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Case Studies

The following case histories are examples of the sort of problems doctors and medical students present to VDHP with.  They have been strongly de-identified and details changed to protect confidentiality.

 

Kathleen is a thirty-one year old general practitioner who referred herself to the VDHP due to experiencing severe depression. On presenting, she reported decreased enjoyment of usual activities, reduced appetite, frequent crying, and suicidal thoughts. She had also been withdrawing from family and friends, and spending an increasing amount of time in bed. Kathleen reported having experienced one prior episode of depression whilst in medical school, but said that it was not as severe. On conducting a suicide risk assessment, it was agreed that Kathleen would be admitted as an in-patient to an appropriate treatment facility. Following discharge, she agreed to participate in the VDHP Case Management, Aftercare and Monitoring Program (CAMP), and was closely supported by both the VDHP and other specialists involved in her treatment. Whilst Kathleen initially returned to work on a half time basis, she has now resumed full-time practice, and is progressing well.

  

Tracy is s a twenty-five year old intern who attended VDHP on the advice of a friend. She reported ‘recreational’ use of cannabis and amphetamines for the past three years, and increasing heroin use over the past six months. Tracy said that whilst she felt she would be able to control her heroin use, she has recently commenced intravenously injecting the drug. Her progressive heroin use has affected numerous areas of her life, including family, friendships, and her employment. The VDHP referred Tracy for specialist drug assessment. She agreed to become a CAMP participant, and it was arranged that Tracy receive individual counselling, group therapy, and on-going monitoring. Tracy complied with the program requirements, and has had no relapse behaviour.

 

Walter is a senior specialist with teaching hospital commitments. His practice manager referred him to VDHP after receiving several reports of him presenting at work with signs of alcohol consumption. At assessment it was clear that Walter had a serious problem with alcohol dependency. His family life was in turmoil, and his adult children were extremely worried about him as he was becoming increasingly isolated. Walter was referred for inpatient treatment at a specialist alcohol and drug facility. Following discharge, he agreed to become a CAMP participant. The VDHP then helped facilitate his re-entry to work. Walter has complied with all of his treatment and monitoring requirements. His family life has been restored, and he is back enjoying work. He recently celebrated one year of recovery.

 

Rashad is a twenty-one year old third year medical student who was referred to the VDHP by his Clinical Dean. On presenting Rashad said that he was experiencing problems with anxiety, and that he felt “overwhelmed by everything”. He reported restless and disturbed sleeping patterns, poor diet, and immense concern over his pending examinations. Rashad said that whilst he had experienced anxiety previously, it had never been as severe. After some discussion, Rashad was able to identify numerous factors that were contributing to his anxiety, including his examinations, the recent death of a family member, and having to move residence. Rashad agreed to be referred to a psychologist for some on-going counselling. The VDHP arranged the referral, and remained involved with Rashad in a supportive role. Rashad has since reported minimal difficulties with anxiety, and said that he gained immense benefit from counselling. He is currently followed-up by the VDHP on a two monthly basis.

 


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