At least one Washington hospital is undergoing severe medical conditions and patient unrest due to overcrowding, short staffing and understaffing, according to a report released Thursday from the Maryland Office of the State Medical Examiner.
A review of an unidentified Maryland psychiatric hospital shows the emergency department regularly treats patients who are not under a physician’s care for “social symptoms or anger issues” at extraordinary rates. However, patients, advocates and lawmakers say they have no recourse, because those staff members have been laid off.
Here are some highlights from the report, as provided by the agency:
• In the last year, the hospital has performed procedures, pain medication and recommendations during 3,322 inpatient patient psych cases. And 18,449 patient psych orders were converted to outpatient orders.
• During the same year, there were almost 2,500 catheterizations in patients who were not under a physician’s care.
• 16,043 vial orders were transferred to discharge records.
• From January to March of last year, there were 233 total post-psychiatric patient events including 22 suicide attempts.
• Seventy-five percent of patients are discharged from psychiatric hospital within four weeks, according to the report. There are often “no staff to care for those patients in a crisis situation as well as the demands of normal duty hours. This puts stress on the staff and patient community and the patients are in crisis mode as they are released.”
• The hospital serves almost 50,000 Medicaid and Medicare patients annually, the report says.