David's Mental Health
On 1/20/18, David was admitted to the hospital. His parents brought him to the ER after they witnessed David acting bizarre, talking irrationally, kneeling on the ground naked and being “smacked”in the face by his wife.
David was experiencing psychosis. Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness. It is actually quite common (every year 100,000 teens and young adults will experience their first psychotic episode.) Psychosis is a condition that affects the way your brain processes information. It causes you to lose touch with reality. You might see, hear, or believe things that aren't real. David, never having been diagnosed with or struggled with any mental health issues in the past found himself in a mental hospital in a deep state of psychosis.
We believe that because of David’s recent stay in a mental hospital, his death was quickly overlooked, brushed under the rug and there was a rush to judgment. The police arrived on scene and believed very word that was told to them, by the 1 person that David wanted to leave the very next day. Because of discrimination against someone who recently “was in a mental hospital” David’s death did not get a thorough investigation and we are now forced to share all of this heartbreaking information with the public to try and get answers and justice for David.
David spent 10 days in the hospital, his mental health improved and he was discharged on 1/30/18 with a treatment plan, a mood stabilizing medication and a plan on what to do should psychosis happen again.
“Therefore, based on all available evidence including the factors cited above, David Elmquist does not appear to be at imminent risk for self-harm, and is appropriate for outpatient level of care. The patient's symptoms of disorganization and psychosis improved. At the time of discharge David Elmquist was determined to not be a danger to himself or others.” - Discharging MD
While David was in psychosis, he was never violent or suicidal – as documented in his mental health records. Everyone responds differently to psychosis some people get angry, combative, and aggressive but David was quite the opposite. He would strip naked, kneel on the ground, read the Bible and talk about how the world is evil. Based on his strict, conservative, (at times) legalistic Christian upbringing, this talk was not completely out of the ordinary, but given everything else that was going on, it was very concerning.
As documented in his mental health records, numerous times David denied any suicidal or homicidal thoughts. He was merely confused, paranoid and his thought process was disorganized.
Upon being admitted to the hospital, the Doctor asked what David’s chief complaint was, David’s response: “I am not sure. Sometimes you just have to take some time to figure out what is real and what is not.”
Here are some notes from his Medical Records:
“David Elmquist is a 24 year old male with no significant past medical history who was admitted to UMMC station 12N for new onset psychosis.
No past medical hx.
Patient noted 15 lb weight loss over the past few weeks (unintentiaional).
No hx of anxiety or depression.
No known psychiatric history.
Admits to smoking marijuana and stimulant abuse.
David was able to speak in detail about events leading to hospitalization; he reported that he had a history of smoking marijuana and had smoked a new strain (Indica) a few days prior to decompensation. He also reported that he is required to wear respirator at his place of work because of potential exposure to chlorine and epoxy; patient reported he had been lax with this requirement, and questioned whether this environmental exposure led to symptoms he was experiencing prior to hospitalization.”
So there you have it…. A healthy, young man experienced his 1st bought with Psychosis. Was it induced because of stress? Marital issues? Marijuana? Alcohol? Exposure to chemicals when at work? an oncoming mental health disorder? …. The truth is that we will never know.
David’s Final Diagnosis:
-Schizophrenia, unspecified -Unspecified psychosis not due to a substance or known physiological condition - Cannabis dependence, uncomplicated
“Unspecified schizophrenia” is used when symptoms cause significant distress in the person's life, but DO NOT MEET full criteria for ANY of the disorders in the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders classification.
David was NOT diagnosed as a schizophrenic. He had experienced similar symptoms, but they were not yet able to determine what had caused them.
David’s psychosis – was not due to a substance or known physiological condition. He did not have alcohol or any drugs in his system, except for marijuana.
The fact is, we will never know what caused David’s psychosis. We will never know if David would have developed a mental health diagnosis such has schizophrenia.
But to say that a man, who had never experienced any mental health related issues in his entire life, was “very mentally ill” just because he spent 1 week in a hospital, due to 1 episode of psychosis, is not fair to David. You want to help “end the stigma” then this quick labeling of people as “crazy” needs to stop… no wonder people are afraid to get help for mental conditions.
But I must ask you, even if a person has schizophrenia, are they not allowed to be treated with the same dignity, respect and value of life that one without a mental condition is?? Ones mental health diagnosis does not define them.
It is our family’s mission to help end the stigma of mental health. David was a young man who smoked weed recreationally, drank heavy at times and even admitted to his dad of doing cocaine once … When David was in the hospital, he told his dad that he needed to “change his ways and turn from the life he had been living.” In David’s own words, he “wanted to move back into his parents home so that he could continue to detox and get back to work in ND as soon as he was able.”
David wasn’t perfect and we are not hiding or denying the fact that he didn’t always make the best life choices. He was the life of the party, a God fearing, people loving, hard worker who was loved by many. He was still growing up, learning and figuring out who he was.
David was texting his dad just 50 min before he “committed suicide by fire” …. David was going to get his dad the number of his psychiatrist so that his dad could visit with the doctor and get updates. David was fully embracing getting help for his mental health crisis. And yet, despite his testimony and future plans, we are suppose to believe that for the first time EVER - David became violent, self harming and took his life by fire… and its only a coincidence that 8 hours prior he had made plans to divorce his wife and move back home with his parents.
Regardless of any mental health diagnosis, we believe that if the roles were reversed in this tragic story, we believe that David would have been taken into custody immediately.
David’s life mattered. He acknowledged his weaknesses, made plans to change his ways, he was willingly getting help for his mental health crisis, he had made future life plans and yet we will never know how things would have turned out.
We believe that mental health discrimination cost David a fair and honest investigation into his death.
What would you do if you were in our shoes?
Thank you for your support as we move forward seeking answers and truth. If you believe our concerns surrounding the events of David’s death deserve an outside investigation, please sign the petititon! (www.change.org/truthfordavid)
We are almost at 30,000 signatures!!! God bless you!