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Charlottenburg Wiegmann Clinic: patients in psychological distress due to corona outbreak released – Berlin

On October 13th, Emma came home from treatment in the afternoon and was sent to her room without comment to stay there. That’s how she tells it. Emma waits 20 minutes until two nurses finally come into her room with red files to tell her that she has to leave the clinic immediately to go to quarantine at home. She is listed as a risk contact of a patient who has now tested positive for Corona.

The young woman on the phone speaks slowly and calmly. She has made notes on her tablet and wants to tell everything in turn. Her name, like that of all patients in this article, has been changed by the editor. They were all treated at a specialist clinic for psychotherapy and psychosomatic medicine – the Wiegmann Clinic in Westend.

Emma was there to come to terms with her difficult family history. Her psychological state had previously deteriorated acutely. Your outpatient therapist recommended inpatient treatment. This ended abruptly.

Emma describes how she started crying in shock that day in October. “I’m not from Berlin and when I was discharged, I was literally on the street.” In desperation, she finds accommodation with a friend in a one-room apartment. Her family tries to take care of her as best they can. She could not have been promised a resumption after the quarantine period when she was released. “I wasn’t even allowed to be tested for Corona in the clinic, I had to take care of that myself.”

Emma wasn’t an isolated incident. According to patient reports, more than 20 out of 35 inpatients were discharged that week, and several people turned to the daily mirror.

Those seeking help were left alone by the clinic

Including a young student who emails the editorial team to express her despair. She lacks the strength for a long phone call. She writes how overwhelmed they were with the short-term discharge and the uncertainty. “It cannot be that mentally ill people who seek help are left hanging like that.”

Thoughts of suicide are a recurring problem in the course of the student’s illness; she suffers from depression. A few years ago she was hospitalized for attempting suicide. This is evident from the documents that are available to the daily mirror.

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The student asked the Wiegmann Clinic for assistance in finding an outpatient therapist, which, according to the student, was rejected. This is the task of the referring psychiatrist, not the clinic, it said. The doctor’s letter from the clinic, which she needs for further treatment, was not sent to her until four weeks after her discharge.

The new Wiegmann Clinic is located on the DRK Clinic Westend site (pictured here).Photo: Amélie Baasner

The cases are now also a matter for the clinic’s patient advocate. For example, Stefan, a patient with anxiety disorders, was not allowed to leave his room for more than five hours before he was discharged. This emerges from an email from the patient advocate, which is available to the Tagesspiegel.

Stefan declared to her that he was not able to discharge and described his great fear of being quarantined at home. The man was initially denied proper discharge papers, according to the patient advocate.

Those affected stayed in contact via Zoom and Whatsapp

Those affected network, talk via Zoom and Whatsapp to give each other support. They consider sharing the legal fees and together they write a letter to the Complaints and Information Center for Psychiatry in Berlin.

When confronted with the allegations, the clinic management reacts as follows: “Please understand that we take our data protection obligations very seriously and cannot publish details about treatments in our clinics.” In principle, patients and contact persons who tested positive for the coronavirus would only be released into quarantine at home if, according to a medical assessment, they have been classified as fit for discharge. This is decided individually in each individual case.

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In the case of a positive corona test or an officially ordered quarantine, no psychosomatic treatment can be given on site, and post-inpatient telephone support will then be provided. In addition, the clinic refers to the requirements of the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf health department.

District office confirms the corona outbreak

Detlef Wagner, District Councilor for Social Affairs and Health, confirmed to Tagesspiegel that there was a corona outbreak at the clinic. However, he was surprised at the discharge of inpatients. He was only informed about the closure of the day clinic.

Was an individual assessment of the patient really carried out? Emma tells how she and seven other patients, who were also discharged on October 13th, were given a discharge certificate on which the same diagnosis was always handwritten and without the usual ICD10 coding. The editors have three of these discharge certificates.

The DRK clinics Westend. The new Wiegmann Clinic is located on its railing.Photo: Amélie Baasner

Was the follow-up really ensured? Both Emma and her outpatient therapist claim to have contacted the clinic to discuss how the diagnosis could be made, and they both said they had been turned down on the matter.

In an outpatient doctor’s letter available to the Tagesspiegel, Emma’s therapist describes how much the woman’s condition worsened shortly after she was discharged. Emma tells the Tagesspiegel editorial team that after being suddenly discharged from the clinic, she thought more and more about harming herself.

[Alle aktuellen Entwicklungen in Folge der Coronavirus-Pandemie finden Sie hier in unserem Newsblog. Über die Entwicklungen speziell in Berlin halten wir Sie an dieser Stelle auf dem Laufenden.]

The other patients also emphasize that there was never a close-knit follow-up telephone call. Stefan reports that he was only asked about his health by the clinic director a week after his discharge. This only happened after he had made a comprehensive complaint to the clinic’s management. He was told in the same breath that he could not be accepted again because of his criticism. The relationship of trust is broken and the right to take legal action is reserved if he expresses himself to third parties.

Resumption offered – against failure to take legal action

Emma says she has been offered a retrial, provided she doesn’t take legal action against the clinic. Both ex-patients have given the Tagesspiegel affidavits about their statements.

All interviewees of the Tagesspiegel report of fellow patients who would have accepted the offer in order to be able to continue their treatment. You are now back in the clinic and do not want to comment on the events and allegations to the Tagesspiegel.

The Wiegmann Clinic, on the other hand, refers in its statement to the extent to which the success of the therapy depends on the relationship of trust between therapist and patient. The letter to the Psychiatry Complaints and Information Center was unsuccessful from the patient’s point of view. The writing was forwarded to the clinic, but the reaction was more than unsatisfactory, report Emma and Stefan. The clerk in charge informed her on the phone that the clinic would only respond to individual complaints under real names, not to anonymous letters.

The district office of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf has collected several patient reports and forwarded them to the hospital supervisory authority. District Councilor Wagner emphasizes that a critical review of discharge management and follow-up care is definitely necessary. The hospital supervision will evaluate the complaints and work them up in consultation with the patient advocate, in order to then approach the clinic management.

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