what are our rights with an abusive paatient?

  1. A couple of months ago a cna who is a good friend of mione went to answer a bathroom call light when the patient attacked her. Noone knew of his pschotic episodes. It was about 2 am the family had just left to go to the cafeteria aand of course the wife had totally antagonaized the man(according to the roommate)
    Linda (one of the nicest and best cna's ever worked with) answered the light and asked if the pt needed assistance. He was a large man about 300 lbs. The patient had 2 iv poles and really was not supposed to be out of bed w/o assistance. The man just came at her and ended up breaking heer nose jaw and three ribs. It took 5 people to get him off of her.
    Well needless to say, this upset everyone, linda son threatned to sue but linda was told if they did then she would lose her pension she had worked for the last 17 years. And furthermore this patient has been treated out our facility 3x since this incident.
    They had a townhall meeting (hospital meeting), the beloved presisent attended, we asked what are our rights? We were told they would have to consult their lawyers before they could answer this question.
    Needless to say we are very upset, haven't contacted the pa nursing board yet to find out our rights, but if a patient comes at me job or no job, i will protect myself. My friend linda was lucky she was not killed.
    Linda has since returned on another unit, but she is sstill traumatized, she acts similar to a woman who had been raped.
    I wish i could give heer more answers.
  2. Visit horsecrazy profile page

    About horsecrazy

    Joined: Feb '02; Posts: 12
    rn-hospital staff nurse


  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    If it was me, I would talk to a lawyer that is not associated with the hospital. A consult is usually free.

    I find it interesting that your employers would actually threaten her with a loss of pension -- can they do that? would be one of my questions for the lawyer. Another question I would want the answer to is: Why would they warn her against going to court for compensation if they actually thought they could win?

    IMHO, no harm in asking.

    I would also strongly advise this traumatized person to get counseling. (Doncha think the hospital should've offered counseling services for free???)
  4. by   ktwlpn
    a disturbing trend-our pts welfare is way more important then our own.Every time that I have to pick up a 140lb demented resident whom has forgotten that she cannot walk I pray for a belt restaint....her right to slide her butt to the floor a dozen times a day ( for attention-believe me we have tried everything-food,potty,pain med,etc) supercedes my right to protect my back and make a living while working-not collecting workmen's comp..
  5. by   mustangsheba
    This man assaulted her. Health care providers are not required by legal or ethical codes to tolerate abuse. She needs to fight this. Good luck.
  6. by   Brownms46

    I totally agree with all the posts. I would also advise her to seek legal consul OUTSIDE of the city/town/county she works in.
  7. by   P_RN
    I always thought that too, til the patient in room nine kicked me in the face and broke my cheekbone.

    Turns out he was in DTs which his family totally denied his drinking at all....

    In spite of a loooong pursuit...all I got was medical. Even Work Comp sided with the patient.

    Never did like room 9. A lot of bad stuff always happened in there.

    Get a lawyer........go get them.... go to the media for your friend..... IMAGE is everything to the money hungry management these days.
  8. by   nsmith_rn
    A Few years back I had a pt attack me..... let me tell you they compensated me well for that incident... the patient had a history of being violent and I was nevr told about this in report.
    I was working as an agency nurse and had never been to the facility.....
    your friend needs to sue them.... especially if they are having the balls to threaten her pension.... that is total BS
  9. by   semstr
    As I posted in another thread, I was attacked too.
    Patient was a unkown alc, went into Dt and all I got7except from being "out" for a hour and 10 stitches in my head) was a nice plant.
    Mind you this happened 20 years ago (OMG) in the Netherlands, but I wouldn't have many changes right now.
    This patient is sick and these are the risks being a nutse, I can hear it!!

    However, good luck and take care, Renee
  10. by   nsmith_rn
    Of course there is a risk that you might be attacked being a nurse. Of course there are mentally ill patients. However the facility that you work for should back you up by ensuring that you recieve medical care, counseling if nessicary and under no circumstances ever threaten your pension. It is also that facilitys repsonsibility to make sure that you are aware of the history of the patient so that you will be prepeared for that kind of behavior.
    It is the mentality of " you have to expect that being a nurse" that has kept our profession in the dark ages. This is the reson that we do not get the respect, pay, benefits and safe working enviorments that we deserve.

    I was attacked by a Pt that had a known history within this facility and it was that facilitys responsibility to make me aware of what I was walking into.
    Having that mentality that you should expect it is also the mentality that lets rapists run free...
    " she should have expected it going to the party in the dorm, she should have expected it wearing that dress"
    When are we going to collectivly wake up as a profession and demand that our rights are protected as well?????
  11. by   Brownms46
    I agree!

    I worked with a nurse nites on Ortho. After walking in a room at the beginning of her rounds she had a male pt. in DT's (unknown to her)....who was hiding behind the door, and jumped on her back. She was a petite woman, ...the man was over 200lbs. When she was finally able to come back to work, ...there were still times her back would give her problems. She was constantly subjected to threats d/t her recurring back problems from ADMIN, concerning the security of her position. She was and probably still is a good nurse. And through no fault of her own...must now deal with chronic back pain, AND the fear of losing her job because of it She even tried to get into areas that wouldn't put a strain on her back, but was turned down each time. How sad for a single mom trying to make a living

    I have also meet other nurse who have been hurt on the job, and the facility took good care of her. They managed to be compassionate, understanding, and patience as this nurse healed. On return to work, changes were made to decrease or eliminate the problems felt to have contributed to her injury. Maybe that is why this place had so many good, experienced nurses with good attitudes toward their work. I guess being caring, and understanding...is just too difficult a concept for some facilites to grasp.
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Feb 26, '02
  12. by   horsecrazy
    thank you for all your posts,
    I tried to talk my friend into consulting a lawyer, I think she is just trying to put everything behind her, if it were me i would sue. Linda is still in the denying phase, i think if she feels she doesn't talk about it, it will go away.
    The hospital i work at is fairly big in a small community, they are the largest employer in the county, and i'm sure all the local laywers are in their pocket. This incident never hit the papers, usually one sneezes in this town and it hits the local papers. I worked for a large metropolitan hospital til moving out here three years ago and don't understand why they don't protect their employees. If i was put in the same situation, i would fight the patient if i had to.
    Don't misunderstand me i knew of the dangers working in the health field,(worked for 24 years) had to battle many demented patients and know my nurses code of ethics, but i think of what would happen to my three girls if i was impaired or killed related to patient abuse.
  13. by   NRSKarenRN
    Check out:

    Nurse Advocate
    is dedicated to the recognition and resolution of workplace violence experienced by nurses; in support of those who have experienced violence, and, in memory of those who have died.

    Consider calling PSNA and talking the the Nursing Practice director:
    Fax: 717-657-3796
    Phone: 717-657-1222
    Toll Free: 1-888-707-7762
    or send e-mail: mcampbell@psna.org