Saturday, 18 January 2014

Playing doctor (of psychiatry)

As is customary, the information collected at the IWK was forwarded to our family doctor's office. To reduce the need for us to travel back and forth to Halifax, and keep the fluidity of her progress going, the doctor at the IWK asked our family doctor to keep my daughter's prescriptions up to date.


Its funny how our family physician had no time to see us just a few weeks ago (and "sent a fool further" by suggesting we speak with a pharmacist about her progressing depression), but had the time to fit us in once the IWK asked that they do so.


What does that say about my doctor's perceived importance of a 12 year old's ongoing battle with depression, or any mental illness for that matter? If her receptionist would have been blatantly honest by admitting that they were unsure or unable to help her, It would have been a much easier pill to swallow.


To the dismay of my daughter and I, we reluctantly made our way to her doctor's appointment, knowing full well it was a necessity in order to have her prescription elevated. The doctor spoke on and on about how we may want to purchase a $300.00 light that would replace the common sunlight we absorb during the warmer months. Perhaps her depression was due to the stress of school. "Was she being bullied?", she asked.  She said no.


The clincher! The doctor began talking about self harm and suicide. Not for just a few moments, but on and on. My daughter who has three types of anxiety and OCD got quite uncomfortable but the doctor never noticed the fright in her eyes. She continued to suggest that if my daughter had any plans of killing herself that she tell us about it, (wait for it) so we could hide our knives and/or rope or anything else she may use to end her life.


If her depression developed into a plan for suicide I would not be hiding possible self harming paraphernalia, I would be admitting her to the IWK hospital to receive much needed therapy!


We both left from the appointment deflated and stoic. It was apparent to me that the doctor lacked understanding of her illness. In this case I believe she should have just written a new prescription as she was advised to do, and not played psychiatrist. In a perfect world all doctors would have a better understanding of mental illness and have sympathy, compassion, and perhaps even empathy for their patients. 


Luckily the psychiatrist from the IWK wrote us:


 "I am concerned as to what is occurring and your seeming lack of follow up from psychiatry. I am also in bridge water some Saturdays and would be willing to see her there if u do not find services elsewhere. Send me your concerns." 


We are delighted of this news and are happy to meet him closer to home.


Being my child's advocate is my most important role in life, and hers.