Monday, March 03, 2008

Cry for help ignored

Cindy Powell entered the emergency room with large knife cuts on her arms. She was sent home with stitches, ibuprofen and brochures on bipolar disorder.

“She said, ‘I wasn’t trying to kill myself’ — she actually said that,” [Dr. Robin]Henderson said. “At that point, we’re not seeing intent, and this particular injury was not holdable. If we do, then we’ve got a civil rights violation on our hands.”

In Oregon, two physicians must find people are a danger to themselves or others before they can be put on a five-day psychiatric hold against their will.

Because Powell said she didn’t want to kill herself and told a nurse that she never had a desire to hurt anyone else, St. Charles’ staff couldn’t keep her, Henderson said.

Three days later, Powell committed suicide.

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