I was having trouble with my blood pressure, I was told that my alleged doctor and psychiatrist, Dr. Lori Miller, had written an order refusing me medication unless my BP went above 150/100, when it was supposed to be kept at 100/70. High blood pressure tends to make me very irritable, not the best state of mind for someone allegedly being treated in a mental facility. It was common practice for the techs to ask me to raise my hand with the BP wrist cuff at or even above my heart if the first reading came out too high.
Later on, when I had a moderate asthma attack, I found that Dr. Miller had ordered my rescue inhaler be provided to me only at set medication times. As if asthma conforms to a schedule. In years past, before the advent of commonly available inhalers, I have had the gorilla sit on my chest in the night. But still the nurses on duty at the time would not “bother” the Doctor for an order to allow me access to the inhaler, and could not understand why I was so upset. When I finally got an order for access on the request of the patient, from Dr. Sarah Land I think, she did it not for the rescue inhaler, but the maintenance inhaler, which is normally used on a schedule. When I started having problems pissing, I got no medical help at all. Apparently having letters after one’s name does not assure medical diligence or competence.
There were other patients with other poorly treated problems. I saw one new patient convulsing on the floor, who was discounted as “seeking attention”. One young woman, who kept asking for a painkiller, Tramadol, showed me a four inch surgery scar in her abdomen. By the time she left, she was still skinny as a rail, and had a belly swelling too rapidly to be a pregnancy. It could have been anything from constipation to cancer.
One of my roommates had sleep apnea so bad that his breath repeatedly dropped to nothing, followed about a minute later by a gasp and extremely loud snoring. I was worried about him and raised a fuss, asking for a nurse to check on him. A tech told me in no uncertain terms that I was out of line and that my roommate had no problem beyond snoring. Although they could hear him down the hall, the nurse(s) refused to come.
The only person I ever heard of who got sent to a hospital, an old man with severe shaking due to medication, didn’t get sent until he started choking on his food. Only a schizophrenic woman, who suffered from hearing voices that encouraged her to severe self-mutilation, got continuous monitoring and physical care. These are just the ones I know about.
The psychiatrists only saw us about 30 minutes to an hour at most every week or two. At one meeting, Dr. Miller was unaware that I have major depression and that she had signed the order for my medication. Yet these fly-by physicians claimed to know us better than ourselves. If, after being familiar with one’s condition, treatment, and mis-treatment for nearly 60 years, one disagrees with their opinions, they accuse a person of not being “self aware”, or taking responsibility for one’s own actions.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services alleges these people to be “trauma informed” and to provide appropriate services (http://www.ok.gov/odmhsas/Mental_Health_/Specialized_Programs_and_Services/Trama_Informed_Services/). Yet the at least one Counselor, Ms. Julie King, provided a cookie-cutter response to those of us with social difficulties: “If you are having problems with all these people, then what is the common denominator? The common denominator is you.” She also claimed that the only consideration that mattered in treatment was how others “perceive” the person with the health problems. In other words, the person who had been maimed, assaulted or abused had a duty to fix him or her self and stop bothering others with it.
Those make great punch lines for conservative politicians, but they have no healing function in psychiatry or medicine. It’s like telling a woman who was raped to get over it and back into bed, to service her husband in the manner he deserves. Or a cancer doctor telling a woman that her mastectomy scars will just be like the staples in a Playboy centerfold. Good luck to any returning Veteran with PTSD and other difficulties who gets caught up in their personal politics. "