A former patient at a Lower Mainland hospital is going public with allegations she didn’t receive proper care from its medical staff when she was at her lowest point and feeling suicidal.
It isn’t easy for Jenny Ingraham to go public about her struggle with clinical depression – but improving the system for others is a cause she’s passionate about.
She recently decided to share her experience as a patient at New Westminster’s Royal Columbian Hospital in a 13 minute YouTube video.
“This isn’t easy to talk about, but I think it’s really critical for people know the reality of what’s happening,” said Ingraham.
In the clip, Ingraham alleges she didn’t receive proper care when she checked herself into the hospital on two separate occasions while experiencing suicidal thoughts.
After a four-day stay in the psychiatric ward on her second visit, Ingraham attempted suicide the day after she was discharged.
“I went home and the next day I made an attempt and it was pretty serious,” she said.
“If I had been successful in my attempt, I wonder if anyone would’ve followed through, and seen on my record that I was dismissed from the hospital the day before.”
Complaints surrounding inadequate mental health care resources are something psychologist Dr. Joti Samra hears frequently.
“Mental health is the poor cousin of physical health services,” Samra said. “And services grossly lack in our country under the public health care system for individuals struggling with mental health.”
“I think you need to listen to the patient when they tell you, ‘I’m not stable and I need help,’” added Ingraham.
Fraser Health says this is a practice its medical professionals typically adhere to. They confirmed Ingraham was a patient at Royal Columbian Hospital, but dispute her version of events
“We are very sorry to hear that this patient is not happy with the care she received at Royal Columbian Hospital. Individuals who come to our hospital Emergency Departments with mental health concerns or claim they are in crisis are never turned away,” read a statement to CTV News.
“Once a patient has been seen, assessed and has stabilized in hospital, in most cases Inpatient Psychiatry is not the most appropriate place for a person to receive ongoing treatment to address their mental health needs.
“This care journey is not unlike visiting the hospital for a physical ailment, wherein a patient would be discharged to care in the community for treatment once their acute care needs have been addressed in hospital.”
Ingraham says her condition has since stabilized, but she’s concerned about others in crisis.
“It’s disheartening. It’s scary. It’s very, very frustrating,” she said.
“Do people actually have to die from this before somebody listens and gets it?”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald
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