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When an Employee Becomes Mentally Ill in a Remote Location: Where Will You Find a Psychiatrist?

Stephen M. Raffle, M.D.

Tel. 415.461.4845

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Curriculum Vitae

By Stephen M. Raffle, M.D.

Many companies have employees in remote locations, domestic and foreign. When an employee becomes acutely ill from a serious psychiatric disorder and cannot travel, the problem arises to find acute care.

Several options are available:

1. Local treatment recommended by the company’s psychiatric consultant.

2. Safe evacuation with trained medical non-psychiatric personnel (nurse or EMT).

3. Safe evacuation directly supervised by a psychiatrist who is consulting either on site or consulting remotely.

Multinational companies usually have medical resources on-site for treatment of minor medical problems in the form of an infirmary or clinic. As such, trained non-psychiatric personnel are readily available but are unfamiliar with the diagnostic procedures which lead to the best treatment. A trained psychiatrist who is available for an emergency remote consultation can enable prompt diagnosis, initiate emergency treatment, and recommend disposition such as medical evacuation to the proper facility. Operationally, the psychiatrist in consultation with the on-site personnel are triaging the disturbed employee in real time.

Dr. Raffle travels to remote locations in order to consult for employers and manage the psychiatric treatment of employees who need such assessment and treatment. He can assess the treatment being received in light of the individual’s ability to do a job. With the employee’s consent, Dr. Raffle may be able to provide the employer with information and updates it needs to make decisions.

Dr. Raffle’s presence remotely or on-site ensures a medically licensed, Board-Certified psychiatrist is making the diagnosis and treatment plan the first time and optimizing the employee’s treatment outcome, in a manner medically sound, efficient and cost-effective. Ultimately, this shortens the employee’s absence from work and, identifies if/when an employee is fit for duty.

Fitness for Duty assessment, diagnosis, treatment plan, and arrangement for such treatment locally, or transport to the nearest source of such treatment, requires an experienced clinician who has access to facilities worldwide. Dr. Raffle will accompany the employee to the treatment site personally if that is necessary, as well as provide interim treatment.

Dr. Raffle’s availability for remote and on-site presence insures that the employee receives optimum treatment and, if necessary, hospitalization at the most appropriate facility either locally, in the closest country to the employee’s assignment, or transfer to the employee’s home country.

Dr. Raffle is available to consult on-site for urgencies/emergencies, and to liaise with medical departments and/or human resources departments of the referring company. He will provide the employer, again with the written consent of the employee, with a report of his findings and recommendations, while addressing the unique circumstances of each such case. Ongoing consultation by phone or Skype is an option so the employer is kept informed.

Dr. Raffle has extensive experience in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, psychosis, manic excitement, psychotic depressions, severe immobilizing depressions, other bizarre behaviors, threat assessment, psychiatric aspects of brain injury (including stroke), anxiety disorders and other acute psychiatric emergencies.

Dr. Raffle has conducted thousands of Fitness for Duty evaluations and Threat Assessments and for decades has worked closely with the health departments and EAPs of multinational corporations. Defence Base Act cases and employees posted in combat or combat-like environments require experienced consultation, which Dr. Raffle has provided to employers. Dr. Raffle has ties to medical facilities and psychiatric professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric nurses, all over the world.

All of the issues raised in this article may become relevant in litigation, for which Dr. Raffle’s forensic expert witness experience qualifies him.

Inquiries are welcome. Please call Dr. Raffle at (415) 461-4845 or inquire from our Contact page.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website does not constitute legal or medical advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel or physician for the most current information and to obtain professional legal advice or medical advice before acting on any of the information presented.

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