The alarming videos show a man crawling out of a hospital in Canada after doctors suspected that he was “falsifying” his severe leg pain.
David Pontone, 45, was spotted on all fours on his way out of Humber River Hospital in Toronto after his early discharge – because officials dismissed his problem as psychological, according to CBC News.
“They thought I was pretending to be bipolar,” Pontone told CBC about the April 2018 incident. Surveillance footage had just been published after the reporter received it.
“There are no words to describe what I went through that night.”
While in the hospital, Pontone –
But revealing the history of his mental condition prompted a doctor to order an MRI and refer him to a psychiatrist on duty, CBC News reported.
Although Pontone complained of agonizing physical pain, the psychiatrist wrote that “anxiety” was his most dominant symptom, according to medical records obtained by the Canadian television operator.
Another note in the hospital records states that Pontone’s visit was due to his “bipolarity” and did not even mention his difficulty walking.
When the MRI did not reveal unusual results, a psychiatrist discharged Pontoon, forcing him to crawl out of the hospital on his hands and knees.
“The pain was unbearable,” Pontone said. It was impossible to be able to walk properly.
At points in the newly obtained footage, Pontone is shown fighting on the ground while a nurse stands next to him.
“The nurse kept saying, ‘You’re a big boy!’ You are strong! Come on, big boy, stand up! Said Pontone. “I was angry. I felt completely helpless.”
It took Pontone about 20 minutes to reach the exit, and a security guard then helped him into a taxi.
An ambulance later took him to a hospital in Toronto, where a neurologist diagnosed him with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which a person’s immune system attacks their nerves.
Health workers often overlook serious physical health problems in people with mental illness, experts said.
“We are ruining this population with horror,” said Dr. Vicki Stergiopoulos, a psychiatrist and chief physician at the Center for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto. “[The system] is insufficient and we need to do a better job of seeing people as people. “
Later, the head nurse of the Bomber River Hospital in Toronto, Vanessa Burkoski, apologized, Pontone’s family said.
Hospital spokesman Joe Gorman sent a statement saying the hospital was “deeply concerned” about the incident and that the staff involved “were treated appropriately”.