Warning: This story contains subject matter related to suicide that may be disturbing to some readers
A woman’s unfortunate encounter with a nurse at Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH) has gone viral with hundreds of thousands of people viewing the video she shared to social media.
But while the woman was upset by her treatment at the hospital while she was going through a mental health crisis, she says she doesn’t want to encourage hate toward hospital staff; she only wants to spread awareness about mental health crises and the health care system.
Savanna Hedstrom recently shared a pair of videos to TikTok. Her fiancé, who was with her in the emergency ward at VJH, shot the videos.
Her initial video has been viewed more than 218,000 times with thousands of comments. Her second video has been viewed roughly 24,000 times as of Tuesday afternoon, March 21.
@savannaharmony #help #emergency #mentalhealth #hospital #blowthisup #anxiety #pleasehelp #panicattack ♬ original sound - Savanna Harmony Hedstrom
Hedstrom said she went to the hospital while suffering a mental health emergency. She stayed at the hospital for two days and one night. In another video providing further details of the situation, she said she was having thoughts of ending her life.
She said she suffers from anxiety, panic attacks and epilepsy.
The video shows Hedlund crying while talking to a nurse, shaking violently and asking why she isn’t able to see a doctor, while her fiancé and therapy dog are with her in the hospital ward.
“This nurse kicked me out when I tried to seek help to sewerslide. I need people to see how I was treated,” Hedstrom wrote on the now viral video. ‘Sewerslide’ is another word for suicide used on social media to avoid having a post that mentions suicide being flagged or hidden.
In the video, Hedstrom begs the nurse for her medication. In a subsequent video, she explains she brought her medications, which were prescribed to her, to the hospital. She says the nurses did not give her her morning medication until 3 p.m.
In the second video, the nurse asks Hedstrom to leave while she is still in a volatile state. Hedstrom is apologizing profusely while asking why the doctor will not see her.
The nurse says Hedstrom has “a responsibility to listen to me” while Hedstrom is asking to have her medications back and to see a doctor. The nurse asks Hedstrom if she would like her to explain the process and suggests making an appointment with the doctor.
“Can I finish? … You are welcome to leave,” the nurse says. “Let me finish,” she repeats.
“We only went in there seeking a psychiatric evaluation and seeking a doctor’s help,” Hedstrom says in the follow-up video.
Hedstrom says she won’t name the nurse as she doesn’t want people to pile on her.
“She doesn’t deserve any hate, death threats or anything that she could received if I name dropped her,” Hedstrom says in the follow-up video.
Many of the comments on the videos express strong dismay towards the nurse and well wishes for Hedstrom.
In a statement to The Morning Star, Interior Health (IH) said: “Whenever someone comes to any hospital – especially when in a mental health crisis – we want to give them the quality care they need as quickly as we can. It’s clear that this individual has concerns with her experience at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital and we are happy to discuss those concerns directly with her through our patient care quality office or site leadership.”
IH also argued that the short videos do not provide the entire circumstances of the hospital visit.
“A TikTok video can not provide the full context of an emergency department visit and interactions between patients, staff, and physicians. This is especially true of situations that may relate to complex mental health situations. We urge people viewing this video to keep that in mind before judging anyone involved or mentioned.”
IH added: “We are disappointed that a visitor at an IH health care facility took video recordings without the consent of the people being recorded. The rules prohibiting images or recordings in health care settings without consent exist because it violates privacy laws and can potentially put people at risk.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with the thought of suicide, call the Interior Crisis Line Network at 1-888-363-CARE (2273) or use the chat service from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, accessible through interiorcrisisline.com.