Violence in the Emergency Department - page 2

by JWV

3,133 Views | 17 Comments

Would like to find out how many of the ER nurses have experienced abuse, violence to them,or threats of abuse or violence from their patients. Also what was the situation at the time and if this happened with in the last year or... Read More


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    In Washington state it is now necessary for healthcare institutions to provide violence prevention training. Our ER experiences some type of violence on a daily basis (whether that be physical or verbal or threats of violence) Our city has an ordinance making it unlawful for persons to be disruptful or violent in healthcare settings, as well. We have been tracking our occurrences for many years and related to the new OSHA mandates have a specific form that is filled out on any violent episode occurring to and towards our staff. As the Employee Health nurse I do all the stats on these and it is discouraging to say the least. I have set up our violence prevention program, so if any of you would like our form to format one for your institution, e-mail me and I will send it to you.
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    I work in a suburban er or Cleveland, Ohio. We have had people threaten us, verbally and very close too physically. We have had people threaten to kick our butts, and shoot the place up. We have had firearms discharged in the er also. Up until the recent shooting or discharging of a weapon in the er, we had asked for increased security measures, without success. Our hospital security is pretty lame............it appears to be a visual deterent at best? However, since the dischrging of a firearm by a patient, we have had 24 hour a day police here. This goes to show you that it takes an actual incident, to receive the proper attention.

    CEN35
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    I sure hope no one was hurt! It's sad that it takes this degree of violence to improve things. Our ER is going to go lockdown where a magnetic card will be require to get to the treatment area. However, this leaves the triage area still open to anything. Two summers ago I had a gangbanger in triage and another rival gangmember came in and the first one ducked behind me, using me as a shield!! I was incredibly lucky not to get hurt. Good luck
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    Nope nobody was hurt!!! They are in the process of installing bullett proof glass, and other things. Thank God!

    CEN
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    We are experiencing a very scary time on our floor. One of my co-workers has a stalker that will not leave her alone at work or at home. He has come to the hospital x2 and has been excorted off the premises. He now is threatening myself and other co-workers also. We are very frightened by this person and right now I do not feel the hospital has taken all the steps necessary to ensure our safety. Do you have any suggestions??

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    Swanie from Texas
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    I was assaulted on October 16 of this year. An inebriate hit me over the head with a formed aluminum object. This object is used to steady lacerated extremeties for the MDs to sew whilst sitting. This inebriate took it from the wall. He had it hidden under a blanket. I went to the room to initiate an IV access and administer medications. It was a full moon weekend and the detoxes were full. The police were bringing multiple drunks as obligated by law in Minnesota. I must have blocked the blow to my head, because I now have a fractured right thumb. I did press charges. In Minnesota it is a felony to assault health care workers. No court date has been set yet. I have missed 6 weeks work, and now am looking for other nursing jobs. I have received very little support from my Allina Health Systems facility. Employee health and assistance, have been resources that have NOT assisted me for my needs in this matter. In fact, I have yet to receive my prorated salary yet! I asked the police when I was finally contacted 5 days after the incident, why so many drunks were being brought in. I was then told that is the law, and assault was NOT a high priority, hence the 5 day wait. I had to follow up with these incompetent police to ensure a court date would be set. The delay, I was told was because my authorization, to my clinic for medical information was delayed, a month. I had to go to my clinic, sign another form, and give the address to the police dept., to finish their work for them. It was also my responsibility to provide employee health updates on my medical condition, and inform my supervisor as well. So my advice to anyone injured at work, is the frustration is only the beginning. I did not have any expectations, so I was surprised that it was my responsibility to get my busy HMO, to provide the necessary information to the many bureaucracies in a workman's compensation situation. No respect, tennis or golf for me, thanks. injured on the JOB!
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    What bulls---! I have heard other stories like yours too, with no backing whatsoever from the facility and/or police. I was assulted on a psych unit, in the presence of two police officers(one was the Chief of Police!)and a male Mental Health Tech. We had already tried all our own interventions, before the police protection was called. We were giving this guy bathroom priveliges, and then we were planning to give an injection, with the three males holding him down, while I gave the shot. This puke wanted to make a phone call, but he was not allowed out into the community due to his very aggressive behavior, esp to the female staff and patients, so was in seclusion until his behavior was in control. He was NOT psychotic! While he was in the bathroom, he was ******** and moaning about his phone call, stating "you get to make a phone call when you're in jail," at which point, the officer informed him "well, you're not in jail." I never opened my mouth during this whole tirade, not once. After he came out of the bathroom and was being led back into seclusion, he quick as a wink, came between the two officers, grabbed me by the sweater with one fist and started pounding my neck with his other! He got in a few good punches, before the Mental Health Tech jerked him off me! The police just stood there stunned! What saved me, was I am pretty small, but was wearing this big loose sweater, which allowed me enough room to back against a wall, and protect my face. In fact, I didn't even know he had a hold on me, it was just instinctive(great conditining from a violent, alcoholic childhood Well, long story short, I was the only nurse, so had to still give the injection, while they held him bucking and screaming on the mat, sticking his filthy ass up in my face, while I gave the shot, shaking like a leaf! The police were shook up(afraid of a lawsuit, I'm sure)and pointing his finger at me, the Chief informed me,"next time, you don't go in the room at all, until we get the son-of-a-b---- on the floor!" Well,I'm not the type, but would have had a hell of a case, because I had been trying for three days to get the doc to transfer this guy to a more secure unit, and had all the calls, etc., documented. Later, much later, I found out that the Chief of Police, in order to explain what happened back at the station, had informed them that I had "mouthed off to the guy" before he attacked me! Believe me, I am smarter then that! At no point during this incident did I cry; and was just happy not to have been seriously injured, but when I accidently found out that the officer had lied about me to protect their interests; I cried and cried and cried! Later, the patient informed the doctor that he knew if he assulted a woman in front of police, he could go to jail and would get to make his phone call. Wrong! He spent the next three days in seclusion, until a bed opened on a secure unit, then off he went, ******* and moaning that I sent him off in his gown and slippers, and wouldn't let him get dressed. Less likely that he would make a run for it. Sorry about this long tale, but after all these years, it's still fresh in my mind, and your story just set me off! I wish you and others who have to deal with this type of thing good luck. I'm happy you weren't injured even more seriously!! Best to you.
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    I'm verbally threatened almost daily but have encountered physical only a few times. Our department is the only on in the hospital allowed to leave your last names off your badge for good reason. We had an occurance a couple of years ago when a nurse was strangled by a visitor. The nurse called the PD to arrest her and the physician refused to have her hauled off. YES!! he caught hell from the nurses. No one would take verbal orders etc...for a long time. anyway, I took the matter to the hospital CEO and within a couple weeks we had security posted in our department around the clock. We are currently working on installing metal detectors and arming our security officers. For a long time the managements excuse for not addressing the situation is that we are a suburban hospital and nothing ever happens. YES it does!!! The nurses began writing up every incident and sending it to management and head of security to prove they were wrong. It worked.

    You have to document everything...and stick together.


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