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Assault and Restraint in the Psychiatric Setting

Psychiatric   (1,124 Views 6 Comments)
by Eliziel Eliziel (Member)

515 Profile Views; 39 Posts

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Needing some advice:

My fiance is currently an LVN working at the State psychiatric hospital. Today he was suspended due to being a "moderate risk" due to an incident with a patient last week. Last week, the patient had climbed a chair in an attempt to remove/mess with one of the security cameras hanging from the ceiling. After failing to comply with the RN/PNAs requests to get down, my fiance came out of the med room and removed him from the chair. As he was walking away, the patient charged at him and punched him in the face. My fiance then grabbed the patient, took him into an arm hold, and forced the patient down while other staff responded. This patient has repeated behaviors of assaulting other patients and other staff members. He is restrained pretty frequently throughout the week.

Today was my fiances' first day back on the unit after being released from restrictions due to a mild concussion and hematoma from the assault. While being interviewed by the Investigator, the investigator is claiming that it appears my fiance was taking a swing at the patient and the patient was backing up. This would indicate a violation of patient rights and assault from a staff member. The security footage shows my fiance grabbing the patient after being hit and taking him down but no indication he was taking a swing at the patient. However, another employee who was a witness says that the Investigator is trying to make it seem like my fiance was attacking the patient back. Until the investigation is over, which could take 2 weeks, my fiance is suspended and has to use all his sick/days off to cover for the suspension.

My question is this: what protections, if any, do nurses have when a staff member is attacked by a patient and has to restrain him from causing possible harm to other staff or other patients? This could possibly mess with his career when he didn't do anything wrong. He did not assault the patient and put the safety of the staff and other patients over his own well-being until the situation was handled appropriately. Do we need to hire a lawyer in order to fight any possible accusations? Is there a BON law that protects nurses from wrongful termination in such events?

 

Any advice would be helpful.

Thank you!

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49 Posts; 2,884 Profile Views

I don’t have an answer to your question, but the topic of your post is what brought me here today.

What desperately needs to happen, and particularly in freestanding psychiatric units, is that nurses need to sue the he**  out of these institutions. Psychiatric patients are getting worse as our society in general is degrading.

I came here today to post what makes these independent places think they don’t need security when regular hospitals that don’t even have psychiatric units have security.

It is getting worse, and nurses need to sue the facility if they are assaulted. We should have rights too.

Ex coworker of mine hurt pretty bad. Was beaten bad. The few staff there were too small and couldn’t do anything. I hope it costs this place millions and probably will.

A schizophrenic that was raised right generally won’t get violent because they still know right from wrong but people aren’t raised with God and values these days.

Edited by SuburbsGirl

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beckysue920 specializes in Psych, HIV/AIDS.

114 Posts; 5,137 Profile Views

 Eliziel , does your fiance belong to a union?  If so, he should enlist the support of the union folks.  If not, from what you are posting, an attorney might be necessary.  However,  there may be other avenues he could check into: involved staff's defending his actions, etc.  Can he get a copy of the attack?  It could prove helpful in the near future.

Hope all ends well and please keep us posted.

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

1 Article; 6,138 Posts; 76,030 Profile Views

I'm sorry to hear this happen to your fiancé, Eliziel.

From my experience state facilities are infamous for viciously  scrutinizing employees' actions around patients.

I, too, was suspended from my job at a state facility after an investigation for my actions toward a physician and alleged patient neglect/abuse.

I applied for unemployment benefits and won. I sought assistance from the state nursing association and 1 1/2 years after the incident, got paid(again) for lost wages and had the neglect/abuse sponged from my record.

Good luck to you and yours, Eliziel!

 

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Heylove has 1 years experience.

195 Posts; 4,112 Profile Views

On 3/2/2019 at 5:29 AM, Davey Do said:

I'm sorry to hear this happen to your fiancé, Eliziel.

From my experience state facilities are infamous for viciously  scrutinizing employees' actions around patients.

I, too, was suspended from my job at a state facility after an investigation for my actions toward a physician and alleged patient neglect/abuse.

I applied for unemployment benefits and won. I sought assistance from the state nursing association and 1 1/2 years after the incident, got paid(again) for lost wages and had the neglect/abuse sponged from my record.

Good luck to you and yours, Eliziel!

This is amazing.  I am going through something similar but not exactly.  I still have my job.  I have no idea who to turn to for help as I am not part of a union, and since HR is the one that brought the action against me, it's not like I can go to them for help.  

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35 Posts; 2,900 Profile Views

I have worked as a psych RN for the Department of State Hospitals and CDCR State of CA for the past 8 years both inpatient and outpatient.  I want to address what your fiance can do to take care of himself in this kind of situation.  In my experience, the investigators have very little to go on unless there are cameras.  The investigators appear to be more interested in "finding" something, like a thread, in the staff statements, that they can pull on.  Then they interview everyone and further find something to blow up.  My personal feeling is that this is done so they can garner some recognition and get promoted.  Investigations are necessary, but from what I have seen, they appear to serve the investigator and their career more than the institution.  Forget the union, they are pretty worthless in a situation this serious.  The two most important things he can do are:  1.  see a physician about the stress and injuries caused from the experience and have the physician take him off work; if he has FMLA so much the better but it sounds like he was hurt on the job so he would be covered by workers comp; 2.  see an attorney right away.  Being off on disability or workers comp will protect his job and the attorney should be the one to field the investigators questions.  If he chooses to participate in an interview, he should take a witness, preferably the union steward . The first thing that should be asked before any questions are answered is "is this a criminal investigation?" If the answer is yes, then state I will not answer any questions and leave.  Generally after that, they have nothing to go on and will drop it.  Unless they interview witnesses and find something further to go on.  There are very specific protocols for how to handle patients and use of force.  Psychiatric hospitals have rampant histories of handling patient physical situations in an ad hoc manner and hurting or killing patients.  The patients have all the rights and the burden is on the staff.  It sounds like he had physical injuries so why isn't he off on workers comp?  He needs to do that and find an attorney used to working with this kind of facility.  You can find a lot on google. He needs to get himself in a position where he has some protection, the institution finds they are dealing with attorney so they leave him alone.  It doesn't sound like you are in California so let me clarify that I am speaking as a California worker.  Psych nursing is exploding, but for many years it was managed by people that rose up through the ranks and had no experience as managers or worked anywhere else.  Don't talk to investigators, get an attorney, get off work for your injuries so the job is protected.

Edited by McNabK9

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