I have a character with PTSD who has extremely negative reactions to hospitals and loss of control in general. He ends up there for severe injuries he sustained while fighting, but he also has a lot of scars on him, some from past suicide attempts. He is very resistant to treatment, but severely hurt so I was wondering if it was likely that the doctors would restrain and/or medicate him?
Hey there nonny. There’s a fine line to be walked here between recalcitrance and the potential for self-harm. The real question is whether or not the character is in a state of mind where they have the capability to make their own decisions, called decisional capacity.
Will the character die without treatment? If the answer is yes, an,d they’re resistant, and they can’t logically explain why they don’t want treatment, they’re going to get sedated (with or without their cooperation, but preferably with), and at least stabilized for the life-threatening stuff.
That said, it is a basic human right to refuse medical care, assuming that the decision is made in a rational way.
That also said, if he’s a danger to himself or others, sedation and treatment is the only ethical path forward.
A good provider will start with calm, nonthreatening, de-escalating reason. If the character has severe anxiety, they can be offered medication to help calm them down.
As a provider, there’s nothing that makes me more upset than having to do things to people neither of us want me to do. But there have also been cases where patients have suffered significant injuries because they refused care, then sued their physicians for not treating them against their will. Because fuck people, that’s why.
One other point: the moment the character starts behaving in such a way that seems “irrational” to the providers, even if it makes sense to him, it’s going to be interpreted as evidence that he’s not capable of making his own decisions in this moment. If he can’t calm down and speak to his providers, same thing. In these cases, he’s going to get sedated and treated.
Hope this at least gave you some guidance!