Friday, November 16, 2007

ERs aren't the place for MHMR patients

In response to “mental health patients being sent to Austin emergency rooms,” I agree that there is a problem. The Austin State Hospital is over crowded, but the solution is not to send the patients to regular hospitals. Hospitals like the Dell Children’s Center, have lots of space but like the man power and expertise to deal with these kinds of patients. Wait times in Dell’s emergency room are twice that of what they should be. The solution to their problem would be to expand on their site or build an alternate facility to accommodate their needs. The physicians at these regular emergency rooms are not properly trained to deal with MHMR patients. The money that they would be spending on workshops and training for teaching the emergency room attendees to deal with MHMR patients could be spent on building another facility. Despite those concerns, it could also potentially be a dangerous situation. MHMR patients have special needs. Their reasoning skills are on a different level from the people who would normally visit a Brackenridge or St. David’s emergency room, and because of this their safety could be compromised by one another. Different people have a different understanding of things, and it just would not be feasible to intertwine these to groups of people. The easiest and most lasting answer to their problem is not to transfer patients to alternate facilities that does not have the proper equipment and specialist to treat them, but it is simply to just expand on what they already have.

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