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Carta abierta a la Senadora Marjory LeBreton [-]












 MENTAL ILLNESS IS HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPEN LETTER TO DR. HEIDI HAENSEL

Psychiatrist, Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program, Children’s Hospital, London, Ontario 

RE: The denial of mental health treatment to my son

By Dalbert Sánchez - Father

 

Click the link below to listen to the audio

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8p8OafIHuk

 

“I remember once I read a book on mental illness and there was a nurse that had gotten sick. She died from worrying about the mental patients not being able to get their food. She became a mental patient.”

Ornette Coleman

 

I need to see you smile

 

Your pain leaves a stain

You sit beside me but remain disdain

Your voice that once was strong

Is hidden by a crackle that seems wrong

You prefer to be at home

Isolated and with no desire to roam

You are wise beyond your years

Hold on to me

Do not slip on your tears

I need to see you smile

You deserve to be free spirit for a while

I love you with all my heart and soul

I will always stand by you

Let us fight the fear that has taken a toll.

 

Your sister


 

  

Madam Doctor,

 

I am not writing as a disgruntled parent after you denied my son treatment for his mental illness, but rather as a parent to a parent. Can you please put away the stethoscope, put my shoes on, and walk around your office desk one time with me? As a person, who breathes, feels, and suffers as any parent would, I don't see why you wouldn’t try it. Please, keep in that I don't expect you to care a bit about the demons tormenting my son, but I have no regrets. I am speaking up because regardless of who you are the only thing many of us have left is our voice - our voice to express how and what we feel, regardless.  

 

My boy was very little, probably 12 months old, when I came home late one night and did as I still do to know that my children are okay: I went to his crib and put my hand under his nose to make sure that he was breathing. You would agree, would you not, that a parent’s hunch is more effective than the physician, who does not have your child’s best interest at heart, thus contributing to the deterioration of his health?

 

A friend advised me to seek help for what he describes as paranoia. “Are you crazy?” I said. “I am not going to seek counselling, if that’s what you are implying, to learn how to dissociate from loving my children.” I noticed my son was having problems breathing. “It’s just a cold,” said his mother. Even though she believed there was nothing wrong with the baby, I insisted we take him to emergency to make sure. Thanks God that I followed my gut feeling. My son had a lot more than a stuffy nose. To the naked eye, he was fine but in reality, he was having problems breathing. They had to pump air through his nose to help him breathe. It was then they diagnosed him with asthma.

 

Before my son started grade 1, he would get anxious whenever he was away from home, his mother, his sister, his grandpa and of course his dad. Due to his display of exaggerated fear and distress, they diagnosed him with “Separation Anxiety Disorder.” I wish he would’ve been able to outgrow them, but it has been a roller coaster ride to see his symptoms of anxiety move with him from one grade to the next. They seemed to have tortured him from birth.

I remember that when he was six years old he started asking for a dog and my reply always was, “No, I’m the only dog at home.” I hated the idea of having a pooch inside the house all the time. One day he was crying hysterically at the back of our van.

 

“What happened now?” I asked. As dusk erased most of the daylight, I took my eyes off the road for a second and saw my son wiping the tears off his cheeks. “He wants a d.o.g.,” said his sister, so he wouldn’t realize what she was saying. “No,” he screamed. “I don’t want a d.o.g., I want a dog.” I did not want to contribute to my son getting more anxious, so I said nothing. Even though I hated the idea of having a dog inside the house all the time, everything changed two years later when his grandpa died. Despite his age, he was devastated.

 

He missed the old man playing with him, feeding him, and putting him to sleep. When he asked for a dog, again, I didn’t have the strength to say no; I got him a Labrador for his eighth birthday. I had no idea what I was getting into. To make matters worse, the first thing the new addition to the family did was to go upstairs and leave us a nose-pinching present in front of the master bed. This pooping-business became a stinky habit during the training process. Every time he went to the bathroom inside the house, I would hold my breath and take off running. I thought it was the grossest thing.

 

When I touched the tail-wagger, which was by accident of course, I ran to the sink and washed my hands for minutes. My wife, whose parents owned dogs when she was little, had no problem cleaning up. But little by little, I not only adopted the puppy but also started to treat him like one of my children. I would even let him eat from my plate and sleep on my bed.

 

If my family hears about my new found best four-legged friend, I would be accused of being too “Canadianized,” an accolade that would make anybody proud. The dog became an important member of my family. Who do I thank for encouraging me to multiply the small space I had reserved in my being for dogs? I thank my son. His infinite love, rich compassion, and deep sensitivity for animals are divine attributes making him a wealth of inspiration.

 

Facts: According to the National Alliance for the Mentally ill (NAMI), 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental illnesses. Many of those also deal with discrimination, prejudice, ridicule and pity.

 

Madam Doctor, the purpose of my letter should only focus on the unique circumstances of my son---after you denied him his rights to have access to mental health treatment---but I cannot help sharing why I take his school so serious. Before I immigrated to Canada, almost 30 years ago, I always dreamed of going to college. With that in mind, in my mid-teens I used to walk more than 20 kilometers on the highway to go to night school in the city.

 

As the eerie darkness encircled my utopian dreams, I never had a penny in my pocket to afford something as simple as a freezie, which would’ve given me more energy to walk the exhausting distance that made me sick to the stomach. I would return home in the danger of night, hungry, thirsty, depressed, and with sore feet. These had grown to be immune to the blisters that one would get from the fly-by-night sneakers that your family could only afford.

 

These trials taught me how to appreciate life, what I have and don’t have, and to only offer my children what’s within my reach—nothing more and nothing less. I also learned that a dreamer could only pursue his dreams up to a certain point. The fear of being hit by a car was always present in my mind. I didn’t want to be added to the unwritten statistics of people dying in the street like stray animals. So I quit school, which has become so common on the island that people seem to have lost their sense of astonishment. Nobody dares to emphasize how important school really is. What choice do quitters have?  

 

After playing some ball, in my mid-twenties, I moved to Canada. As part of taking advantage—in in a good way—of the endless opportunities a so-called First World country would offer those who wish to succeed, in Canada I was not only able to finish school but go to college. I fulfilled my lifelong dream. But I remember what some professors said to me: “You will never get a job in Canada, as a journalist.” They also called me a drug dealer. These personal attacks were part of their tactics to force me into quitting the course. Would I quit? I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Three years later, out of almost 50 students less than 15 of us finished the course, successfully. I graduated with the highest mark in Newswriting.

 

Did I go to the graduation ceremony? Since I wasn’t a masochist, I sent them a letter, instead: “The limitations of a person’s speech do not prevent his mind from swimming like a drifter through the waters of distant horizons.” I became the first and only member of a family of 13 brothers and sisters to go to college. Do I think my son should go to school and acquire an education, as I did? You bet I do. Is my son a dreamer, as I was? Yes, he is. Have you discriminated against him, as they discriminated against me in college? Even though you did it for a different reason, yes, you have. Madam Doctor, high school can be very scary. We tell him; however, it is very rewarding. “Finishing high school and going to college or university will have an impact on the rest of your life.” These offer so many fun things including football games, prom, having a crush on somebody, homecomings, sports, friends, clubs, and so on. But due to his mental illness, my son does not enjoy any of these.

 

Educate yourself about the mental illness of your loved one. Many have only a vague notion of what mental illness is, and knows only what they see on TV as the definition of any specific disorder. As a family member or friend of a person suffering from mental illness, you should seek out organizations that would help you understand their illness.  

 

My son’s potential to succeed in his young life was hijacked and made more vulnerable the day you and the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program at the Children Hospital denied him treatment. The bitter pill to swallow is there is nothing we can do. But you know what is more concerning? As a doctor you have the power to help improve life and help destroy life, and when you opt for the second, our children are not safe.

 

In 2011, we had the scariest experience and this is how unfortunately you came into play. My son was under the weather, which forced him to stay home for a couple of days. As we attributed everything to the common flu, days became weeks and weeks turned into months. When he started to miss so many days from school, the attendant counsellor thought my son just wanted to skip it. Yes, he didn't want to go school; but all was part of his mental illness. Dr. Pavri, his pediatrician started to treat him for bronchitis and since he was a fussy eater, she suggested my son had an eating disorder.

 

As he spent his days confined to his room, we talked to the school, which agreed to send a teacher’s assistant to tutor him at home. My son could hardly hold a pen to write. He just showed no strength. In fact, the pen would just drop from his grip. He was also shaking and trembling a lot while he tried to walk inside the house. This was a concern to the teacher assistant. Shortly after she started coming, based on how she saw him, she suggested that we take him to the doctor.

 

We took him to emergency and they admitted him. The scariest thing was when we heard they were thinking about extracting liquid from his pine, or something like that, to investigate whether my son suffered from something neurological. As his mom left work and came crying to the hospital, we asked the doctor, “Can you please tell us what is wrong with our son?” They had no answer. Approximately two weeks later, the doctor informed us they were going to refer him to the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program.

 

When I heard the word “mental”, I was going crazy. I wanted to take my son’s place. I started crying, not because I would love my child any less but as a concerned parent, I thought the worse. Overwhelmed by the emotions, while I sat in an adjacent room—where relatives of sick children inundate their souls with the pain they cannot prevent—I asked the doctor, “Is my son crazy?” she assured me he wasn’t.

 

I thought it was her Dissociation Disorder talking to me. As you would know when a person employs dissociation, which is what you are doing with my son's suffering, it makes them unbreakable. My son is just a child - aren't you a mother? One week after the doctor said they just wanted to keep my son's anxiety under control, he was still lying in a hospital bed waiting for the psychiatrist to come and meet him. It is disappointing to see that while you [doctors] are quick to point out that you lack the resources to treat our sick children, you waste much of our resources unnecessarily. Why does a sick child have to spend a week lying in a hospital bed waiting for a doctor just to come and meet him before providing the care he needs?

 

When we asked where the doctor was, they recommended that we take our child home. “We’ll call you in a couple of days to bring him back into the program.” Lo and behold, a week had passed and we had not heard from the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program, so we called from home. What did you say? “It doesn’t work like that. There is an eight-month-waiting list; your son has to wait.”

 

We tried pleading our case. “That’s not what you told us a week ago; our son needs help; what can we do; please, help us; he’s very sick,” but to no avail. You forced us to take him back to emergency. There we waited a couple of days for you to come and evaluate my son. When I asked the emergency doctor why it was taking so long for you to come and see my son, she revealed what’s not a secret.

 

“Sometimes, people come to the hospital and sit in the emergency room for a few days waiting for a bed; we just don’t have the resources.” As comical as it may sound, this lack-of-resources excuse has become your most prescribed medicine. sorrowfully, the fear-mongering you constantly inject people seems to work, as many blame the lack of resources when the resources are there. You didn't deny my son care because of lack of resources.

 

 It was concerning to us how you were neglecting him, but then again, who knows! Maybe a young child waiting for a doctor that subjects him to endless waits is part of the system. Sadly, the lack of an alternate service forces us to accept the unacceptable. When you finally admitted my son to the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program (2011), Dr. Haensel, he was still suffering from what appeared to be physical difficulties.

 

He moved with an antalgic gait, literally falling; he wasn’t eating, and developed some type of selective mutism. Do you remember, Madam Doctor? For as much as the kid tried to open his mouth to speak, he couldn’t. It was brutally devastating to notice a huge knot in his throat trying to say dad and the word wouldn’t come out of his mouth. We thought his silence was going to be perpetual. He was also losing weight. He was so frail that he could not hold a toothbrush to minimize the unpleasant breath that always reminded us our boy’s health was in trouble.

 

One in five adult Canadians—21.3 percent or 4.5 million people—will suffer a mental disorder in their lives. Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common. Approximately 2.5 million Canadian adults or over 10% of the population will have a depressive disorder. Canadian Mental Health Association

 

Every time we tried to assist him, the program staff would recommend that we didn’t, but a true parent will always be betrayed by the blessed hearts that made him a parent. While my wife chatted with the support staff on duty outside of the room, I will call my son to the washroom and comb his hair, cut his nail, brush his teeth, hug him, and cry with him. It was not until the neurologist did an assessment that we were able to sleep.

 

Dr. Lavigne assured us that my son did not suffer from any neurological problem. Good, but what is wrong with this kid? I thought. The fear of not worrying enough was making us more and more worried, so our mind was sore from worrying so much. When I went to bed at night, I slept with my eyes open. With my sight fixed on the light, hoping to see it at the end of the tunnel, I was always exhausted and depressed, extremely anxious, and feeling guilty by the impotence of not being able to give my son a hug and chain the demons that troubled him…to give him peace.

 

But I understood that even though I couldn’t do much, as a parent it was imperative that I become the source of his emotional support. Finally, after much asking, one of your colleagues gave my boy the label that made the most sense: “We think your son suffers from Conversion Disorder.” After reading about it online, we began to understand what was happening to him.

 

Communication is key: Keeping the lines of communication open is paramount to supporting someone with a mental illness. Remember that communication is about talking to the person, not just about them. Each person will articulate his own individual needs if invited to. Speak openly and optimistically about the illness and the person’s potential for recovery.

 

One day, while he was still in the program, he wrote on a piece of paper, “Dad, I want to go home; I will get better at home.” Of course, I said no. “Buddy, if we take you home like this, we will get in trouble with the law; you have to start walking, talking, eating, going to school, and taking care of yourself.” One evening, as we accompanied him out of his room, he was going to drop like a shoe. My instant reaction was to try grabbing him. “He is okay, Dad,” said a nurse. “He can help himself by grabbing the bar along the wall.” I couldn’t hold back the tears. It was difficult to see my son like this.

 

Eventually, after weeks in the program his symptoms were significantly reduced, so reduced that you successfully discharged him from it. You recommended we bring him as an outpatient to see Lucia, one of your counsellors; we did. She successfully discharged him from the outpatient program, too. When my son went home from the inpatient program, he resumed his studies and started playing recreational baseball, again.

 

He went from average to an 80% plus student. Unfortunately, mental illness is an unpredictable predator.  You are not sure when she is going to strike. In June (2014), my son fell while he was on his way home from school. We took him to the doctor, who after performing a physical examination determined that he had broken a rib. “I don’t need to send him for an X-ray; I can see the indentation on that side,” she said.

 

The symptoms a person with such fracture is likely to experience include: rib cage pain, swelling, painful breathing, pain felt on touching the affected area, pain that worsens on twisting or bending, among other things. Madam Doctor, my son was exhibiting all of the above. We didn’t know whether it had to do with the injury itself or the beast of his Conversion Disorder acting up.

 

I need to see you smile

 

Your pain leaves a stain

You sit beside me but remain disdain

Your voice that once was strong

Is hidden by a crackle that seems wrong

You prefer to be at home

Isolated and with no desire to roam

You are wise beyond your years

Hold on to me

Do not slip on your tears

I need to see you smile

You deserve to be free spirit for a while

I love you with all my heart and soul

I will always stand by you

Let us fight the fear that has taken a toll.

 

Your sister

 

 

Despite his injury being real, taking into account his Conversion Disorder, we needed to get him help early. We wanted him healthy for the start of the next school year. We took him to his pediatrician, Dr. Pavri, who estimated it would take 6-8 weeks for his fracture to heal. Dr. Pavri is more than just a doctor: she's humble, down to earth, caring, compassionate, and always acting like a mom to her young patients.  

 

Dr. Pavri is an excellent doctor; we need more doctors like her. Do you know what she does? She calls my house and prays for my son on the phone; she does the same when we go to her office, while holding our hands. It is a rare gesture where a great deal of doctors seems to be more fixated on seeing our illnesses as a gold mine, but she is a Hindu. Hindus pray God for strength, peace, and to comfort others during times of sheer despair.

 

Misery and sicken with anxiety have been our constant struggle after you denied him support for his Mental Illness. Where do you find the strength to turn a sick child away for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the lack of resources, which you often use as an excuse to deny treatment? Just because many parents and sick persons alike ignore the truth does not make it right.  

 

We appreciate what Dr. Pavri does. There are times when all a sick person needs from a doctor is to be shown a dose of compassion to forge ahead and leap over the tribulations that life places on your path. Empathy is something you have not shown, as my son struggles with Mental Illness, a beast that always prays on the weakest of our society.

 

When we noticed that my son was starting to relapse, we contacted Lucia, who pointed out that he was discharged from the program, which we knew. We asked whether we needed a referral from his pediatrician before she could see him. “Not necessarily, you can do the referral yourself,” she said. “I will let them know that you will be calling. If you find out that he needs the program at least the ball will be rolling.” Around this time, my son could hardly sleep due to feeling too much pain, so we took him to a walkin clinic. A doctor there sent him urgently to emergency. “Your son is not well, so take him to the Children’s Hospital; I will fax the paperwork shortly,” said the walkin clinic doctor. When we took him to emergency, however, after X-raying his broken rib and checking his history, the doctor quickly established he was relapsing.

 

She suggested the best thing for my son was to see somebody at the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program. “I will refer your son to Dr. Haensel. It is better if he sees his former counsellor; she knows his history and he knows her,” said the emergency doctor. Besides doing the referral themselves, the same emergency doctor and my son’s pediatrician advised us to call Lucia. It was something we had done already.

 

While my boy desperately waited for the linctus that was never coming (Tuesday morning, July 15, 2014), we called the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program, and explained that we had been waiting to hear from you. “The team meets every Thursday; so we are meeting this coming Thursday (July 17) and will discuss your son’s referral during that meeting,” said Jay, one of the intake coordinators. Thinking it was going to make a difference, Tuesday night—the same day—we wrote an e-mail and sent it to Patient Relations of the London Health Sciences Center (Victoria Hospital).

 

Wednesday morning Patient Relations forwarded our e-mail to the Intake Coordinator’s office. Our rights to advocate on behalf of our ill son seemed to have irked you and those entrusted with the vital task of providing mental health support to our children. To our surprise, Jay called to give us discouraging news: “There is nothing we can do for your son.”

 

It was like running to the doctor fighting for your life after being bitten by a taipan and because they get mad at you without total disregard for your well-being, you see them through a glass window flashing the antidote down the toilet. You cannot even speak up because it would appear as if you don’t have rights. Shame on you Dr. Haensel. We were shocked. Lucia told us we just needed to get the paperwork done, said my wife. “Lucia is only one person in the team. The team got together as a whole and, after discussing your son’s case, we decided there is nothing we can do for him,” said Jay. But when we talked to her Tuesday morning, she assured us the team would discuss the referral on the next Thursday’s meeting.

 

The team never met. You were offended after we wrote an e-mail to Patient Relations, which is our right. Do you think that intimidating a sick child and his parents into timidity or bullying them into silence is going to make our health care system better? I am sure every time your so-called team meets to discriminate against a sick child, you would spend more on coffee than what you will spend on a one-therapy session to rescue him.

 

Madam Doctor, everything tells us that your assumed sense of superiority does not believe we have the right to speak up or strongly advocate on behalf of our boy. As a person well-versed with a good chunk of the facts regarding the nation’s medical community, I would imagine you know that almost 20% of children and youth in Canada suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. Two thirds of these suffer from more than one disorder and less than 20% receive therapeutic intervention.

 

Most importantly, when a doctor denies the intervention a child needs for his mental illness—which is what you have done to my son—you would be violating the oath you once took and contributing to the worsening of such statistics. It appears as if you are not fulfilling what the London Health Sciences Centre promises: “At Children’s Hospital, our values are at the centre of the care we provide to children and their families.”

 

Maybe you see the previous quote as simple rhetoric, but as a doctor hired by the Children’s Hospital to diagnose and treat a child like my son, you cannot capriciously deny him treatment to punish his parents for daring to advocate in his best interest. Otherwise, for insolent as I may sound, you do not believe in or identify yourself with the values of the hospital: “Caring and Compassion, integrity and responsibility, excellence and professionalism.”

 

We all know that mental illness itself is not life-threatening. However, according to the World Health Organization, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds around the world. In its first-ever global report on suicide prevention, published in late 2014, WHO said that it’s a serious public health issue that could be alleviated if more countries developed national suicide prevention plans.

 

As it relates to our country, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, in Canada suicide is the leading cause of death for all males between 10 and 49 and the fourth leading cause for women. The number of attempted suicides is estimated to be in the thousands. Not surprisingly, over 400 000 Canadians deliberately harm themselves every year. Madam Doctor, when my son’s pediatrician begged you to see him and you said no, we whimpered in silence because sadly, my son is part of such statistics and you wouldn’t offer us the help he needs.

 

We sent an e-mail to Patient Relations for obvious reasons. We have been concerned because mental illness is contagious. It is as transmittable as the AIDS virus that have left so many children without a parent, so many parents without a child, so many brothers without a sister, so many sisters without a brother, and so many families without a loved one.

 

Do you know why I think of mental illness as highly contagious? Relatives of a person with mental illness suffer as much as they do. Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, Diane T. Marsh describes mental illness as a, “Shared family burden.” Based on her research with children and other family members, Marsh concludes the entire family system needs to be addressed to point you to people and places that can help your loved one, which your program refused to do.

 

The pride of your medical machismo is more important than the potential demise of our child. The professor wrote, “This burden has a subjective component, which consists of the emotional consequences of the illness for other family members, and an objective component, which consists of their everyday problems.”

 

Crushed by the realization the hospital is not there to help our son would be enough for us to develop psychological problems to the extent that we also need help and support, because there is nothing we can do to help him. Our cold sense of impotency, for not knowing what to do, is taking a toll on us. Without the support of the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program, the only one of its kind in the area, we don’t have many options. “I literally begged her to please see my boy at least one time.” But you Dr. Haensel said no. “The family is not following the discharge plan to help him.”

 

“I remember once I read a book on mental illness and there was a nurse that had gotten sick. She died from worrying too about the mental patients not being able to get their food. She became a mental patient.” Ornette Coleman

 

 

Madam Doctor, one popular expression in Spanish says, “No hay mal que dure cien años ni cuerpo que lo resista.” Rather than trying to finesse you with a similar expression in English, I’d prefer to translate it literally into English so it does not lose its meaning. “There is nothing bad that lasts for one hundred years n or the body that would resist it.” In other words, nothing lasts forever! Eventually, things will change. I am talking about my son, of course.

 

Is our health care system as bad as people think or as bad as you want people to believe, saying, “We don’t have the resources"? While this could be true, you denied my son treatment not because you needed more resources. So let us assume they give you one hundred million dollars to fund a one-hour therapy session for him, but because his concerned parents point out that you should see the child sooner, you get mad and deny it to him. Do you think there would be an amount of resources that will make a difference? Enough is enough!

 

The Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program is not your personal property. You should not have the luxury of turning away sick children just because you don’t like their parents. However, you can abuse your medical power with impunity. The sad thing is that we don’t even have something like an Ethics Committee to investigate potential unethical behaviour and criminal behavior of doctors like you.

 

Sure, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is supposed to protect the public, including my child. Nonetheless, based on my own experience and anecdotal statistics, 99.9% of the time when people file a complaint against a doctor like you, she always comes on top. You rule the roost, so to speak. In Canada, we can only compare you with the National Rifle Association in the United States. It appears as if no government official—including the president—would ever be able to do much about the senseless killings and shootings terrifying the streets of America.

 

The same way the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, is being exploited by those who see the production of deadly weapons as a gold mine, in Ontario you are exploiting the excuse of “we lack the resources.” You denied a sick child treatment because you didn’t like his parents contacting Patient Relations when you chose to see his illness as something that wasn’t important. Therefore, the lack of resources-excuse wouldn’t qualify to frown someone into silence.

 

Telephone call

Intake Coordinator

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

 

 

Madam Doctor, based on your action, we can only describe you as a, “Government within a government.” Maybe you have the right to deny treatment as you please, but you are paid by the government to offer kids suffering from mental illness the support they need.

 

Are you familiar with Canada Health Care Act? The Act sets out the primary objective of Canadian health care policy, which is “to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of Canadians and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without barriers.”

 

When you closed the door on our soon, you sent us the “Relapse Prevention Plan” titled “School Support Plan September 2011.” You have shown so little disregards that you have deliberately overlooked the facts that things have changed. Four years later, he is going to a different school and is in a different grade. The protocol that you and the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program should’ve followed was to contact and update his present school.

 

The sole purpose of sending us the so-called Relapse Prevention Plan from four years ago was to be politically correct. If my son dies after you denied him treatment and they do an investigation, you sent the Relapse Prevention Plan to cover your behind. But you have nothing to worry about.

 

“Deep breathing, positive self-talk, playing with my pets-home, healthy eating and lunch, punching a pillow-home, use a stress ball, and visualization.” The RPP also says, “School Staff: Using the flip coin technique - not to give attention to his physical and somatic complaints, unless exceed 1 week.” This clearly shows you did not read my son’s referral from the pediatrician, the emergency doctor, the walk-in clinic doctor, and the parents.

 

How can you not pay attention to a person’s physical complaints when he has a fractured rib or ribs, contributing to his anxiety and Conversion Disorder for weeks? When you use, “The family is not following the discharge plan to help him,” as an excuse, is absurd. This would be like breaking an ankle and weeks later when the injured person speaks up, the physician says, I am not going to treat you because you did not elevated your foot and applied ice, as I recommended.

 

Do you seriously believe that after we have become parents-therapists, because you denied treatment for his mental illness, we are not following the discharge plan given to us when you discharged the kid four years ago? Following more than the RPP and using coping strategies is all we have done. When you decided to discriminate against our son, Nancy Wardrop, one of your coordinators called us at home. I asked her why the Child Adolescent Mental Health Care Program wouldn’t put him on the waiting list, as suggested by Patient Relations.

 

“It has nothing to do with the waiting list,” she said. “People cannot come in and out of this program, anymore; we don’t have the resources.” Then we wrote an e-mail to Dr. Sandra Fisman, Division Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “I am not in charge of clinical care issues and have forwarded your concern to Dr. Jeffrey Reiss who is the service chief,” Dr. Fisman replied.

 

Afterwards, a woman from Dr. Reiss’s office called us at home and said, “Anything regarding your son’s care has to go through Patient Relations.” Patients Relations are the magic words, the real reason why you have denied my son treatment.

 

Author of Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing with Passion & Purpose, Jill Jepson once wrote that people experiencing anger are often advised to simply stop and to just let it go. “With all the social injustices in the world,” she wrote, “I can’t imagine how anyone could go through life without being angry from time to time.”

 

Jepson, a college professor and linguist with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, suggests we all have a right to our feelings. After all, we are all humans. “While it’s true that mismanaged or excessive anger can result in some awful actions, the problem isn’t with anger itself, but with the way we handle it,” she said. “The feeling of anger itself isn’t an evil, a sickness, or a sin. It is a natural response to offense,” she, who is also an author, added.

 

Madam Doctor, while the professor is using her words of wisdom to empower writers through writing, I hope we agree on something: For as long as we uncork the bottle of frustration maturely, listening to what our anger is trying to tell us is liberating. If I try to convey I am not angry after you denied my son treatment while he struggles with mental illness, and I could see the stethoscope boogying to the rhythm of ‘liar liar pants on fire,’ around your neck.

 

I love my children more than life itself. From a father that would give his life to see his son happy and healthy to a parent, who has denied him the vehicle to achieve it, love your children, embrace and cherish them. God bless them for they are the diamonds of your heart, the aorta of your soul, and the light that will always guide the purpose of your existence.

 

I am certain your children enjoy the certainty of becoming something like a teacher, maybe a lawyer, perhaps an engineer, even a doctor or a professional of some sort; but my son faces an uncertain future. While a couple of relaxing sessions to help him cope would not secure a promising future for him, perhaps it was all he needed to start school on a healthy foot.  

 

Madam Doctor, pray God that a person who does not have your children best interest at heart will ever be in charge of safeguarding their well-being. You would be a very frustrated parent, but then again, you are a fucking doctor. May your sleep be forever fresh and uninterrupted. 

 

Click the link below to listen to the audio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8p8OafIHuk

 

 

We Feel Your Pain Son

 

Physical pain is an indescribable feeling

When one’s body succumbs to fatigue

Overwhelmed with spiritual torture

Pleading, wishing, hoping your pain relief

We will never give up

Seeking assistance, advice, and answers

But will we ever find them?

We don’t have the resources is their pretext

Oh son!

Be strong

This quest adds to our aches and distress

As they prescribes you with endless wait

You are pushed aside, your health railroaded

Our supplications are never heard

We are left feeling lonely and helpless

Resentful of a system we must pretend to trust

Like you, we suffocate our hopes with endless pain

When the sufferers become pallbearers to their neglect

It is only then they might pretend to issue regrets

But, then... it is too late; we are lost forever

 

Your mom

 

Sincerely,

Dalbert Sánchez

Father of the boy without support for his mental illness

 

 

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Openletter.cartabierta@gmail.com

 


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