In my former life, I was an ER Nurse.
Not the primary reason, but one of the reasons I stopped doing it was the constant possibility that I would be assaulted. It happened several times during my ER career. And nobody was EVER arrested. EVER.
During one incident, I thought I was going to be arrested for insisting that the police officers enforce the law and take the patient to jail. The patient was a ‘suicide risk’. Suicide watch is done in jail all the time.
Also, she only became a suicide risk after she punched me in the face. Prior to that, she was an upper respiratory infection who was being discharged. They decided that writing her a ticket for ‘Mental Health Court’ was enough. And then I had to care for her for five hours while we waited for mental health to clear her.
I beg to differ.
- If you are alert and oriented and you assault a Healthcare worker (HCW) you should get the same punishment you would get if you walked up to a police officer and punched him in the face. I can guarantee you that you would still go to jail whether you felt bad about yourself that day or not.
- If you are drunk or high and assault a HCW, you should get the same punishment you would get if you were drunk or high and assaulted a police officer.
- If you have a behavioral disorder, you are alert and oriented and you assault a HCW, you should get the same punishment you would get if you randomly assaulted a police officer.
- If you have dementia, are disoriented for a medical reason, or are coming out of anesthesia and you assault a HCW, it happens.
- If we filled you full of versed and fentanyl and you reach out and whack one of us, it happens.
- If you are acutely psychotic and hit one of us while you are hallucinating, it happens.That doesn’t mean you get a break for having a mental health diagnosis while you are NOT acutely psychotic.
Your stories, randomly picked off ONE THREAD on Show Me Your Stethoscope. You were comforting the writer of the first story:
- Just got punched so hard by my patient without warning on my Right eye breaking my glasses then another punch on my face before I could get away.Patient was talking pleasantly and I tried to fix her heart monitor then Whammm? and patient just said I’m sorry, I have a behavioral problem. This is just one of the many challenges in our profession.???? I even asked the supervisor if the hospital will pay for my glasses. She said ” I doubt it.”
- I could tell you so many stories from the twelve years I worked in the ER. It ranges from having my boobs grabbed, hands stuck between my legs, spit on, having my ponytail pulled… My coworker was knocked out cold by a patient with a rolling metal/steel pole we had our thermometers on (and she then became our patient as we had to C spine her). The doctor had to jump on her attacker’s back to get him down while we were calling 911 from the ER.
- I had the same thing happen to me as a cna a few years back!!! A little 90 pound lady busted my nose and blacked both my eyes with one very manly punch to the face!!! While I had blood streaming out of my nose my nursing supervisor told me that I looked to be ok and could go back to work!!! So I worked out the rest of my shift not able to breath and was told that I would have to come back in the next day and file a claim and when I did I was told it had to be filed within the first two hours of injury therefore they wouldn’t be filing nor paying for any of my medical expenses!!! I ended up with permanent eye damage and now wear glasses because of it!!!
- I got a colossal head butt that flipped my head back like a Pez dispenser. 2mos later still having arm pain and numbness in my hand. Again, claimed she had no control and I actually know better. I didn’t hesitate to get mad.
- Similar happened years ago in ED…Pt had tried to hang himself and was escorted in to our ED. Hooked him up to the monitor, etc., and told him I wanted to lockup his personal belongings for safe keeping. As I was counting his money, in front of him, he cold-cocked me. Split lip required stitches. To this day, I wonder if I would’ve added more to the total money count if he would’ve been satisfied?!?
Perhaps since all of the states cannot protect us, a federal law is required? This is absolutely unbelievable. If we worked in a store, a nightclub, or a factory, our assailants would immediately be arrested. Why are we punching bags for our patients? Does the public know how we are treated? How can we make them aware?
Would you like to become involved with the necessary legislation in your state? Let me know.
A fair outcome:
- My husband is an ER nurse, last year he was kicked in the head by a female pt . The nurse across the hall heard it connect. He did file charges, and she went to jail.
There should be way more fair outcomes.
Do you have a story you would like to share about violence against HCW? Please comment here, or send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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