I usually work on the Neurology/Neurosurgery floor(sometimes oncology) but this story takes place on the neuro floor. The other day we had a new patient come to the neuro floor after having surgery. The patient copped to being an opiate IV drug user...which okay that's fine. The patient was hooked up to a PCA(even people who are drug users get legit pain and it's cruel not to treat it). The doctors also knew this patient wasn't faking pain to seek medication. Major Neurosurgery HURTS(I know first hand). However the patient was complaining BIG time about the PCA and wanted high doses of IV push pain medication and benzos pushed every 2 hours. EVERY doctor(from Neurosurgery, Pain Service and the Floor Doctors) declined.
Okay..so I'm gonna try to cut to the chase. My new patient had a visitor come in carrying something(I had no idea what but it was small and kind of looked like one of the flat pencil cases kid take to school to carry their pens and pencils in). The visitor stayed literally for two minutes and left. Our policy is to go in and check on the patient after a visitor leaves(don't know why...every floor had this policy). So I went in to check on my patient and caught the patient IN THE ACT of injecting something into the extra IV that was put in the patients opposite hand during surgery. In addition to that, the patient had at least four already prepped syringes lined up on the table(I guess they wanted to admire what they had I don't know why they even had it out and the patient isn't allowed out of bed so the patient was too slow in hiding the "stash." The Visitor obviously prepped the syringes for my patient(what a friend).I didn't even have to ask what was going on. Longer story short the patient was taken up to psych and taken off the PCA(psych's policy and my patient was NOT happy about this). Psych has their own way of taking care of pain when these things happen..which happens more than one may think.
So my fellow posters has this ever happened to any of you? Have you ever have had a patient push substances into an IV that belongs to the hospital? What is your policy with patients that commit these acts? Usually patients go to the bathroom and do this and aren't caught until they've done it a few times(but like I said my patient couldn't get out of bed). It's also hospital policy to call the police(The doctors call the police, nurses don't). I feel bad especially if these patients aren't violent people, they just need help, but If a nurse turns a blind eye to a patient that has drugs on them...and gets caught, the nurse gets fired...and I refuse to lose my job over a patient who broke the law.