Geoffrey M. Gabriel MD, FAPA
Emergency Services
Emergency situations may arise during your treatment and care with Poinsett Psychiatric Innovations, PA. Please remember that you are responsible for your personal safety, and you are responsible for obtaining emergency help in any situation in which you feel at risk for harming yourself of harming someone else. You should have the telephone numbers of the nearest hospital to your place of residence available at all times. However, it is best to immediately contact Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at 911 and allow them to come directly to you. They will immediately assess your overall medical condition and transport you in a safe manner to the nearest hospital Emergency Department. Please provide all necessary help to the EMS Staff - they are focused only on your needs and safety. If you overdosed, let them know what substances you have taken and the total or approximate amount of each substance. If you have combined alcohol with the overdose, alert the EMS Staff immediately and provide them with the approximate amount of alcohol consumed. 

At the Emergency Department, the prime focus will be on your overall medical condition. Following evaluation and any necessary treatment, the attending physician will determine if you are considered medically stable. Typically the next focus will be on consideration of whether you can be discharged from the Emergency Department or whether you are in need of acute psychiatric hospitalization. In general, each individual has the right to accept or refuse any type of medical treatment including psychiatric treatment. However, if the attending physician believes that you require a higher level of immediate care, you will be referred for acute psychiatric hospitalization. Many individuals desire this higher level of treatment, and they will accept admission to a psychiatric treatment facility on a voluntary basis. If you refuse the recommendation for acute psychiatric hospitalization, the attending physician will then need to consider having you hospitalized on an involuntary basis. This will occur if the attending physician feels that you remain at danger for self-harm, harm to others, lack adequate insight into the nature of your actions, and/or lack adequate judgment. The State of South Carolina has certain laws and procedures which must be followed for commitment of an individual for involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. These laws are in place for your protection against inappropriate involuntary hospitalization, and any questions you have regarding commitment should be fully answered by the appropriate Emergency Department Staff.

If you are discharged from the Emergency Department instead of being hospitalized, a plan for follow-up care will be established for you. At a minimum, this plan should include the following: 1) a scheduled appointment with an outpatient clinician within 24 to 72 hours to access your status (make sure all contact information for this appointment is provided in written form prior to your departure from the Emergency Department); 2) a written description of the treatment you received in the Emergency Department including any recommendations for continued care; 3) a list of local resources and crisis telephone services; and 4) a written description of indications and/or symptoms indicating immediate return to the nearest Emergency Department for evaluation and treatment. This discharge plan should be fully discussed with you and your questions/concerns should be addressed. If a family member is available, it is best to have them included when the discussion of the discharge plan takes place. Please make sure that you are comfortable with the discharge plan - it should be individualized to your circumstances, appropriate given any restrictions you may have, understandable, and meaningful.