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Landspítali Doctor Answers Criticism

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Landspítali Doctor Answers Criticism

Landspítali

Landspítali National University Hospital. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Responding to criticism voiced by the sisters of a man who seriously injured his brother-in-law on New Year’s Eve, a senior physician at Landspítali National University Hospital told RÚV that no patient seeking help is turned away from the addiction and psychiatric ward.

The sisters told Vísir following the attack that their brother had been turned away from the ward, both when he arrived there on his own and in the company of his sisters, because he was under the influence. They furthermore asserted police could do nothing to help them since the psychiatric ward would turn their brother away.

Sigurður Örn Hektorsson, senior physician of the addiction and psychiatric ward at Landspítali stated, “We attend to everyone who comes to us. Everyone gets a consultation; everyone’s condition is assessed, just as is done at the emergency room in Fossvogur. I’m unaware that any patient would be denied service which could prevent such an atrocious act.”

Sigurður said he was unable to comment on an individual case. “We work with a patient with his interests as a guiding force. We’re not familiar with cases where people are denied service when they seek our help. That would be an absolute exception if we had to turn anyone away. That would only be if people demonstrated disorderly behavior or were heavily intoxicated. It’s useless to [try to] diagnose psychosis of a person who is actively engaged in drug use, and then there is little we can do but call the police. To assert that the police get no access here is outright wrong. There is very good cooperation between the police and the psychiatric ward.”

Sigurður explained that in recent years, new work methods have been implemented regarding patients who battle drug addiction and suffer from psychosis, or are likely to be a threat to themselves or others. The psychiatric ward is open 24 hours, and in case a threatening situation presents itself, two rooms for urgent care are available, where patients, even those under the influence, are closely monitored until the next day when a psychiatrist assesses their needs.

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