Visitor Assaults ER RN

  1. What would you do? A visitor of a patient in the ER assaults an RN without being provoked. What should that ER RN do?
  2. Visit PalmettoRN profile page

    About PalmettoRN

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 7

    29 Comments

  3. by   dm2
    call police and press charges. get emotional support for you. it is a big deal!
  4. by   Reigen
    I would need to ask "What kind of assult"? Verbal? Sexual? Physical?
    Each type I would respond to in a different way. IF I thought I was in immediate harm /danger I would call security, and the police, right after I made sure I was in a safe place. I understand that we are to do "customer service", yet tolerating assult (of any type/kind) is not in my job description.
  5. by   PalmettoRN
    And that is what I generally did. I told the pt. to leave the ER. She started to, slowly, then her husband started to yell at me and I told him to leave at the ER. I then had a co worker call 911. 10 minutes later I filed charges against the visitor who physically punched me. But, now there is a catch. The husband of the pt., who's daughter hit me, is filing charges of neglectful treatment of the patient, his wife. Says he won't file a law suit against the hospital if I drop the charges of assault against his daughter. I said no way to the manager. I have been discouraged by both the police and the hospital administration to drop these charges. Which I refuse. It was even hinted that I might lose my contract (I'm a traveling RN) if I don't drop the charges. I still won't drop the charges. To be frank....it sucks not having the support of your own peers in an assault by a "VISITOR." However, I wish to express my thankfulness for your support
  6. by   PalmettoRN
    The pt's daughter went ahead and punched me in the shoulder. She went for my face one time but missed. Then hit my shoulder. I'm a big guy so I was not really hurt. Police says it will be argued as a misdeameanor. This troubles me. I went to school in CA and I recall it was a felony to hit a nurse. Yet, now I'm in GA and don't know the law. Yet, I have to think if this person went up to a police officier, or a judge, and probably even a doctor, she would DEFINITELY be charged with a felony. I'm hoping there is not a double standard for us nurses. Yet, I have worked in the criminal justice system in San Francisco for ten years and have no illusions about truth and justice for all.
    I thank you for your support in this area
  7. by   medsurgnurse
    Quote from PalmettoRN
    The pt's daughter went ahead and punched me in the shoulder. She went for my face one time but missed. Then hit my shoulder. I'm a big guy so I was not really hurt. Police says it will be argued as a misdeameanor. This troubles me. I went to school in CA and I recall it was a felony to hit a nurse. Yet, now I'm in GA and don't know the law. Yet, I have to think if this person went up to a police officier, or a judge, and probably even a doctor, she would DEFINITELY be charged with a felony. I'm hoping there is not a double standard for us nurses. Yet, I have worked in the criminal justice system in San Francisco for ten years and have no illusions about truth and justice for all.
    I thank you for your support in this area
    It damn sure better be a felony! Don't drop the charges because the hospital told you to, of coarse they want to avoid be sued. Did you say you agency won't renew your contract or the hospital won't renew your contract.? so what if the hospital doesn't renew you, you can go elsewhere. And it doesn't matter that the punch didn't hurt you that much, the fact is the attcker tried to cause harm. What if she had a weapon. If she was mad emough to hit, you could have been killed. I have been hit by a patient before but it was alzheimers pts who were not at all capable of knowing any better.
  8. by   PalmettoRN
    My guess is ...because there was no "real" harm it will be placed in the misdemeanor section. However, I will continue with the charges and if the hospital wishes to somehow encourage me not to continue...they might be up for a lawsuit as well. And true, I can go anywhere. In fact, I often do. I'm single without children and don't own much. So, the world is my oyster so to speak. However, this won't stop me from showing up in court. I wish I knew whether or not I am in need of a lawyer. Or, at least new of where to find out about how others have handle this situation in the past. Strange, I threw myself right back into Triage after dealing with the police. I could not concentrate very well. I think I should have left. I came back around later but....
    I too, after working in psych for many years, have been hit by pt.'s before and not have filed any charges. But, a VISITOR? This is just too much
    Again, thank you for getting back to me.
  9. by   Maxs
    So, do male nurses get to be picked on like that all the time? I mean that's wayyyy below professional courtesy. It's an attack, I don't think you should drop the charges. How will both parties be satisfied when the injured party who seek the medical attention, injures the care provider (this is a war)? You said "she tried punching on your face, but missed" (the most clean, delicate yet appealing part of your essential body). Perhaps you could have been a smaller guy and she might have hit you in jaws (causing serious damage). Let's just say the injury could have been so fatal that you couldn't speak, do to the lack of movement of your jaws. What would you do then? You know, now a days people play to much grand theft auto (violent but cool video game). However, if management isn't on your side (as usual), were on your side. You know why sharks don't bite lawyers? that is because the sharks are afraid that the lawyer will sue.

    Best regards,
    Maxs
    Last edit by Maxs on Feb 13, '05 : Reason: just because
  10. by   PalmettoRN
    Thanks a bunch, I appreciate your support. I agree, what if the lawyer were punched. You know what would happen then. That is why I feel so strongly about this. The ER is a caustic enough environment as is. Don't need folks beating us up. We get enough verbal abuse all the time. Sometimes physical. And most times it is from our patients. But, a visitor? And unprovoked? You bet I'll be there in court.
  11. by   zenman
    I'm with you to. You got to make a stand if you feel it is morally right and the rest will take care of itself. Any pt (in their right mind) or family/visitor ever hit me, I'll also provide them with an "educational moment."
  12. by   flashpoint
    I think there should be bigger penalties for assaulting health care workers...if someone were drunk, high, mentally challenged, or just plain mad and hit a waitress (cashier, hotel maid, or other "service worker") for not doing something right, they would get the book thrown at them..but since we are nurses, we are almost expected to take abuse off people. Sometimes I think that the public thinks it is OK to abuse nurses...sigh. I get so tired of people thinking that because someone (or their loved one) is sick or injured that all common sense and courtesy goes out the window!
    Last edit by flashpoint on Feb 13, '05 : Reason: because I cannot spell this early in the morning
  13. by   UM Review RN
    This is from another thread about the same topic, quoted from 3rd Shift Guy, just in case you're in FL:

    https://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85785

    Here in Florida it is a felony to assault a health care worker.
    PS I fully support you pressing charges on this visitor.
  14. by   emsboss
    In WVa. it is a felony to assault ANYONE in the healthcare field while they are doing their "duty". Press on, BROTHER!!!

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