Suicidal teen's medical care to be reviewed
Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister is ordering an outside review of the case of a teenager with mental illness.
Jerome Kennedy told CBC News on Tuesday he wants a review of the care the girl received from Eastern Health, the province's largest health authority.
"From my perspective, I'd like this review to commence tomorrow," he said. "There are very grave concerns being raised by this family and their lawyer, and I want to know the answers."
The 16-year-old, who suffers from borderline personality disorder, attempted suicide Monday night after being discharged from hospital in St. John's.
It was the second time in two weeks she was released from hospital and then tried to kill herself. Both times she was released against her parents' wishes.
To protect the teen's identity, CBC News isn't identifying the family.
The family's lawyer, Bob Buckingham, said she should never have been discharged. The Health Department and Eastern Health were working on a treatment plan to help her before she was released Monday.
"It's absolutely absurd and irresponsible and negligent that this decision was made," Buckingham told CBC News.
He said the teen's parents wanted her to stay at the Waterford Hospital, a psychiatric institution in St. John's, where she would be safe while a treatment plan was being worked out.
"Mom gets a call from the treating psychiatrist saying, 'There's no room at the Waterford and we're discharging her from the Health Sciences because she won't stay here,' " Buckingham said. "The psychiatrist should be suspended."
Buckingham accused the psychiatrist of penalizing the teenager because the family went public with her story.
"The psychiatrist said to the child, 'I'm not going to treat you anymore because of the public comments your family's lawyer has made to the press.' "
Kennedy said he will now have the girl's entire file reviewed by a psychiatrist from outside the province.
"One, to conduct an independent assessment of this young lady to see if she meets the test for certification, ... secondly, an external review will be conducted to see whether the care that's been provided to her has been appropriate," Kennedy said.
"That's twice in two weeks that this young lady has been released. A clinical review at the end of the day may support the judgments by the psychiatrists, but ... my major concern right now is the health and safety of this young woman."
The girl has now had seven surgeries because of suicide attempts.