Mental Illness and Lethal Medical Neglect

Art by Rob Goldstein

Art by Rob GoldsteinLife in the Age of Aquarius

I saw my first homeless person with mental illness in the spring of 1982 in Honolulu.

I worked at the psychiatric unit on which the homeless man had recently been a patient.

John came to us for a course of ECT treatments in the hope that the ECT would resolve some of the symptoms of his Schizophrenia.

He was psychotic and minimally responsive to medications.

I was on his treatment team and assisted his Psychiatrist with the ECT.

After his treatments we sent John to the State Hospital where we hoped he would remain stable enough to live on an open unit.

When I saw him on Hotel Street a week later digging through garbage for food, I was shocked.

I thought that he was in danger and went to his psychiatrist to report my concern.

Dr. Popenoe: Yes?

Me: I…

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