Letters to the Editor

LMH need

December 16, 2010


To the editor:

I recently read that Lawrence Memorial Hospital has spent $45 million for expansion of the hospital “campus” under the guidance of CEO and President Gene Meyer.

How much of that $45 million was spent on upgrading LMH’s mental health unit? Oh, my mistake! That’s right; LMH doesn’t have a mental health unit!

Let me try again. How much of the $45 million was spent on building or providing a mental health unit? Naughty me! I already knew the answer: zero dollars!

LMH now provides care for rape victims rather than turning them away and sending them out of town — but only after the hospital was publicly shamed by members of the community, led by our wonderful district attorney.

I guess it’s just too bad for those with a mental illness who need to be temporarily hospitalized during a crisis time. LMH just sends them off to mental health beds elsewhere in the state or, because of the scarcity of such beds, the mentally ill in crisis wind up homeless, commit suicide, or wind up in the No. 1 facility for the care of the mentally ill in Kansas and across the nation: our jails or prisons. Ask any sheriff.

Won’t all of you in this community rise up as one voice and help correct this shameful situation for those of us who sometimes need a local mental health unit? Please!


Scott Morgan 7 years, 6 months ago

Liberty_One.........we have to disagree on this one for a change.

A city this size does need a for profit mental health unit which can do more than just stabilize patients in the ER and send them home. Of course, sending them home in hopes they will make their appointment the next day. Good grief we feed and house every deadbeat setting foot in town, this issue seems a slam dunk.

Doesn't have to be at LMH though.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

"need a for profit mental health unit " Contradiction of terms.

shadowlady 7 years, 6 months ago

I agree, the hospital should provide something. They used to!! and some mental patients needs a place to stay to get back on top of things. Some of them are a danger to themselves and to others. They need a place to go and the right meds into their system, so they can function properly. Mental patients need help from time to time, just like anyone else, only with a different problem. And some people just plain need to be in a mental institution, but instead they are out on the streets. They have closed a lot of mental institutions down. There are homeless shelters, for the homeless, some of the homeless want to work and can't seem to get back on their feet, then you have some homeless that just flat don't want to work, and then you have the mental patients.

LA_Ex 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow! What a misinformed letter. Mental health patients are treated at LMH daily and they are referred to the appropriate facility for follow up care. Sexual assault victims ARE treated at LMH and the DA apologized for his actions. A very small percentage had to be referred to another facility. I take it the letter writer missed those articles in the LJW.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 6 months ago

From what I understand, there wasn't a constant enough demand for the facility when it did exist. The unit would be temporarily closed from time to time because of a shortage of insane. The other problem was (or is) that there wasn't a Psychiatrist who was interested in running it. They even tried to expand it to a mental health ward / elder-care facility, and it still didn't have enough residents on an ongoing basis to justify full-time employees.

Again...."my" understanding.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 6 months ago

LA_Ex.... Lawrence does not have a single overnight psyche unit bed in town. Daytime services out the ying, but no acute emergency mental health facilities.

Shawnee Mission Hospital does for instance have a psyche unit which is a good thing. SMH is a for profit hospital. Which is a good thing. They have plenty of MDs willing to work the unit.

LA_Ex 7 years, 6 months ago

So you're telling me that at 3am a person with a mental health emergency is turned away and not treated? BS. You're first post mentions all the deadbeats in this town. Who exactly do you think is going to be using up the majority of the "overnight beds"? Here's your scenario. Homeless guy gets to the drop in center too late to get a bed. His options are to sleep in the park in sub-freezing temps, or call LPD and say he wants to kill himself. Now he gets to nice warm comfortable bed, TV, food and clean bathroom. Oh and don't worry, Medicaid will cover it.

Bottom line, you can't have a full time, full service mental health facility without staff. Mr_right_wing hit it on the nose. His understanding is 100% correct.

meggers 7 years, 6 months ago

In the hypothetical that you mentioned, the man would likely be screened at LMH and then transported to Osawatomie State Hospital. He would NOT be hospitalized at LMH.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 6 months ago

LA-Ex your are absolutely correct. A mentally ill person homeless or not will not get the attention for a non illegal act at the ER. There will not be a true screening, nor professional counseling to either put the person in a ward or trust..........and I do state trust....... they will follow up by either showing up at Ossie State hospital or seek other professional care. In Lawrence on Dec. 17, 2010-

Think about it. would you want to be transported to Ossie?

Plink your ear with your middle finger and listen. A cold deadbeat homeless guy can not go to LMH and act kooky just to get a room. If he states he will kill his or her self they will do a screening at LMH. If he keeps saying he will injure himself, LMH will do the following. Try to sign him or her a contract stating he will not hurt themselves. Or, secure transport will take them to the state mental hospital.

Now, this is good. But let's take a look at the folks who really want help. Would you like to be transported to Ossie, or a family member. Mental illness is a lonley disease, often with horrid self loathsomeness.

Again, Lawrence does not have a single bed for somebody suffering from serious mental health issues.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 6 months ago

It's a really pretty campus. I did my Psych clinical rotation there.

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