A woman who was injected with a needle during an emergency room fight that also pricked a security guard lives in fear she may have contracted a virus.
Lucy, who did not want her real name to be given, claims she was “cruelly” held by four security guards and forcibly injected with a sedative at a Manchester hospital in the spring of last year when she was suffering from a mental crisis.
The 45-year-old, who works in public housing, said she still has daily flashbacks to the ordeal.
NHS Docs seen by The IndependentShow staff admitted the incident put Lucy at risk of contracting a blood-borne virus and should have invited her for blood tests.
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But Lucy said health professionals didn’t tell her about the needle incident and she only found out six months later when she complained about her treatment.
In a letter in response to her complaint, the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) “sincerely” apologized for her experience.
It comes after The Independent As previously revealed, women are significantly more likely to be drug restricted in psychiatric wards than men. The NHS carried out thousands of chemical restraints on individuals every month between October 2020 and February 2021, but 63 per cent of all those chemical restraints were used on women.
Opening up about her ordeal, Lucy said she was taken to the emergency room by her family because she was suffering from mental health issues.
She became distressed and had panic attacks when staff would not let her go after 11 hours. She was eventually dismissed under the Mental Health Act — a decision she felt like an “abrupt escalation.”
Lucy was offered diazepam, a powerful anti-anxiety drug, but she refused to take it because she said the doctors didn’t want to tell her the name of the drug. She was then forcibly held and injected with the sedative lorazepam.
“They said, ‘We’ll give you an injection,'” she said. “I thought, ‘No, no, no, no’. I screamed to my throat as they went off and forced me to the ground along with four security guards.
“And I wriggled and wriggled and said, ‘No, I don’t want it.’ I remember seeing a security guard with a scratch on his arm and saying to the man, “I’m really sorry.”
Lucy said the ordeal was “traumatic” and explained she was later committed to a psychiatric ward for five days.
“It feels like it was a series of unfortunate events that just kept spinning,” she added. “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”
She said she only found out a security officer had also suffered a needle injury when six months later she requested documents from the NHS detailing what had happened to her.
“I remember reading the notes and just going numb,” Lucy added. “I was just like, ‘Oh my god.’ I feel sick. I was absolutely horrified.”
Lucy said she was too scared now to have a blood test done for possible infections as she was terrified of the possible results.
Her NHS patient’s records say one of the security guards holding her suffered a needlestick injury in the fight. However, it could not be certain if this happened before or after the injection was given to Lucy. Both should be tested as a precaution, it said.
The notes continued: “Both individuals are not known to have blood-borne viruses and are considered low-risk. Lucy is scheduled to go to the ER for blood work and then be invited back by her GP for more blood work in eight weeks.”
However, hospital records show that Lucy was not given this information directly by NHS staff, only given to her daughter, nor was she contacted for follow-up testing.
Lucy has now referred her complaint to the Parliament and Health Ombudsman, demanding compensation of £5,000 for what she says has been persistent delays since she first lodged a complaint with the NHS in June last year.
Bridget Hughes, of the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said the organization was aware of Lucy’s complaint and was “deeply sorry to hear of her distress”. She said the Trust could not comment further due to confidentiality concerns.
Ms Hughes said her staff conduct a “full mental health assessment and referrals to the most appropriate support and treatment where necessary”.
“We recognize that a hospital stay can be a very stressful environment, and we strive to provide compassionate, safe and least restrictive care,” she added.
*Lucy’s name has been changed to protect her identity