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Psychiatric Care

Posted on Tuesday May 14, 2019 @ 7:32pm by Lieutenant Commander Jael Steiger & Sergeant Major Patrick Harper
Edited on on Wednesday May 15, 2019 @ 7:09am

Mission: LINK
Location: Infirmary
Timeline: MD02 - 0800 Hours

After getting all the paperwork sorted out from the Training Range incident, as well as providing a verbal report to Colonel Sharpe, Harper was feeling pretty drained. If truth be told, he'd kill to go home, put his feet up, drink a cold beer and just relax to the sound of some panpipes. But - he couldn't do that just yet. He was concerned about Wells, and wanted to check up on him. It also gave him the chance to talk to Commander Steiger about the situation, and possibly other matters as well. When he'd proposed the idea to Sharpe, he'd been quite receptive to the idea, saying that Steiger was good at what she did. Well, if Sharpe rated her - then she must be pretty good.

Making his way over to the infirmary that had Wells in as a patient, Harper asked to see him, and was advised he had been put into seclusion. He somewhat unashamedly insisted on seeing his marine, and after possibly frightening the poor young nurse into submission, was shown to where Wells was in a single room, restrained to the bed. Harper was horrified to see this, especially in this day and age, but the younger nurse had informed her senior colleague about Harper's arrival - and this nurse was the senior charge nurse for the ward.

"I'm afraid that Sergeant Wells has been secluded for his own health." The nurse explained, calmly. "He awoke a short time ago, and tried to fight his way out of the infirmary. Doctor Sitwell sedated him and put him in seclusion. We're waiting for Doctor Steiger to arrive, so we can transfer him over."

Harper looked through the window and was just sad to see a once proud marine reduced so. All leaders knew to be mindful of their people's mental health, but to see someone suffering so, it hurt the soul. To see a man like Wells tied to a bed, humiliated because he couldn't control his demons. It made Harper angry, but it wasn't these people who deserved his ire. No one did, it was just that poor Wells was sick and he needed help.

Jael was enjoying her transfer over to Counselling, finding herself back at home with what her first true passion was: Psychiatry. Though her specialty was in a far different category, she had come to see the transfer to Deep Space 7 as rewarding. She was working with Starfleet Officers with debilitating conditions that had long-term consequences and was far more common than most wanted to recognize. Pair that with the military tradition of not admitting weakness and she had herself a recipe for disaster. Many people reacted differently to the trauma military and law enforcement personnel faced daily, including herself and her husband. It was her job to make sure those that were traumatized, at no fault of their own, to work with patience and understanding to give them the chance they deserved to recover and live a normal life.

It was Staff Sergeant Wells’ turn to face the long and rocky road of recovery. It was not uncommon for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to manifest into hallucinations and borderline psychotic episodes and he was not alone in that regard. They were, however, some of the most challenging cases a Mental Health professional can face. What kept Jael hopeful was that she had read about and personally seen patients nearly recover from them. She may have to dig a bit deeper into her skill set and witness Wells walk along the edge of the cliff. One thing she had promised the moment she set foot onto the Starfleet Academy grounds, was that she would never ever give up on a patient.

Wearing her usual counselor outfit of a black long-sleeved shirt, black fitted pants, black boots, and her proudly displayed Starfleet comm badge on her belt, Jael walked in her her translucent green eyes bright and ready to meet her new patient. She commanded every room she entered with her stoic confidence and cool demeanor, locking eyes immediately with Harper. “Sergeant Major Harper, I am Commander Steiger. Is he still under sedation?”

Harper turned at the arrival of the voice that carried confidence and authority. It was unusual that a Starfleet officer would be in more casual attire, but then counsellors did tend to do that to put their patients more at ease. Strictly speaking, it was against the uniform code, but that was at the discretion of the CO. None of his concern anyway. He came smartly to attention at her approach, respectful of the rank if nothing else. "Ma'am." He replied, with marine formality. "Staff Sergeant Wells is still under sedation. Risk to his and the staff's safety, Ma'am."

“Please, call me Commander.” She gave him a small grin as she continued past him silently into the Marine’s secured room. Jael paused at the foot of the bed as she ran her eyes over him, feeling the fear and panic beaming from him. Though he appeared to be sleeping, he was anything but. Wells’s skin was pale with a slightly grey tint to it. His lips were twitching slightly as if he wanted to speak but held himself back. The machines around him beeped rhythmically like a metronome giving her slight pause. Her eyebrows scrunched together slightly as she moved towards the status monitor. His readings were far higher than what they should have been under sedation. Wells was in far worse shape than anyone had realized. At this current moment the Marine was likely having another hallucination, this time in the form of an incredibly realistic dream. It was going to take everything she had for Jael to be able to stabilize him and prepare him for treatment.

Harper edged into the room, concious that his presence hadn't been requested, but his concern for Wells made him curious enough peek inside. He stood just over the threshold and watched as Doctor Steiger did her work. "I know this might seem an inpertinent question, Commander, but are you aware of Staff Sergeant Wells' history?"

Jael nodded her head slowly, keeping her eyes on the fluctuating readings. “His team was ambushed, yes?” She finally turned her head to look at Harper. “Lost almost half of his team. I understand he had been having less reactions until today. Who has been treating him?”

"He was with one of the marine head shrinks at Camp Anzac until his transfer here." Harper replied. "Since reconstituting as a Marine Expeditionary Unit, we've not had our full contingent of medical personnel arrive, so we only have one marine counsellor in our entire hospital company. She's a tiny bit overwhelmed and incredibly inexperienced as this is her first rotation to a field unit. As far as I'm aware, he's not yet even been seen by anyone since he was posted here over a month ago. But he was certified as fit for field duty by his last counsellor, so we had to take that at face value."

Jael turned her gaze down to Wells. Another officer fallen through the cracks all because of the Marines’ transitional period. Unfortunately, it did happen more frequently than anyone preferred. “I have not looked at his medical files but from what I am seeing here he was not fit for duty.” She paused, stepping towards Harper. “Next time there is a lapse in medical personnel, Sergeant Major, I would like to be advised. My staff and I will be able to fill in the gaps so that this does not happen again. It is no burden on us. The burden comes from reacting after preventable incidents and not before.”

"Respectfully Commander, that level of decision would have to come from Colonel Sharpe." Harper replied, narrowing his eyes at her. "I am aware that this situation is unpleasant, but we take our duty of care of our people very seriously. Staff Sergeant Wells was certified fit for duty, so he was assigned to this unit. We didn't just chuck a live grenade at him and told him to have fun, Commander. Genuinely no one saw this coming." He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers. His nerves had been strained considerably over this, and now he was getting a dressing down from the station's counsellor for not advising her that they didn't have enough marine counsellors?! When he already knew this and had come to see her to address this very concern with her?!

"We're short five surgeons, eight nurses and fifty-six combat medics as well. Do you need to be informed of all our personnel shortcomings, Commander, or only the psychiatric ones?" He snapped back at her. "We're at the far end of a logistical chain, Commander. We work with what we got, and what we got ain't much." His temper did sometimes get the better of him, but it felt to him that she'd questioned not just his - but Richard's competence as well. That he would defend.

Jael remain unphased, as she had been the center of venting sessions for her entire career. It was practically a part of the job description. Volatile emotions when latched onto a person caused irrational and often times impulsive behavior that took more than willpower to manage. He was stressed and hurt by what happened with Wells on his watch, almost taking responsibility for the man’s breakdown. “Come with me, please,” Jael stated as she headed out of the private room and back out into the hallway of the Infirmary. She did not want Wells present for this part of the conversation. Even though he was drugged, his mind would still be able to process some of what was being said in his presence. As soon as she heard the door shut behind Harper, she turned to look over his tensed face. Her eyes darkened to a deep jade, softening her hardened edges.

“I may not be a Marine, but I have been a member of Starfleet since I was 16 years old. We are here on the same base working for the same government with the same goals. Our priority here is our people, Sergeant Major. You are letting your pride get in the way right now. You are frustrated and hurt that Wells had taken two giant leaps back after showing progress. I was offering my department to augment yours until your new crew arrives as a remedy so something of this nature is less likely to happen in the future. We cannot erase or even ignore what happened with Wells but we can prevent it from happening again.”

"I'm glad you're of that opinion, Commander." Harper replied, in his stride. If he felt any remorse or feelings of any sort over his outburst in the room, he certainly didn't show it. He simply moved on as if it were a logical part of the conversation. "I spoke with Colonel Sharpe before coming down here, and he and I are of the opinion that we would need to utilize the psychiatric services of your department for the forseeable future. With respect to her, Lieutenant Carter is not up to the task of looking after the mental health of over twenty two hundred marines. She's only just graduated medical school, and we've no guarentee we'll be receiving anyone else anytime soon. Colonel Sharpe thought it might be worthwhile if we leaned on the local services provided for support - given that we have many people who may or may not be worse than Staff Sergeant Wells."

He moved closer to Jael, and lowered his voice. "Colonel Sharpe is well aware of the need to look after the mental wellbeing of his people - from his own personal experiences. There may well be hundreds of marines in our unit with untreated PTSD, and although it rarely becomes as severe as the Sergeant's, the potential exists that anyone could have a trigger."

“I would like to see the medical files of the staff as soon as possible,” Jael gave him a small smirk. She already had enough on her plate with the President’s diplomatic meeting, but this was too important for her to push aside temporarily. Her fellow crewmembers took precedence over everything. She was lucky to have been given a high counselor-to-crew ratio and that she was able to function on less sleep than the average human. “Prioritize the high-risk cases and those that are due for evaluations. Give us two days and we will begin setting up appointments.”

Harper nodded. "I can get those sent over to you by the end of the day." He replied. "With all the new transfers, it might simply be easier to say that anyone who we don't already know should be evaluated. I've taken the liberty of temporarily suspending all live weapons training until we've gotten a handle on our psych evaluations. I think it unlikely we'll have a repeat episode, but why take unnecessary risks."

Jael shook her head. “Do not leave anyone out. I want to look at everyone. It is not because I do not trust Lieutenant Carter. I do not like to leave a stone unturned. As leaving live weapons training in effect is an unnecessary risk to you, leaving an officer out of an evaluation is an unnecessary risk to me. You stated before that his previous counselor had declared him fit for duty and you took it, as you said, ‘at face value.’”

"Don't you think it a bit ambitious to try and review twenty-two hundred odd marines in one go?" Harper asked.

Jael's eyes brightened as her eyebrow raised ever so slightly at him. "You have obviously never read my study on conscientiousness and the psychopathic brain.”

Patrick smirked. "No Ma'am, I don't need any help getting to sleep at night."

“It is quite fascinating, actually,” Jael stated dryly with a twinge to her full lips. “If you need anything, do not hesitate to reach out to me. Otherwise, I will let you know when our analysis is complete.”

"Aye Ma'am." He replied, and took that as his cue to leave.


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