Quick Guide – RED FLAGS

  • Any of the following medical matters should be considered the basis for deciding that someone requires urgent attention in an Emergency Department.
  • Where time permits: call an ambulance to assist.
  • This list comes from consultation with Emergency Departments.
  • Dangerous Mechanisms
  • Blows to the body
  • Falls > 4 Feet
  • Injury from edged weapon or projectile
  • Throttling / strangulation
  • Hit by vehicle
  • Occupant of vehicle in a collision
  • Ejected from a moving vehicle
  • Evidence of drug ingestion or overdose (inc alcohol)
  • Serious Physical Injuries
  • Noisy Breathing
  • Not rousable to verbal command
  • Head Injuries
  • Loss of consciousness at any time
  • Facial swelling
  • Bleeding from nose or ears
  • Deep cuts
  • Suspected broken bones
  • Attempting Self-Harm (persistent except when under restraint)
  • Head banging
  • Use of edged weapon (to self-harm)
  • Ligatures
  • Especially where above accompanied by a history of overdose or poisoning
  • Psychiatric Crisis
  • Delusions / Hallucinations / Mania
  • Possible Excited Delirium – two or more from
  • Serious physical resistance / abnormal strength
  • High body temperature
  • Removal of clothing
  • Profuse sweating or hot skin
  • Behavioural confusion / coherence
  • Bizarre behaviour

Winner of the President’s Medal,
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award


All opinions expressed are my own – they do not represent the views of any organisation.
(c) Michael Brown, 2019

I try to keep this blog up to date, but inevitably over time, amendments to the law as well as court rulings and other findings from inquests and complaints processes mean it is difficult to ensure all the articles and pages remain current.  Please ensure you check all legal issues in particular and take appropriate professional advice where necessary.

Government legislation website – http://www.legislation.gov.uk

3 thoughts on “Quick Guide – RED FLAGS

  1. I was picked up by GMP several times in 18 months, when I had a useless Dr called Meagher who gave me the wrong diagnosis and who has since been sacked from Stepping Hill Hospital for lying on his c.v. GMP started taking me to police cells as a place of safety and later charging me with teensiest offences eg having one spiff in my cig packet.

  2. Sorry my message is in two parts. Am a Twitter beginner. My behaviour was described as very strange by one arresting officer and should have been showing lots of red flags as I was manic and psychotic each time I was picked up by GMP. My diagnosis before and since my brush with Meagher has always been bipolar? I may have been seen by a psychiatrist whilst I was in the cells. I don’t remember much, but I’m certain I was given no medication. On one occasion apparently the charge against me was carrying a knife. I was also carrying a fork and spoon. – Is it illegal in this country to go for a picnic. I do understand that it must be very difficult for the police if one’s doctor is being difficult

  3. Sorry you went through that, KS Mac.
    Amazing how certain nastily stigmatised diagnoses (diag-nonsenses) by MH ‘services’ mean that we get no help, isn’t it. Been there.
    When MH services fail, often the police have to get involved. I have had several encounters with them. In fairness, many of the officers were very good, kind and compassionate. One said they would rather deal with me than criminals any day. Often they listened to me and took the time to persuade me to go with them and get help when they could have walked off (and I probably would not be here) or used force to take me to a place of safety.
    Such simple human decency is often lacking from the MH professionals who should be doing this.
    Sadly help was non-existent.
    Sadly a similar thing happened to me and I was arrested for a trivial ‘offence’ a few days after being discharged from psychiatric hospital. The officer took a dislike to me and was extremely rude and nasty, implying I wasn’t really mentally ill on a number of occasions and assuming I was guilty. My ‘interview’ was a joke – an inexperienced solicitor advised me to just ‘admit’ guilt as this would be best. Instinctively I refused to answer some questions but was bullied into doing so. I was lied to by this officer about evidence and he simply refused to acknowledge that I had been discharged from hospital days before although the solicitor did have to point this out.
    I had confidentiality broken – this officer told medical staff there to assess me about the alleged offence, and another loudly announced details of my mental health problems at the front desk, in earshot of several uninvolved others including actual offenders.
    The police nurse told me I would be undergoing an MHA assessment, this did not materialise due to aforementioned diagnonsense, I can only imagine what lovely (sarcasm) MH staff from my CMHT told them about me, but she said I had to face up to it and refused me my prescribed medication for my MH issues. I was detained ‘for my own safety’ in a police cell over 2 nights but no actual medical attention was given.
    I self-harmed persistently throughout this time in the cell, showing a number of the red flags above, and was under constant watch, but no treatment was offered. The officer supposedly watching me pretty much ignored it, bothering only to tell me to stop it (um, I wasn’t entirely in control) and officers told me I was being childish & immature to be so distressed.
    I went on to, well, end up in psychiatric hospital again.
    And now my life is ruined by a criminal record. That really makes me feel life is worth living *sarcasticface*.
    So yes, just *somewhat* cynical about the police’s ability to deal with mental health now. I panic if I see police officers around and would do anything necessary to avoid any further encounters with them. Which is sad, given that most of the encounters before this one were fine. One bad incident when someone is vulnerable does that.

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