I want to discuss the hell I went through yesterday at the ER with my son and the religious nuttery we encountered. I just gotta get this out, because I’m so enraged and frustrated.
FIRST let me say my (trans, autistic, and very much atheist) 15 year old son has been struggling lately with depression and anxiety after something that happened at his school. He was sexually assaulted 2 years ago at school but never told anyone because he was embarrassed and thought it was his fault in some way and the kid disappeared from the school a few weeks later anyway. Come to find out he did the same to a girl and her parents got a restraining order against him so he had to transfer. Well he came to this new school at the first of the year and he’d been sexually harassing my son and a bunch of other kids, mostly saying just filthy things to them but also there were a few threats. I do not have any details about whether they contacted the parent or took it any further than our school, but I know he was never taken out of the class despite a dozen kids reporting him. Well he killed himself in January. And my son has blamed himself. He’s wracked with misplaced guilt thinking the kid did this because my son led the fight to protect other students from him and vigilantly reported every incident. So he’s been going through a lot of depression and dark thoughts. I got him in to counseling and she’s a nice woman but it’s early in the game and she only sees him 40 minutes twice a month. He has a lot of anxiety and phobias already, and he’s told her he feels like he has distinct personalities that have conversations. To me this sounds like he might need more than a twice-a-month chat. But I trust her and so far she’s just getting him to open up.
Yesterday his favorite teacher quit and he started having dark intrusive thoughts and talked about thinking he wanted to die. He was texting me at school saying he was tired of trying and didn’t see the point of living anymore. I immediately looked at our insurance website and found only 2 psychiatrists in Memphis but neither was accepting new patients. I called this insurance company’s nurse about getting assessed for psychiatric and they said go to the ER and they’d either have someone assess or give him an emergency referral to another clinic since none on our plan was accepting new patients. We got there around 3:00 pm. We were taken to an “observation area” rather quickly and I was glad because it was standing room only in the waiting room. The problem is this area was sitting about a foot from a table full of urine samples. It was two feet from the restroom where every sick person passed. It was not five feet from where people were getting blood draws. And coughing everywhere. So that was fun, but we had a goal and we suffered through it. Every person that came in to the ER went through our little room. I think every person that came through told them “I don’t like needles” or said they were phobic. One person passed out. They were coughing everywhere. There were a few with masks. Several had masks…on their CHINS. That’s not gonna help, guys. Uggh.
So there we sat until about 9:30 last night as every sick person passed us. My son was terrified the entire time, kept getting overwhelmed by the noises and the needles. He was forced to give four vials of blood for some reason, I’m guessing to verify he wasn’t a drug user? I don’t know but considering his anxiety level at the time I wish he hadn’t had to go through it, especially in a room full of people. But he toughed it out. Eventually we got a room and a nurse told us we’d be seen shortly.
Two hours later …OMG y’all this was the most disturbing encounter I’ve ever experienced in a medical setting. This weird creepy little man, Dr. Peoples, FIRST shook our hands with no hand washing beforehand after walking directly from another patient waiting outside the room. If I hadn’t been exhausted/starving/dehydrated I’d have thought to refuse his hand but we were just SO GLAD to finally see a doctor. Then he listened to my son’s story, nodding with wide eyes staring directly in to my son’s eyes like he was trying to weigh his SOUL… and this is what he said: “What you’re experiencing is perfectly normal. It’s a reaction to being in an evil world. You might have noticed the world has gotten much worse in the past few years. Mom do you agree?” (I looked at him suspiciously) “The world is full of evil and I have found that depending on my relationship with Christ has really helped me find meaning…” I interrupted him there to let him know my son is atheist while my son stared in horror.
“Well I’m not here to debate with you, but without God life is truly meaningless. There are so many evil people in the world” and I interrupted him again and said “We are humanists and do not believe in evil and we know many VERY good people, and we both have some incredible role models…” He cut ME off of saying “Well yes but even with good people, the best people, they can still let you down unlike God… and then he went on to talk about how God isn’t about religion, that God is in every living thing, blah blah blah” by that point my son has tears in his eyes and his face is beet red. I’m getting more agitated by the second. My son asked if he could give him something at least for his anxiety. He told my son he didn’t like prescribing medication without an assessment, which is rational, but then he had to add this. “Medication doesn’t really help anyway, it only masks the problem”. I finally just asked, “So you won’t be helping him with his issue, not going to prescribe anything right now? Can you please just refer him to someone who WILL help him?” I cut him off as much as I could but the damage was done. My son was about to have a meltdown. I practically pushed the doctor out the door and he said he’d get a referral.
Another hour later we were finally out of patience and ready to run out the door with no referral and I told the nurse to check us out and be prepared because I was going to file a formal complaint. She asked why but I swear, guys, I swear she already knew the answer. I told her his solution and she said “yeah that’s kind of his way”. She got my paperwork done in record time. My son left that place more upset and hopeless than when he went in.
This behavior was SO inappropriate. I am still shocked. And it wasn’t just the religious stuff. The way he kept staring so deeply in to our eyes and not saying anything was WEIRD. I don’t know what he was DOING, but it made us so uncomfortable. And he didn’t look healthy. He looked emaciated and sallow and his eyes were bright like he was on something. There was something wrong with this man and the nurse KNEW. She kept nodding when I raged and said I was filing a complaint like she had heard this before.
This morning that insurance company nurse called and I told her what happened. She said she’d get the referral for us. So she could have done this in the first place. I told her I wanted to file a complaint and she helped me file one with the insurance company. I filed another with the hospital and as soon as I can print out the papers I’m filing on with the state. I looked his name up and he seems to be some kind of golden boy with Church Healthcare and some Christian sites brag about his Christlike approach to medicine. I don’t know if it’s proper here to post a link to one of the articles but if it is I will in replies.