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Monday, February 27, 2006

What is WRONG with the people who are supposed to be rational?

I enjoy watching TLC on cable, especially the emergency medical programs. Tonight, I am watching "Untold Stories of the ER".

Here is what prompted this post:

A guy comes into the ER with the story that he has just inadvertly chopped off his hand via unruly lawnmower. happens all the time, so believable. But when the doctor examines the handless arm, he sees that the cut is not unruly, but deliberate and straight across. It was a cut made by a meat cleaver.

The police found the man's hand in his freezer, and they brought it to the ER. The medical staff prepped for reattachment surgery while the doctor and the police confronted the man about what had been found.

His explanation? "I suffer from tendonitis and I had to stop the pain."

Clearly, no one thought that this was a very rational answer, and so they called a psych consult. This is the person who is supposed to evaluate the party, and they need this psychologist's endorsement to declare this man unfit to act on his own behalf.

What does she do? She comes out and tells the doctors, very seriously, that there are all types of fetishes and this man had a good reason for doing what he did.

She was serious. The doctors were incredulous.

Their first act should have been to pack up this "psychologist" and check her credentials, but I have to admit that this likely would have resulted in her freedom and the end of their careers, for her sort of "logic" is far too common these days.

She actually argued that this guy was RATIONAL in CUTTING OFF HIS *OWN* HAND with a MEAT CLEAVER! She ACTUALLY argued that he was not a danger to himself or to others.


I remember having to make decisions about taking people to detox, the question being whether they were able to care for themselves. If there was any doubt, ie, if I was not able to articulate why this person was being taken into custody and deprived of their freedom for 72 hours, then they were released.

I just don't understand how an alleged psychological professional can candidly and seriously argue that someone who cut off his own hand is actually rational because he has a sexual fetish. He is justified, therefore, in his actions, by the current thought of the day, in removing his hand with a meat cleaver because his sexual hormones told him to do it.

This really takes the cake.

I remember the day when I worked in adolescent psych and I had to stop kids from killing themselves and others. I got to stop a girl from stabbing herself repeatedly with a pencil, and you know what? That was defined as "self-injurious behavior", which was NOT a good sign for the person in question. It usually resulted in being locked up for better supervision, restricted from sharp objects, and possibly an increase or adjustment in meds.

But this guy, if he claims a sexual fetish, is given free rein to deform himself in whatever way he chooses. He told the doctors very directly that if they reattached his hand, he would cut it off again.

I've seen that same expression in the eyes of psychotic patients, I've heard that same tone as they described how they were going to take my life and the lives of others, and yet, I watch this program with incredulity as they stitch him up and send him off with a sling because it's not "ethical" to "force" him to have his hand reattached.

Exactly WHEN did it become acceptable to cut one's own hand off for the purpose of sexual excitement?

A sign of the times, folks. Our culture is so warped that a man like this is not being treated for very obvious psychological distress, to the degree that he hs permanently deformed himself.

God help this man. He is clearly mentally ill. But even more importantly, God help this shrink who defined his disorder as "normal". It is she who is guilty of the greater sin, and it is she who will need to stand at judgment and answer to God why she allowed one of his children to walk away from her without treatment for a clear case of illness she had the power and the authority to correct.

What more can be said than that? God protect us from "medical professionals" who define "ethics" according to such a twisted idea as this.


Jeff Miller said...

Maybe the real reason was that he was a fundamentalist and his "hand caused him to sin."

Adoro Te Devote said...

Ha! I actually considered that, but I think they would have forced him in that case because, as we know, religious beliefs are never a "good reason" for anything, especially living those beliefs.

For the record, even if he was fundamentalist, if I were a shrink I would have deemed him unfit to act on his own benefit and I would have had him admitted to the crisis unit.

Which is what should happen if you take a knife and deliberately saw off your hand, because such an act is quite...insane (legal term, not psych term).

Our Word said...

Ah, I wish my answers could be that disarming! Still, have to give Jeff a hand for coming up with that one.

Adoro Te Devote said...

That's really punny!

Doesn't it just make you wonder what is the sound of one hand clapping?