Katrina's Speakout

Submitted by lee on Thu, 02/21/2008 - 14:49


I am writing to you because I strongly believe that I was the victim of Medical negligence/medical malpractice. January 25thto the 30th 2008. I attempted suicide and was brought to Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport, Massachusetts. I don’t remember much about being in the emergency room, but when I was awake the next morning the staff said they were putting me upstairs in 2 North {the psychiatric unit}. I just want to quickly mention that I was currently taking medication for depression and PTSD, I had my own psychiatrist {whom worked up at 2 north in Anna Jacques up until the end of December 2007 when he quit unexpectedly}. I still see him on the outside for my medications, his name is Dr. Marc Shay so you could say I was pretty set in the medication department. The medications I was taking were Prozac 60mg a day, Xanax 3mg per day and Rozerem at bedtime. I was escorted Saturday morning the 25th to the psych unit I filled out a bunch of paperwork, and went through the rigamarole of being admitted, they had my doctors name, medications prescribed etc and then assigned a room. They told me that Dr. Shay had quit and another longtime doctor, Dr Hochstadeler had retired and they had no doctors! They had an on call doctor on Sunday, a woman, Dr. Beck who saw me for a total of 5 minutes and she decided to taper me off of Xanax { meaning 1mg a day} while simultaneously putting me on 1 ½ mg of Klonopin to replace it{ the 1mg of Xanax was to help me with withdrawal although she didn’t specify and I soon found out later} she kept me on 60mg of Prozac. As med time came around at 8:30pm I was given the Klonopin and no Xanax, they said their pharmacy did not carry Rozerem and that if I had mine at home, to bring it in and give it to them and they will see that I got it. I didn’t sleep one wink and was a little frustrated. My mom brought down the Rozerem which was in a sample box because Mass health and Medicare does not cover that prescription so Dr. Shay gives me samples, I told them that, the box is clearly marked, it says not for resale. They denied me my Rozerem again saying the pharmacy did not identify it yet! And again, no Xanax, again another sleepless night. I start feeling shaky and not like myself, they think it is all in my head........Another FYI, besides not having steady doctors, they don’t have any nurses, just “babysitters” that walk around and take your temp and blood pressure throughout the day, beyond that they know nothing. I saw another temporary fly through till they get a doctor, doctor, his name was Dr. Lupin and he had a very thick Russian accent, needless to say, communication was a bust. Med time rolls around again, I get no Rozerem, no Xanax...........no sleep, 3 days straight now. When I stand in line for my meds Tuesday morning get 40mg of Prozac { instead of my 60mg}and again......no Xanax! I inquire about this “mistake” but was told that this is what the doctor ordered and that I had agreed to it! Needless to say my mental state and physical state were not up to par at all. Night meds come and go, no Rozerem again, doctor didn’t say I could have it, it’s not in the charts, no Xanax. Desperate, I plead for the Rozerem as I go on 4 nights of no sleep, I finally got it, still I didn’t sleep. Long story cut short, it all came to a major head, I was there for 6 days, no sleep, medication was lowered and dropped off of Xanax “cold turkey” and as anyone in the mental health field should know, that is extremely dangerous and can even cause death. I’ll tell you what it caused me........the shakes, tremors, vomiting, loss of appetite, no sleep, major headaches, vision problems, hallucinations, feeling my limbs were falling of, contracting chest, thought I was having a heart attack and/or stroke, slurred speech, the feeling that my face was falling off, impending doom/death, cessation of menstrual cycle {even today} extreme depression/anxiety panic attacks, feeling of being ill, a temperature, high blood pressure, extreme anger, heart palpitations, muscle twitching {even today} weakness, my menstrual cycle has not come back yet, I shake with cold and fever, high anxiety and hair loss, I’m afraid I’m going to be bald soon,..........just too much to go on about it here. I was like this for the last 3 days and didn’t understand why, and they didn’t know either. Wednesday was when it all came down.......I went to call my mom, as I did everyday while there, I was not myself and she could hear the panic in my voice, I dropped the phone telling her I was “going to die here”. I demanded my BP be taken and it was an astonishing 200/100! My body felt as though a firecracker had been shot off in my body and it had no where to go. I was desperate, telling any person that walked by that I needed help, but the staff just looked at me like I was “nuts” I demanded medical attention to no chagrin. I blatantly said to one staff member that “I’m going to my room, I guess I’m going to die there {expletive}”. As I prepared for the worst, I lie in wait.......I closed my eyes and my body took care of the rest. My breathing slowed and I started to feel slightly normal, in they came one by one to see how I was “doing” telling me that I needed to relax, chill out, I just remained calm as they tried to talk their way out of how they could have killed me. Not one of the staff recognized the serious signs of withdrawal {one staff member, the director, Chris said that “you were a bitch last night”}My begging and pleading got me no where, just doors shut in my face. I was told later on that day by my mom that she called the front desk to inform them of the situation, only to have staff say they knew what it was all along. I had been on Xanax for 10 years and they abruptly stopped my dosage that almost led to something unspeakable. I f they cannot have proper staffing with doctors and nurses who are aware, they will kill someone. Something needs to be done. I suffered needlessly while supposedly being in a “safe place”. I have since seen my Psychiatrist and I can tell you, he was angry at what had occurred and definitely felt that it was done in the wrong manner, and it was unsafe practice to do what they did, I already had a seizure, but a stroke and death was a possibility as well, I was just “lucky”. You might say they were “lucky” as well that I did not die on “their watch”. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Katrina Whitten

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