When my son got out of the Stratheden Hospital locked ward 4/IPCU with the locked seclusion room at the end of February 2012 he was put back in the Lomond Ward where he'd been cornered in a room by 3 male nurses and had to break his own hand to escape. I kept a close eye on him, visiting the ward every day, taking him out on passes.
They put him in one of
the two male dorms, not the quieter one. I got him moved after the guy
waiting to go to court on an assault charge was put in the bed opposite
my son. This guy seemed to have the run of the ward. He was often in
the staff room using their phone. He seemed to be a favourite of the
staff. I suppose like attracts itself to like. Bullies to bullies.
After I got my son moved
from the noisy bay and from the team led by the staff nurse who
assaulted my son on 1 February, it was easier for my son in the ward
although he wanted home as soon as possible. The treatment in the IPCU
had traumatised him. He had stood up to bullying and human rights
abuse. It had taken its toll.
Other male patients
weren't so fortunate. After they stopped locking my son in the room and
were forcibly drugging him, they locked another patient in. This man,
same age as my son, had been in and out of Stratheden for years so was
used to the "cooler" which had a light switch on the outside, patient
inside left in the dark.
guy had been in the State Hospital. He, along with many other Fife
IPCU revolving door patients, were used to the dehumanising treatment
there. They expected nothing different. In February 2012 he eventually
was sent to a more secure ward in Ayr and spent over a year there.
I saw him recently at Stratheden, he's now in the new low
secure unit. He was asking after my son and we reminisced about my son
being locked in the seclusion room and what happened. He was proud of
what my son did, standing up to the treatment by the nurses. He talked
about his mother who is the same age as me. I've know this guy for a
few years now and it's not been easy for him.
Back to Lomond Ward March
2012. In the quieter dorm one night my son was sleeping when suddenly
he was woken up by a female patient coming out from under his bed. He
asked her if she was OK. She said nothing and went out again. I spoke
about this to a staff nurse the next day. They checked the notes and
confirmed matter-of-factly that this had happened
This female patient was
in the observation room, a very unwell woman, who used the toilets in
the corridors without closing the door. My son alerted me to this, I
reported it. But I wasn't hopeful of her being looked after properly.
Soon after this the woman disappeared or absconded or probably just
wandered out of the ward unobserved. Very easy to do this in Lomond
Ward. It seemed that the nurses really couldn't care less.
In 2010 when my son was a
Lomond inpatient there had been a young female Russian/Armenian student
from St Andrews who had been brought into the ward by the police. She
was in the observation room, on 24/7 obs for a time. She wasn't keeping
her clothes on. I knew this because the nurse watching her kept
telling her to put her clothes on.
male patients walking back and forward could hear this also. I could
see through a gap in the curtain that she was in her underwear. No
doubt other folks passing could see the same. There was little dignity
in this ward. I raised a number of concerns in 2010, didn't take them
to a complaint. I was particularly concerned about the safety and
dignity of women in this ward.
No doubt this is why my
son and I were targeted by staff in 2012. Badmouthed, bullied and
subject to human rights abuse. Thankfully I don't have daughters. But I
have two younger sisters and a mother who experienced psychiatric
treatment, fortunately not in Fife.
I have links with a
number of universities in my role as a survivor activist and carer. A
senior nursing lecturer spoke to me in late 2012 about his experiences
working as a nurse in Stratheden about 30 years ago. When women were
forcibly given ECT with no respect for their dignity, their private
parts uncovered. This guy has been in education for a long number of
years but the memory of this still stays with him.
the time I asked him not to tell me any more. My mother had many
courses of ECT against her will in Murray Royal Hospital, Perth, in the
50's and 60's. I couldn't bear the thought that she might have been
subjected to this type of abuse. Or that my sisters might have
experienced similar. My mother never went into detail about it but
voluntarily took the depixol depot until the day she died.
My advice, don't put your
wives and daughters into Lomond Ward, Stratheden, it's a very risky
business. Bad history. Bad medicine. They might not come out of there
alive and kicking. It takes a strong person to withstand abusive
treatment, disrespect and neglectful care.
And if you raise any
complaints be very careful how you do so. In my experience they don't
countenance complaints at Stratheden. They are not accountable and
haven't been for many a year. It's an oppressive system that has been
allowed to get away with it. But their days are numbered.