Patients who suffer from medical and surgical illnesses frequently develop neuropsychiatric complications in addition to exacerbations of pre-existing psychiatric disorders, for which our psychiatrists and psychologists provide expert diagnostic and management interventions.
Our psychiatrists are skilled in the use of psychopharmacology in the medical setting and consultation psychiatrists here pioneered the use of intravenous haloperidol for agitation, psychostimulants for depression in the medically ill and lorazepam for catatonia.
Our service sees approximately 9% of the 43,000 yearly admissions to the Massachusetts General Hospital. It is one of the busiest consultation services in the hospital and many types of patients are diagnosed and treated.
For example, we care for the delirious patient in the CCU on an intra-aortic balloon pump whose agitation is life threatening and for the pancreatic cancer patient with suicidal depression and for the elderly stroke victim with depression who needs treatment to help with mobilization for rehabilitation. Psychotic symptoms in medical patients with severe psychiatric disorders or seizures are managed by our team as are the behavioral problems of those with personality dysfunction.
On occasion we determine whether patients have the capacity to make life and death medical decisions and we help care for patient needs at the end of life. We aid patient adjustment to modern medical technology and treat the anxiety of the illness experience. A wide array of medical psychiatry challenges such as these are met each day by our specialist psychiatrists and our fellows and residents.