Mental health needs awareness


May 20, 2020


There is a glaring issue with health care today.

I took my wife to an empty emergency room in Corvallis recently for sudden onset double vision, loss of coordination, and emotional changes worried about a stroke.

She has been in treatment for a diagnosed anxiety/panic disorder for 15 years, and I have always been able to speak for her when she couldn’t speak for herself.

I understand COVID-19 protocols. I support frontline workers. There are five living in my house. We told the hospital staff that she had a mental health disorder, and they told us it was up to the nurse whether I could come back with her. We understood.

The panic attack began when they took her into triage alone. They did nothing to demonstrate any concern for it. I had to wait outside, but could still see her.

She tried to answer questions, but the panic was overtaking her. The man at Intake impatiently came out to me to collect the demographic info. She was shaking and sobbing.

The nurse came in to take vitals, ignoring the distress my wife was in. When my wife broke down and told the nurse she couldn’t do it without me, the nurse walked away dismissing her saying, “That’s your choice.”

Because Corvallis emergency made no allowances for diagnosed mental health disorders, my wife came home hoping stroke symptoms would just go away. I can’t convince her to go back.

She was humiliated by their cold treatment, and it is not the first time this has happened in a Samaritan facility.

Mental health should still count during a pandemic. Apparently it doesn’t matter in Corvallis.

Dean LeBret

Sweet Home


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