Welcome to Your Voice, Your Choice
POhWER has been working in Nottingham City since 2010. We work in partnership with Age UK Nottingham & Nottinghamshire. Last year we supported 527 people in the City.
Read about Susan's experience
A woman we shall call Susan was anxious and unhappy when her good friend died and other problems crowded in. One day she had pains in her chest and felt she couldn't breathe so her partner called an ambulance.
She was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham and was seen by staff who instead of understanding that Susan was having a panic attack, called in two doctors who sectioned her under the Mental Health Act.
'I had no idea what was going on,' Susan said. 'All I knew was that I was put in another ambulance and driven off. I kept asking the ambulance man where we were going, but he said nothing. 'I had no idea I had been sectioned. We pulled up at another hospital ward. I was led in and kept asking where am I? I told staff I didn't want to stay, I wanted to go home. But they still didn't tell me anything. I went to the door, several times, but each time they pulled me back. The door was locked.’
'The next day I found out exactly where I was - in a psychiatric ward. I was shocked. I had never been mentally ill in my life. I said I wanted to go, but a nurse said I was going nowhere, I was sectioned. They wouldn't even let me go to the toilet on my own. They said I was on a five minute watch. Much later, when I got the paperwork of my case, it said I was suicidal or might self-harm!'
Meanwhile Susan's partner was beside himself with worry. Clearly Queen’s had made a terrible mistake.
He visited the ward twice a day and Susan told him how she was being treated without any respect. After a few days, POhWER's advocate Peter made contact with Susan. He had been called in by the hospital concerned about Susan's protests that she was well and wanted to return home.
'Peter was wonderful,' Susan said. 'He gave me all the information I needed to go before a tribunal to get released, and I decided I wanted to appeal, Peter helped me prepare for that hearing.
'At the tribunal I was told I could have home leave, a few hours every day. It was the first step to my freedom.'
Peter knew that Susan would have to be discharged after 28 days and after days of home visits that discharge day arrived.
'I felt so relieved,' Susan said. 'It was like a nightmare that had ended. With Peter’s help we demanded a full record of everything that had happened, and my partner and I are now going through it, with a view to further action.
'What happened to me should never have happened, and if POhWER and Peter had not been there I don't know what my fate would have been.'
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