Psychiatry - Back Woods

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Inpatient psyc was what I was looking forward to on this rotation. This is where I was hoping to see the real psychosis. Throughout med school you hear all kinds of rumors about third years doing their psyc rotation and crazy patients throwing chairs at them, escaping from the hospital, and dancing on the doctor’s desk. Well if it was going to happen for me, this was it.

As I mentioned earlier we do our inpatient rotation for two weeks outside of New Orleans. I opted to go to a place called Greenwell springs mental hospital just outside of Baton Rouge, which is about two hours away. I would have room and board on the hospital grounds. The other option was to commute everyday to a place about an hour outside of New Orleans, but I didn’t want to drive that much.


Although Greenwell springs was just 15 or so minutes outside of Baton Rouge, it may as well have been 3 hours outside of it, this was the rural deep south at some of its best. The hospital itself had been around for literally centuries, it started out hundreds of years ago as a resort for people to come enjoy the hot springs, which have since dried up. Later it was a TB hospital, and finally its current incantation as a psychiatric ward. The building is confusing to look at, so many different sections all built in different eras, a giant smoke stack at one end that may have been a crematorium of some sort, while the main entrance bears a large metal sign the reads “fall out shelter”.


The housing they had us in wasn’t much to talk about. It was about 50 yards away from the main hospital. It wasn’t quite a motel, and it wasn’t quite an apartment. One thing was for sure, nobody cleans it. Imagine one of the dirtiest motels you’ve ever stayed in, now decorate it with some nice early 80s décor, throw in a couple 10 foot fluorescent light bulbs, a few brick walls, and you’ve got it. Not to mention a TV that only gets reception in a deep red color. When hurricane Dean was first making news, I couldn’t tell if it was heading for Mexico, or Hawaii. I was sharing this festive living space with another classmate of mine. There was a fourth year also on the rotation, but he was staying in Baton Rouge. So just the three of us for two weeks, and hopefully a lot of very interesting mental health patients.

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