This very well-crafted segment by renowned journalist John Stossel gives an extremely good background on where we are today in this country in dealing with patients who suffer from psychosis.
It shows how we previously dealt with individuals with this affliction (placing them in “insane asylums”) and how we are currently doing it — inadequately.
No matter what side of the issue you are on, if you are involved in the delivery of emergency medical services, you will be confronted with these patients on the streets; encounter recently discharged patients from hospitals via the awful and inadequate “Treat ’em” and “Release ’em” approach; and in prisons, where many of them have been directed, often inappropriately.
With the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Toledo, Ohio, resources and programs to deal with the mentally ill may finally become a reality. So, it is important for emergency responders to begin to understand the dialog that will be taking place and potential solutions.
It is clear more people need to be treated earlier, and some people need to be forcefully required to take their medications.
Both approaches will assist EMS in reducing call volume and reducing hazards, and potentially the death of emergency responders.
What You Can Do
#1) Share this in-depth John Stossel interview/commentary with your friends and colleagues to give them a thought-provoking background on the problem and possible solutions to manage psychotic individuals.
#2) Check with your agency to determine your current policies on the management of people who are psychologically out of control so you direct patients to the proper facility for care.
#3) Work with your organization to implement or revise policies on the approach to, and management of, psychotic individuals.
#4) And make sure that your agency considers offering training on the de-escalation of patients that you encounter.
We are all being subjected to more verbal and physical violence in the field. It is critical you begin to pay close attention to this to stay safe and alive.