A Plea From a Desperate Mother in an Overflowing ER

 

Editor’s Note: I’m posting this story anonymously from a mother who reached out to me, desperate for stories like hers to be told. 

You would think a homeschooled kid wouldn’t be as affected by the shutdown. But take away his church,  his youth group, his grandparents, and his soccer season, then make all in-person therapists unavailable.

Roughly eleven months later he’s not safe to be at home. He’s been in an adult ER for six days (with no end in sight) while he waits for a pediatric inpatient psych bed to open up anywhere in the state. He had to transfer out of the somewhat tolerable pediatric ER because they don’t have the resources for a kid to stay that long. He’s essentially in a prison wing of an adult ER and the entire wing is filled with teens waiting for a bed to open up anywhere in the state or surrounding states,  at any hospital.

This wing is not set up for more than a few-hour stay. They aren’t allowed to have a clock in their room, there are no windows (besides a small one in the locked door) so they have no idea if it’s day or night. They bring the mattress off a gurney in and put it on the floor for him to sleep on. These kids are isolated in what is essentially a cell in the midst of their mental health crisis. (Though the nurses, behavior assessors, and chaplains are fantastic and doing what they can).

I work as a nurse in a rural hospital with fewer resources than this urban hospital he’s currently in (it’s a 3 1/2 hour round trip to the city to visit him each day). Our rural hospital is in the same situation,  kids coming in through the ED and staying in our hospital as ED patients for multiple days waiting for a bed in another hospital.

I don’t understand why no one is talking about how overwhelmed the pediatric mental health system is right now and what it’s doing to kids who need immediate help.

I’m angry at the people who don’t think the shutdowns have affected kids in irrevocable ways. I’m angry at the politicians who are ignoring this crisis and not finding a way to make more resources available. They were able to create entire overflow hospitals for COVID patients (that weren’t used), but can’t create some overflow behavioral health units for kids in danger.

I’m furious. Every single state governor and hospital CEO should be petitioned and forced to take a tour of the EDs sitting full to overflowing with these kids who need immediate help.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I don’t really “like” it, as it is a horrible occurrence, but I feel it is important.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    How tragic and horrible–and totally unnecessary. Let’s call the pandemic over!

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    This is a silent crisis. I have two friends who have lost late-teen daughters to suicide since the crisis began. That’s anecdotal — but it’s the first time in my life that I can say it.

    I was speaking with a mother today whose two daughters haven’t been in school since the lockdowns began last year, something I find unfathomable. Much attention is paid to relief checks and bailouts, but what children need — and many families need — desperately is for teachers to resume teaching, in person, in class. The failure to resume schooling, given the very limited danger this disease represents to children, is a tragic mistake.

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    The failure to resume schooling, given the very limited danger this disease represents to children, is a tragic mistake.

    Only if your goal is a healthy and prosperous United States. If it is to maintain power by what ever means necessary – well, an emotionally-damaged and ignorant population is more easily controlled.

    • #4
  5. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Bethany Mandel: I don’t understand why no one is talking about how overwhelmed the pediatric mental health system is right now and what it’s doing to kids who need immediate help.

    The mental health of the nation’s children is such a minor sacrifice if it ensures that ICUs never run short of ventilators.

    < sarcasm mode = off >

    • #5
  6. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    It’s not just a pandemic-related issue.  The pediatric mental health system has been a mess for years.  Pediatricians are often ill-equipped to provide any meaningful assistance.  Good luck trying to find a psychiatrist or even a therapist who works with teens and is accepting new patients. Never mind if that particular person is able to connect with your child in a meaningful way. 

    Then there is the cost.  There are a lot of very high quality treatment options for adolescent mental health, but they are tremendously expensive.

     

    • #6
  7. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Bethany Mandel: This wing is not set up for more than a few-hour stay. They aren’t allowed to have a clock in their room, there are no windows (besides a small one in the locked door) so they have no idea if it’s day or night. They bring the mattress off a gurney in and put it on the floor for him to sleep on. These kids are isolated in what is essentially a cell in the midst of their mental health crisis. (Though the nurses, behavior assessors, and chaplains are fantastic and doing what they can).

    I am trying to imagine what kind of non-hereditary condition would lead a parent to believe that such a facility is better for one’s child than home life. What measure of professional counseling could compensate for the sensory deprivation, isolation, and separation particularly from those who most know and love that person? 

    The best defense against suicidal thoughts is social interactions, which force one’s attention outside oneself. Family, friends, neighbors, fellow parishioners, and such can help much more than a professional counselor who only has time to converse for an hour (or less) between monotonous and depressing hours of encouraged introspection. 

    • #7
  8. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Obviously, the author wants Granny to die and to undermine the experts helping us Do Something About It.  If we were to focus on the horrific costs of our approach, the harm to children that the nation’s pediatricians have formally condemned, the fact that we never did device a strategy to focus on those who are actually vulnerable, and if we permit ourselves to notice that none of these NPIs worked in any detectable way, then we would no longer Be In It Together.  

    • #8
  9. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    I am trying to imagine what kind of non-hereditary condition would lead a parent to believe that such a facility is better for one’s child than home life. What measure of professional counseling could compensate for the sensory deprivation, isolation, and separation particularly from those who most know and love that person? 

    It doesn’t matter if there is a hereditary or non-hereditary condition involved.  There are times when, as this mother said, it is unsafe for the child to be in the home.  Parents will try anything and everything before taking their child to a hospital, but they too often are not able to provide what the child needs.  Is the child leaving the house without your permission or knowledge to engage in unhealthy behaviors?  Do you have to remove all of the knives in the kitchen?  Do you lock your bedroom door at night, and later during the day?  Is your child frightening you or threatening you or other members of the family?

    There are gifted professionals who are able to provide the structure and accountability the child needs and that the parents cannot.  Often it is simply because the professional is not the parent.

    • #9
  10. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Scientists who dispute the dogma and quantify the very low risk that COVID presents to kids are subjected to harassment:  https://www.thecollegefix.com/professor-quits-researching-covid-because-of-hostility-over-his-findings-about-low-threat-to-children/

     

    • #10
  11. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    It doesn’t matter if there is a hereditary or non-hereditary condition involved. 

    Heredity is relevant because hereditary problems arise with or without school disruption. While genes can make someone more vulnerable to the challenges of extreme social isolation, these clinical prisons are packed now because many kids without pre-existing disorders cannot compensate amid the public restrictions. In most cases, I suspect, they lack the informal social supports that preclude need of clinical assistance. 

    In some cases, it might be that the parents rather than the child are in need of counseling. Parenting too must adapt to the restrictions. 

    But there shouldn’t be a need to adapt because the core problem is the public restrictions. If there is an explosion of extreme disorders requiring radical measures, like a medical prison to prevent further acts of violence, then it’s logical to assume that the most radical change of circumstances — the lockdowns — is the primary cause. 

    • #11
  12. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    There are times when, as this mother said, it is unsafe for the child to be in the home.

    This is absolutely true, and it is not necessarily a fault of the parents. Teenagers can be properly nuts – and the job of the parent is to get them through that period, one way or another, with as few irrevocable mistakes as possible.

     

    • #12
  13. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I don’t know anything about child psychology beyond what razing raising (sorry, Freudian slip there) a bunch of them taught me. But son #4 is a cop in a reasonably prosperous New England college town, and even before the Wuhan coronavirus hit he was responding at least a couple of times a week to domestic calls in which a single mother felt she needed police assistance to get her teenage son to comply with her instructions. My boy tells me it’s worse now.

    Point being, “home life” and “parenting” are little words that cover an awful lot of range. The day the school closings started, I remember thinking about the plight of young people being sent home to unstable and frightened parents. Too little public attention is directed at the effect this is having on kids. (And public school teachers’ unions can go [CoC violation].)

    [ NB We home-schooled our six for most of their lives, and I have no great love for public schools. But this is a disaster. ]

     

    • #13
  14. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The mental health system in the United States has been a mess for years. The pandemic with its lockdowns, has added a new influx of children and teens into a system that is broken.

    I’ve been on calls as a former police officer involving individuals with mental health issues. Most of them did not end in violence, some did, but you had to beg the subject to agree to a 72 hour psych hold. When they did agree you had to beg the hospital to admit them.

    Unfortunately children have been denied the education, socializing with their peers, and even visits with their grandparents they need to thrive, and to prepare them for life as an adult. The constant drumbeat from the media, and politicians of how helpless you are, and the scolding for longing for a normal life has done far more damage than the so-called experts are willing to admit.  

    • #14
  15. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    iWe (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    There are times when, as this mother said, it is unsafe for the child to be in the home.

    This is absolutely true, and it is not necessarily a fault of the parents. Teenagers can be properly nuts – and the job of the parent is to get them through that period, one way or another, with as few irrevocable mistakes as possible.

    I had heard for boys the phrase is “keep them alive ’til 25,” but the latest I have heard is for kids with hereditary issues like ADHD you have to add 3 years to that assessment of how long it takes the frontal lobe to develop into what is generally considered maturity.  Teens are all gas and no brakes…that’s how you get the situations where boys die in fraternity incidents.  

    I have seen already-struggling teen girls develop issues because of the lockdown isolation that will stay with them for many years.  Whether is it discovering or intensifying drug use or their barely-nascent social development coming to a screeching halt, there is a generation of children whose lives are being transformed, and not for the better.  

    • #15
  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    This is horrible.

    And

    Mental Health Treatment in this nation is the pits. We don’t need the WuFlu for horror stories. The reality of the situation is that we, as a people, do not care about the mentally ill. We do not vote for mental health services. We do not demand laws be changed to allow families to get the help they need. We do not have the beds ready for treatment. Pediatric mental health beds are hard to come by without a crisis. Adult beds too. 

    I have been in the field for almost 30 years, and it only gets worse. Hospitals are shut down, services moved to the community, funding does not follow. There is no mental health union like a teachers union, or police, or any other public workers. Medicaid spending is cut without being “cut” through use of HMO’s who deny payment to providers. I told someone today in a call that I would not take Medicaid in Georgia no matter what. It is not worth it. 

    A society can be judged on how it takes care of the least of these. People with serious mental health problems are not cared for well by any of our systems. Most of the providers in the trenches, like the ones mentioned above, fight every day to make things as best they can. And some get burnt out. And the system does not support them or care for them. 

    This is far, far, far beyond Covid. As long as Americans consider mental illness a moral failing and addiction just a “choice”, and that mental illness is the problem of others, we will continue to be judged harshly. 

     

    • #16
  17. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    That’s a deeply sad and shocking story – as well as the comments from those that have friends or acquaintances who lost children through suicide. I heard it is a crisis in Las Vegas – the numbers are higher.  Yet the government’s attention is all on the border and parents pushing their kids by the thousands across the border? What will they find here if the schools aren’t open, hospitals and parents here struggling to gain back some sense of normalcy. My heart breaks – it’s all wrong and backwards.

    I saw on TV a woman who lived I think in CA, saying she saw a transformation of her little 6 year old boy, in less than a year, after being stuck in front of a computer and isolated from socializing.  He didn’t want to go outside and play, became introverted, not himself at all, became afraid. She was so alarmed she left her job, her home and went to CO. and got him in school. Now they want to do trials of this vaccine on children and babies because they don’t know the dosage or side effects!  This is out of control and parents must find the answers, even if it means defying the “rules” to get their kids back to a normal life and stop the suffering! 

    Moderna to launch COVID-19 vaccine trial on children as young as 6 months old (yahoo.com)

     

    • #17
  18. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Medicaid spending is cut without being “cut” through use of HMO’s who deny payment to providers.

    Add to this the major insurance companies who (attempt to–unless you get attorneys involved, and even then) take back payments made because you asked too many questions or took issue with them paying a pittance no matter how “cadillac” your plan is.  

    • #18
  19. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Don’t let yer kids get a covid vaccine.  The disease will not hurt them and a silent case will give them life long immunity without the risk of developing antibodies to their own cells.

    • #19
  20. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I don’t know anything about child psychology beyond what razing raising (sorry, Freudian slip there) a bunch of them taught me. But son #4 is a cop in a reasonably prosperous New England college town, and even before the Wuhan coronavirus hit he was responding at least a couple of times a week to domestic calls in which a single mother felt she needed police assistance to get her teenage son to comply with her instructions. My boy tells me it’s worse now.

    I mentioned a month or two ago a report about a classroom of kindergarteners that had multiple teachers and yet still couldn’t keep the kids generally in line. Failures of discipline are evident at the youngest ages today. From elementary school to college, teachers regularly report horror stories today that would not have been tolerated by previous generations. 

    Undoubtedly, there are many behavioral issues among kids that cannot be traced to lack of discipline, moral framework, and parental care. But it’s hardly surprising that increasing frequency of insane and indecent adult behaviors is accompanied by increasing misbehavior among children. 

    A culture that excuses months-long rioting and elects politicians who empower violent crime while praising boys who dress as girls will of course do immense damage to children and inflame common misbehaviors into grossly disordered habits of being. 

    • #20
  21. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    I mentioned a month or two ago a report about a classroom of kindergarteners that had multiple teachers and yet still couldn’t keep the kids generally in line. Failures of discipline are evident at the youngest ages today. From elementary school to college, teachers regularly report horror stories today that would not have been tolerated by previous generations. 

    This, too, started long ago.  However, for five and six year olds this sort of problem really began to blossom when school districts, along with private schools, began to move to an academic Kindergarten model.  Kids are expected it sit for long stretches of time and do worksheets.  The developmental difference between boys and girls is tremendous at that age.  You can have a child whose birthday is one day after the cutoff in the same class as a child whose birthday is one day before the cutoff.  If you have a cutoff of September 1, you could have a kid turning six in a class with a child who was four the day before school started.  That’s a tremendous difference.  Asking a four year old boy with not-unusual-at-that-age lagging eye-hand coordination to sit still for 40 minutes practicing writing the letter “a” is a recipe for disruption.

    A friend of mine was very excited that her daughter tested into a Chicago magnet school for Kindergarten.  The machinations the CPS went through for holding Kindergarten online were bizarre.  The children were expected to sit in front of a screen for 60 minutes for “Literacy” and 40 min. for Math.  With other activities kindergarten screen time was 360 minutes per day.  My friend sent her daughter back to the private day care situation she had been using. The woman who operates it used to teach kindergarten and has been running an in-person kindergarten for those kids who aged out of the day care since September.  Compulsory school attendance in Illinois does not kick in until first grade.

    • #21
  22. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    However, for five and six year olds this sort of problem really began to blossom when school districts, along with private schools, began to move to an academic Kindergarten model. Kids are expected it sit for long stretches of time and do worksheets. The developmental difference between boys and girls is tremendous at that age. You can have a child whose birthday is one day after the cutoff in the same class as a child whose birthday is one day before the cutoff.

    Certainly. But I was told by a teacher that there are unusual behavior problems unrelated to attention spans and natural brain development as well. The kids were especially destructive and threatening to adults. 

    I’m reminded of Thomas Sowell’s comments about the differences in Harlem from when he was young to the present day. The demographics were similar. But there were many more intact families with much stricter standards of discipline, both public and private. Many more kids are let run wild at early ages.

    Personalities are largely developed before the age of 8 or 10, I’m told. If so, correction is much harder by the time a child is old enough for destructive tendencies to become truly dangerous.

    • #22
  23. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    https://rushbabe49.com/2021/03/04/teachers-unions-killing-american-children/

     

    • #23
  24. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    How about we consolidate the infirm elderly (there’s been a substantial recent decrease in their numbers for some unknown reason) into fewer long term care centers. This would open up a number a facilities for youth psychiatric care.

    • #24
  25. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    How tragic and horrible–and totally unnecessary. Let’s call the pandemic over!

    As I have said elsewhere in comments at R>, In Michigan MDHHS staff review all death certificates against their data base of everyone who has tested positive for Covid. If the deceased is recorded in the data base, the death is added to the Covid count, no matter what a physician or coroner determined. Now consider that 6.5% of the population has been confirmed positive, and an average of 250 people die each day in Michigan. That comes to 16.25 deaths per day that can be traced back to the positive records. There currently are less than 16 deaths per day in Michigan from or with Covid.

    Added for clearer explanation: Of the confirmed positive, 83.5 % have recovered, so the vast majority of deaths currently being recorded as Covid deaths in Michigan are for people who no longer had Covid.

    Yes @susanquinn the pandemic is over.

    • #25
  26. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    How about we consolidate the infirm elderly (there’s been a substantial recent decrease in their numbers for some unknown reason) into fewer long term care centers. This would open up a number a facilities for youth psychiatric care.

    Consolidation is almost always a horrible idea.  

    • #26
  27. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    How about we consolidate the infirm elderly (there’s been a substantial recent decrease in their numbers for some unknown reason) into fewer long term care centers. This would open up a number a facilities for youth psychiatric care.

    Consolidation is almost always a horrible idea.

    Consolidation will occur naturally, as those facilities that have lost to(o) many residents will close or find another source of income.

    • #27
  28. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    It is always important to think of just what the actual ramifications for a society could be, if hysteria directs medical, political and economic policy. Almost nothing makes me sadder than realizing what is happening to our children, through the Plandemic measures that have occurred.

    However on many levels, it appears that the major “influencers” in our society are upset that they have reaped what they sowed.

    The measles mandate hysteria was the test run to see how the public would respond to further nonsense.

    Many of us tried to tell people: “Look if you wanna have a measles vaccine, for yourself or your kids, nothing would or should stop you, so go for it. But peeling away at the rights of all Americans to have their rights to medical freedom should not be done so lightly.”

    Despite our pleas to pay heed to the ultimate goals of the Big Pharma forces, most people writing for large corporate news orgs continued to trumpet that measles might be  among the most deadly diseases on an earth. The meme du jour was that  mandates were necessary.

    These writers even accepted that a “epidemic” was  a mere 33 children found to have measles through going to Disneyland. Even though it was later found that all these children suffered from the vax version of measles, not the wild version, meaning they actually had contracted  the infection from other kids whose vaccines then had shed the infection.

    This entire campaign contributed to the notion that people should always be afraid of any germ in the environment. The vax  mandates came down in NY state, with many people whose children had already been injured by vaccines moving elsewhere.

    It is sad that influencers and opinion writers promoted this line of thinking. Now it is obvious that the  hysteria created over measles further indoctrinated many Americans into the idea that “Better safe than sorry.”

    Again, reaping what  a person sows is usually to be expected. Anyone who ever chipped  away at the idea that medical freedom is not an important right to protect for all of us Americans needs to own up that this soft martial law lockdown has been the result of earlier ubiquitous propaganda that so many in the media undertook without looking to the future to see what was at stake.

     

     

    • #28
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