> No More Secrets And Lies: Mary's Missing Meds

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mary's Missing Meds

Once Mary was back at North Homes I called her almost every day. The staff got to know me well and we would talk while we waited for Mary to come to the phone. Sometimes Mary would call me. And one night after she had been at North Homes for about a week, she called to tell me she wasn't feeling well and wondered if it could be due to her medications. I asked her what she meant by this, and she told me she hadn't taken her meds since she'd arrived at North Homes.

"What are you talking about? Why aren't you taking your medications? What's going on?"

"I don't know. I guess they stopped them. I asked the nurse about them, but she didn't know anything either. I think that's why I'm feeling so sick and so weird."

I could detect a change in her mood, even during our brief conversation — little things that didn't bother her much before seemed like bigger problems to her now, and this concerned me. I told her no one had mentioned changing her meds even though that didn't mean they hadn't been changed, and I said I would look into this for her. She asked me to let her lawyer know about this and asked if we would find her medications for her. I told her we would.

I emailed the team about this latest glitch in Mary's group home life. Her lawyer then called her and noticed the same things I had — that she seemed more anxious than usual and more easily upset about things that normally didn't bother her, like, when she was taking her medications. She said Mary noticed these things about herself but was mostly concerned about getting sick now. 

I talked to the nurse at North Homes, and she told me that no medications had come with Mary when she had arrived, which meant her meds were probably still at Elmore. I then called Elmore and talked to the head nurse, Rhonda, and asked her if Mary's meds were still there. She said they were but that she was just getting ready to dispose of them. I asked her why she was doing this and she told me that the last time Mary's corrections officer and social worker visited Mary at Elmore they told her they were planning on dropping her medications. Rhonda assumed a doctor had ordered this and didn't think anymore of it at the time. I told Rhonda to keep the medications.

This infuriated me. Mary hadn't been seen by any doctor. She would have told me if she had, and she wouldn't have been wondering where her meds were if a doctor had ordered that they be stopped. She was starting to get sick, and even a little psychotic, from having her medications suddenly dropped — something that can cause problems for anyone taking medications. I told Mary's lawyer what Rhonda had told me — that it looked as though her workers had decided on their own to drop her medications without letting anyone know, and, of course without a doctor's orders.

Mary's lawyer fired off an email to the corrections officer and social worker demanding that they get her meds and take them to her immediately. Her social worker drove down to Elmore and got the missing medications and took them up to Mary at North Homes. Her workers got upset with me for meddling in her case again.


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