Danish psychiatric center accused of dangerous over-medication
November 24, 2012
A Greater Copenhagen psychiatric care centre is facing intense criticism from former employees and the Health Ministry over allegations of over-medication of patients and poor management.
Psychiatrists working at Psykiatrisk Center Glostrup have reportedly been concerned for several years that patients were receiving doses of anti-psychotic medications that exceeded recommendations.
Michael Von Buchwald, a former centre psychiatrist, told public broadcaster DR that many patients were also receiving tranquilisers, which had resulted in some developing breathing problems.
“I don’t think it’s defensible. It shouldn’t be happening,” he said.
Buchwald is one of 11 psychiatrists that have resigned from the centre in recent years due to disillusionment with the leadership.
“The psychiatrists are partially unsatisfied with the working environment, leadership style and the way that they are medicating,” Buchwald said.
Concern about the over-medication has now lead the Health Ministry to launch an investigation and condemn the management for overdosing patients.
“We want to ensure that there is sufficient justification to treat patients in this way as we do not want to subject patients to further risk,” Anne Mette Dons, head of the Health Ministry's inspection authority told DR.
Psychiatrists that have spoken with the press indicated that the high doses of the anti-psychotic medication, Zyprexa, were ordered by Henrik Lublin, the psychiatrist who heads the centre. Lublin said he had reversed the decision after receiving an anonymous letter in March drawing attention to the problem.
But a copy of minutes from a meeting in December 2009 reveal that Lublin he had been made aware of the over-medication problem long before.
“The head clinician’s prescriptions of Zyprexa (anti-psychotic medication) clearly exceed the instructed doses while also combining them with benzodiazepams (tranquilisers),” the minutes state.
Psychiatrist Bent Rosenbaum was at the 2009 meeting, confirmed that the management had been aware of the problem.
“It’s a high level of denial,” Rosenbaum told DR. “The management knew the psychiatrists were dissatisfied with the doses that the chief psychiatrists dictated should be used.”
Lublin, however, has denied any irresponsible behaviour.
“I think we have been fully responsible and have used the medicines responsibly,” he told DR.
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