Patient Hides Needles in Bathroom

  1. 0
    Today I came in to work and got report on a 36 year old male patient, on our rehab/med-surg unit with endocarditis and receiving continuous antibiotics through his PICC line. I go in the room to assess him and give him his 0900 meds and find him to be a pleasant guy. He's been on the unit before so he knows everybody, and he's always up walking around the unit, chatting and laughing good-naturedly with the staff. This was my first time ever having him as a patient.

    In our 1pm unit meeting I was suprised to find out that the patient is a known drug user and HIV positive. I was mostly suprised the night nurse didn't pass this on to me in report!

    But anyway the day goes on and later in my shift the PCA I'm working alongside comes and tells me she found several syringes and needles wrapped in a washcloth, along with a bendy-straw. The nurse manager calls security and asks the patient about the needles, and he denies they're his. (the patient occupying the room before him was bedridden, so it was unlikely it was hers!) When my shift ended, the doctor had just ordered a urine drug test. I wonder how that went!

    I've been an RN for a little over a year, and this is the first time anything like this has happened to me. Anybody else have any stories about interesting things patients have stolen or smuggled into the hospital?

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 1
    I had a similar situation on the floor I used to work on. We had a young 20-something yr old male with sickle cell that was on our floor often. Known drug user. One day, he went down for a test & the aide went in to make his bed. As she was making his bed, she accidentally kicked his shoe. She heard something funny so bent down to look. The man had multiple syringes and needles stuffed in his shoes. Turned out he figured out how to bend the plastic and pop open the sharps container in the room (even though it was locked!)
    GrnTea likes this.
  4. 0
    Yep, had one gal doing the same thing. Sad.
  5. 3
    We just have the geniuses getting high in he bathroom. Because we're definitely not going to pick that up on tele or anything.
    opossum, aachavez, and GrnTea like this.
  6. 2
    Many cases of endocarditis are r/t IVDA, so I'm not too surprised. A PCA on my floor once found a spoon and lighter that a pt's wife had been using to shoot up in the bathroom. When the pt spiked a fever, his PICC line came out immediately. We suspected they'd BOTH been shooting up actually :-/ Police was called and wife was banned from the room/facility. Pt was VERY closely monitored after that. We suspected he had been spitting out his pain meds after it was administered and then crushed and shot them up. *sigh*
    canoehead and GrnTea like this.
  7. 4
    I work in an inner city hospital and nothing surprizes us anymore.

    Patients drinking the hand sanitizer to avoid the DTs

    Going out and self medicating. They don't care if they are using their PICCs or peripheral sites. Their drug of choice is readily available.

    Remember one patient who was caught dealing on hospital property.

    It's never dull.
    haiden304, GrnTea, anotherone, and 1 other like this.
  8. 1
    Yup, I've had it happen a couple of times. Sometimes nurses leave insulin syringes on their computers so they don't have to keep going to the med room but we had a known drug user on the floor that had one in his room, it was locked up at all times or else after that!
    GrnTea likes this.
  9. 1
    Had a patient break into our crash cart kept in nursing station and steal the 50 cc sodium bicarb syringes one time. After that, crash cart kept behind locked door.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Apr 11, '13 : Reason: spelling!!!
    GrnTea likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from NRSKarenRN
    Had a patient break into our crash cart kept in nursing station and steal the 50 cc sodium bicarb syringes one time. After that, crash cart kept behind locked door.
    OMG - 50cc syringes??? Wonder what the intended purpose would have been? The mind boggles.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Apr 11, '13
  11. 0
    These stories are one thing that makes me look forward to being a nurse. haha crazy stuff people do.


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