Combat Vet Sought Help During Bout Of Suicide Ideation:
On January 20, 2017, as a combat vet, I called for an ambulance to take me to Lompoc ER due to combat-caused SEVERE tinnitus (ear-ringing). I was thinking seriously of suicide and wanted some help.
I didn’t go to the ER expecting the staff to eradicate the extreme, relentless ringing (imagine a jet engine screaming directly into your ears). I was hoping to be given some form of relief (sedative maybe) and to be kept from harming myself.
When my wife discovered I was in the ER, she drove there and sat with me in their observation room for hours and hours, while I cried with frustration, only wanting to die to end the constant torture.
(Note: Hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) are the top two health conditions among combat veterans. This condition, called auditory processing disorder, is associated with blast exposure and is known to trigger suicidality.)
ER Doc Fails To Enter Suicide Watch In Chart For Combat Vet:
My wife walked around looking for a helpful person who would attend to me. She kept being told to wait for the RN to show up (not sure this person ever did come on board). Dr. Dawes was the ER doctor on duty that long dreadful night. He apparently wrote in my chart that my chief complaint was “tinnitus”, not suicide watch.
My Wife Declined Drug Due To My Previous Adverse Reaction:
One young worker who seemed very new at her job attempted to give me an antidepressant that I had tried in prior years, with terrible side effects. My wife knew this and declined this drug on my behalf. Thank God she had a long background in medical knowledge, or I might have taken this drug and completely flipped out.
We waited from 4 pm until well after 10 PM with no sign of help on the way. Exasperated, my wife sought out a nurse who looked as if she may have been the long-awaited RN. She went to the nursing station and pointed towards my room, asking the nurse to please get help for me.
Nurse Yells Angrily At My Wife As If My Suicidal Condition Didn’t Warrant Concern:
Shockingly, this nurse, who was entering data into her computer, yelled loudly with anger at my wife (for all to hear), “We have SICK people here!!” As if suicidal ideation isn’t some kind of sickness?!!
After my wife finally went home to get some rest for the next day’s problems, someone gave me one dose of a sedative, which calmed me down somewhat. The next morning I was driven by ambulance to a psychiatric hospital far from Lompoc.
Lompoc ER Didn’t Show Compassion & Caring:
My wife and I know that ERs are notorious for long waits, but the cruel, rude and disrespectful treatment (or lack of treatment!) were without excuse.
I’m a 100% disabled combat veteran, and the adjectives displayed on the walls of LVMC (“compassion, caring” and another one I can’t remember), don’t describe this place’s mentality toward its own community.
We Found Santa Ynez ER More Professional:
Later, when my wife had several serious falls, we drove to Santa Ynez ER and were treated SO much more professionally and kindly there. Save yourself the misery and drive the extra minutes if you need to go to an emergency room.