Violence in the ER

  1. Question: how do you feel about pressing charges against a patient that hits you?
    Plenty of experience with mentally ill PTs and those frequent flyers with ETOH abuse ... The drug seeking patients that get angry when they are cleared and don't get what they want. That seems part of the ER to me ..
    However here is the situation. Pt arrives via EMS screaming and yelling. She gets off the stretcher and tries to bolt.. Assist the pt in a room start a IV then she tries to swing at me and misses then I explain ..." Hey you made some choices and its not going well I'm your nurse and I'm going to try and make this go as smooth as possible ... However you can't hit me or the other nurses .. Labeling blood other nurse leaves to finish triage .. Pt comes to the end of the bed I turn and say "no you can't get up you will fall" boom slapped in the face .., PT has blood alcohol level above 400 driver in MVA ..
    Question: would you press charges? If not why? If yes why? I did press charges.. Close to a 14 hour shift. Hitting the hay !! Curious to see how other ER nurses view this!
    7 BA52, 2 Marchman Acts today .. Tomorrow will better!!!!!!!
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  2. 38 Comments

  3. by   WAheartnurse
    yes I would
  4. by   DoeRN
    Not technically an ER nurse but have been floated there numerous times. Yes, I would have pressed charges. If it were outside the hospital setting there would be no questions asked.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  5. by   emtb2rn
    Press charges.
  6. by   Pudnluv
    Absolutely I would press charges. In New York state it is a second degree felony to hit a healthcare worker who is performing his/her duties. Being impaired is not an excuse. If a drunk hits a cop, they are not excused from their actions because they are drunk. The same goes for the mentally ill. If a schizophrenic attacks his neighbor, he will be arrested. Why should we be different. This profession has lost too many good nurses to workplace violence. It is about time we stood up for ourselves.
  7. by   Altra
    Abso-frickin-lutely.

    But you might want to think about whether or not your word choices "made bad choices" etc. ... further escalate the patient.
  8. by   Pixie.RN
    In a second, I'd press charges. A good friend of mine is championing the cause of violence in the ED in the NOVA area -- she was assaulted a couple of years ago by one of our frequent flyers and pressed charges and saw a successful prosecution.

    Good ENA resources: Workplace Violence Resources
  9. by   That Guy
    Every. Single. Time.
  10. by   TSgtRodrigues
    Absolutely! They did not hit you once and then stop when you said something about it. They continued on down the road of abusing you, if I may.

    However, like someone stated above, I would also check to see if perhaps I had a poor choice of words and caused it to escalate further.

    Is that any excuse? Hell to the no! But, you should always make sure you choose the best words when dealing like folks like this.
  11. by   sharpeimom
    When I worked in the state mental hospital, I was attacked by a nearly 7' tall, over 400#, XXXX'X Angel because I refused to give him drugs that hadn't been ordered. I'm not quite 5'4" and weighed about 110# back then. Not exactly a fair and even fight!

    I didn't but only because it wasn't allowed. Would I had it been permitted? Oh, yeah! In a fraction of a second! That jerk dislocated my thumb, bruised my hip, and broke two fingers and broke three toes by stomping on them. Two VERY large aides, nicknamed "The Bookends" stepped in and peeled him off me none too gently.
  12. by   meanmaryjean
    Bookends!!!!!


    I would absolutely press charges. It's WAY past time to stop this nonsense. I've been assaulted by patients more times than I can count in my 36 years of practice. I switched to peds - it still happens, but I'm bigger than most of them now.
  13. by   TLS1
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Bookends!!!!!

    I would absolutely press charges. It's WAY past time to stop this nonsense. I've been assaulted by patients more times than I can count in my 36 years of practice. I switched to peds - it still happens, but I'm bigger than most of them now.
    Gotta Say THANK YOU!! Third of Fourth day and I'm headed into work. Thanks for the feedback on my wording.. Will nix that..However I wish I had bookends !! I'm sure this will be discussed with me at work today. The ER I'm in right now is like every ER working short and feeling a increase in pt. traffic. Just found out some of our bounce is the bus just extended its hours so people are requesting transport to our hospital. However I appreciate the confirmation of my gut!! I wish RNs could unite and have a voice. I'm sure if administration worked short one shift on a full moon on a drinking holiday the KOOL AIDE they try to make us drink would be hard for them to swallow. Be Safe!!
  14. by   SillyStudent
    If the patient is not actively hallucinating or demented, I call the cops. ESPECIALLY if they are drunk.

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Violence in the ER