What do I do...I witnessed pt. physical abuse

  1. Help! Tonight I was assisting a nurse in dropping an NG tube. Patient was combative to the fact that it hurt. "Yes dear, they do hurt but we must do this since you took 70 or so miscellaneous pills." Attempted several times to drop the tube, she kept closing her throat. Dr. was informed as was the whole ER by her screaming, He walked in the room, began yelling..."we are going to do this one of 2 ways, My way or Your way. You can fight all you want (the pt. had her head in her hands over emesis basin, crying). Since we can't do it your way will we do it my way"...he proceeded to grab her by the hair and the chin, picked her up off the bed and slammed her back into the back of the bed and she is screaming bloody murder. The other RN and I backed away from the bed and said "I am outta here, we are not going to do this to her".

    We informed the charge nurse of the incident. Now what? Do we go to the DON and the head of the ER? THis doc is not a regular staff doc, he works PRN shifts. Can I be held liable for his actions on the patient? The pt. never said anything and never did get the NG tube but several charcoal slurries.

    I was and still am very upset by this incident. I am sure I will be called in and questioned about this and will not lie for the dr. I am here to help the pt. (no matter if they deserve a diploma in stupidity) not hurt them or be an accomplice in assault and battery.

    Any one else ever been witness to this and what happened to you or what did you do? :angryfire
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  2. 42 Comments

  3. by   JACALA_CL
    Quote from abnurse
    Help! Tonight I was assisting a nurse in dropping an NG tube. Patient was combative to the fact that it hurt. "Yes dear, they do hurt but we must do this since you took 70 or so miscellaneous pills." Attempted several times to drop the tube, she kept closing her throat. Dr. was informed as was the whole ER by her screaming, He walked in the room, began yelling..."we are going to do this one of 2 ways, My way or Your way. You can fight all you want (the pt. had her head in her hands over emesis basin, crying). Since we can't do it your way will we do it my way"...he proceeded to grab her by the hair and the chin, picked her up off the bed and slammed her back into the back of the bed and she is screaming bloody murder. The other RN and I backed away from the bed and said "I am outta here, we are not going to do this to her".

    We informed the charge nurse of the incident. Now what? Do we go to the DON and the head of the ER? THis doc is not a regular staff doc, he works PRN shifts. Can I be held liable for his actions on the patient? The pt. never said anything and never did get the NG tube but several charcoal slurries.

    I was and still am very upset by this incident. I am sure I will be called in and questioned about this and will not lie for the dr. I am here to help the pt. (no matter if they deserve a diploma in stupidity) not hurt them or be an accomplice in assault and battery.

    Any one else ever been witness to this and what happened to you or what did you do? :angryfire

    document document document
    you can also sent a complaint to the sate medical board where your doctor "practices" medicine
  4. by   gwenith
    As hard as this is you have to learn to say in a level noninflected voice - "Doctor - that is abuse - do it again and I WILL call the police". I only had to do this once - the doctor was using nipple twists as "noxious stimuli" on unconscious patients.
  5. by   LeesieBug
    I would have called to darn police, no warning. That is criminal, and completely unacceptable.
  6. by   jnette
    Document the facts as witnessed and report. Totally unacceptable.
  7. by   caroladybelle
    I would have called the police.

    And how does this MD treat his coworkers...or his wife.
  8. by   traumaRUs
    After notifying the charge nurse - I would have notified the house supervisor and the administrator on call. It needs to be dealt with.
  9. by   RedRoses4Me
    I was taught that if we see abuse and do nothing we are just as guilty
  10. by   MandyInMS
    I'm with traumaRUs..follow chain of command..plus incident report stating whom I had notified of the incident and what their responses were...aka, instructed by house super to notify police,ect..whatever the response/instructions were.
  11. by   Alnamvet
    Never too late to call the Police; go to the station a file a report, or if your state has magistrates, file a warrant for his arrest....THEN report to the state medical board, and seeing as I don't trust admin to to nothing more than cover up for the MD's, call the patient's family and inform of what happened...remember, if this was you or I, we would not be on this forum, since I don't know of any jails that allow inmates access to the internet. There has always been a double standard, one for docs, and one for everyone else...
  12. by   rn-jane
    I would write an incident report. Document in your notes . we also have a confidential report for situations like this, i then would report to nursing supervisor, administrative nursing, chief medical officer and we also have a code of ethics board to report md's when it comes to patient cruelty. When i worked at another facility, A md of ours who was known nationally(3rd best cardiologist in the country) was brought up for pt cruelty by not providing pain meds to a patient 100% occludded in all vessels and verbally abusive to family and staff when approached about the situation. He was fined 25,000 dollars. The system can work depending on your facility.
  13. by   Erin RN
    Quote from RedRoses4Me
    I was taught that if we see abuse and do nothing we are just as guilty

    I agree with this stmt. If you are hesitating ask yourself why? Is it because this is an MD? If this was a fellow nurse, what would you do? I have lavaged many pts and some very combative ones..leather restraints with another staff member or two holding the pts head is just as effective as what that jerk did and it also legal..Good luck, tough situation.

    Erin
  14. by   BadBird
    I would document exactly what happened, I would notify the nursing supervisor or administrator, notify security, write up a incident report, write up a statement of concern (keep copies for yourself). If you have to call the medical director at home then do so,actually the supervisor would probably do this.

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