Case Review and Speculation: Changes in Decision-Making in a Clinical Setting

Review this case. It is intentionally vague, as that provides a broad landscape within which to reach, and please do, because anything is possible. Speculate what could have happened to change the screener’s mind? Think about the questions, then reread it.MR, a 34-year-old, white, divorced heterosexual female, has three adolescent children at home and is brought to the ER by her female friend.MR presented with chest pain and shortness of breath and admits to suicidal ideation, with a plan to drive her car into a tree; she denies intent and reports prior attempts. Elevated vitals, BP 155/85 with a pulse of 95, and temp 98.0; o-sat 97%. She reported no comorbidities and no legal issues. She reports employment outside of the home, a stable rx with her ex, no hx of trauma, stable housing, and no (SDOH) environmental risk. MR reported wanting to leave and stated she was feeling better.The screener asked MR, “How many times in the last 30 days have you had four drinks or more on one occasion?” to which MR replied, “None.” Subsequently, MR’s BAL came back at 2.4, to which MR looked at the screener and yelled, “That is bullshit!” Silently, the screener agreed, as she saw no sign of alcohol intoxication in MR’s presentation. Moreover, her mood had stabilized entirely in the four hours since she arrived.MSE: Dishevelled with elevated mood, through content grandiose, rapid speech, and spoke loudly but denied a history of mania. Furthermore, she complained of chest pain and difficulty catching her breath, which she stated occurs intermittently but has been happening more frequently and coincides with her increasing suicidal ideation. Molley denied any substance use.MR’s vitals had gone up, which was odd (BP: 185/90; P110), but her mood had stabilized, and there was no appearance of functional limitation or impairment in that moment or in the prior 24h, there was no reason to believe there was imminent risk, the SI had de-escalated to passive without a plan and no intent. MR reported no disturbance. The screener was ready to approve discharge, but the female friend who brought MR motioned to speak privately.Following this discussion, the screener ordered a toxicology screen and informed the nursing administrator that MR would be admitted pending results. Nursing should reserve a bed on the (LOCADTR level) 4-WM, with a 1:1 risk monitor for safety.What did the friend tell the screener? What Happened? What prospective or differential diagnosis may have been considered, and what may have been missed? What should the screener have asked? What would you have wanted to know? What do you still want to ask and why? Share on Facebook Tweet Follow us Sample Answer   Case Review and Speculation: Changes in Decision-Making in a Clinical Setting In this case, MR, a 34-year-old divorced female with suicidal ideation, presented to the ER with chest pain and shortness of breath. Despite initially showing signs of instability and elevated vitals, her mood stabilized over time, leading the screener to consider discharging her. However, a conversation between the friend and the screener prompted further action, including a toxicology screen and admission pending results. Speculation on Changes in the Screener’s Mind 1. Information from the Friend: The friend may have revealed crucial information about MR’s recent behaviors, substance use, or mental state that contradicted MR’s self-report. This new information could have raised concerns about MR’s safety and mental health, prompting the screener to reconsider the decision to discharge. 2. Potential Differential Diagnoses: Considering MR’s presentation, differential diagnoses such as substance-induced mood disorder, underlying medical conditions affecting vitals, or emerging mental health concerns like bipolar disorder may have been considered. These conditions could have influenced MR’s symptoms and behavior. 3. Missed Factors: The rapid change in vitals, disheveled appearance, grandiose speech, and complaints of chest pain could indicate an underlying medical or psychological issue that was not initially apparent. The screener might have overlooked the possibility of a substance-related issue or a developing psychiatric condition. 4. Additional Questions: The screener could have delved deeper into MR’s social support system, recent stressors, coping mechanisms, and past mental health history to gain a comprehensive understanding of her situation. Understanding the context of MR’s suicidal ideation and symptoms is crucial for appropriate intervention. Recommended Actions 1. Further Assessment: A more thorough mental status examination (MSE) focusing on cognitive function, insight, and judgment could provide insights into MR’s current state of mind and decision-making capacity. 2. Collaboration: Consulting with a psychiatrist or mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation could help in formulating a precise diagnosis and treatment plan for MR’s complex presentation. 3. Safety Measures: Implementing close monitoring and ensuring a safe environment for MR, given the potential risk factors identified during the assessment, is essential to prevent harm. In conclusion, while the initial evaluation suggested stability, the involvement of the friend and subsequent actions taken by the screener highlight the importance of thorough assessment, collaboration, and consideration of all factors in clinical decision-making. The case underscores the complexity of mental health assessments in emergency settings and the need for a holistic approach to ensure patient safety and well-being.   This question has been answered. Get Answer


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