Patient Hides Needles in Bathroom

  1. 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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    About Blue Roses, ASN

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 119; Likes: 225


  3. by   Best_Name_Ever
    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!)
  4. by   Ruas61
    Yep, had one gal doing the same thing. Sad.
  5. by   dandk1997RN
    We just have the geniuses getting high in he bathroom. Because we're definitely not going to pick that up on tele or anything.
  6. by   hopefulwhoop
    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*
  7. by   Fiona59
    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.
  8. by   PediLove2147
    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!
  9. by   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.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Apr 11, '13 : Reason: spelling!!!
  10. by   HouTx
    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. by   doxielover304
    These stories are one thing that makes me look forward to being a nurse. haha crazy stuff people do.
  12. by   CodeteamB
    I have a lovely memory involving a body pillow, broken sharps container, every med given to the patient for 2 weeks (with the the exception of the narcotics), feces, and a PICC line.

    Patient ended up with a 24 hour sitter, hospital gown and blanket, nothing else permitted at bedside without being searched by security.
  13. by   RNewbie
    Had a pt (known drug user) once who left the hospital with his IV pump and pole, no idea how he manage to get it in the car. Friend picked him up and they went to a BBQ restaurant. Pt shows up hours later suspected of being high. Dr orders drug screen. Came back positive. Pt's very much needed vascular surgery for the next day was canceled. Pt was d/c'd home. Pt was very upset. Dr told him if he could stay clean for a few weeks, he would readmit him for surgery. By the way, pt was on heparin infusion when he left the hospital. Pump was alarming and IV had been disconnected.
  14. by   jadelpn
    Patient with psych issues and eating disorder. Came in FOP like the radiologist had never seen before. Needed multiple enemas and laxatives. Well, that was this patient's issue--and would hide feces in the towels, in the linens, in the pillow cases--decline further radiology studies, but beg for an enema......sigh.