Nurse manhandled by doctor

  1. Hey guys remember how I was dreading coming to work on Monday? I'm starting to wish I'd called in! Sorry this is a long post!

    I've seen doctors verbally abuse nurses, seen them throw tantrums and swear at everyone. Have never seen anyone get physical on a nurse until today.

    Well today I could not believe the disgusting behaviour of one doctor.

    We had patient who had surgery with a very difficult airway who haemorrhaged. It was awful, patient thrashing around, only two of us nurses and a nursing student who were trying to keep him from falling out of the bed. Nurse rushing around trying to bet airway stuff etc. Patient lost control of bowels, bladder very messy, situation. Then it got worse.

    The other nurse was next to the doctor trying to staunch bleeding from wound and keep patients arms from thrashing. I was at the end of the bed trying to manage the legs, nursing student next to me. Both of us saw to the whole thing.

    The doctor just lost the plot completely. He manhandled the nurse (dare I say assault!), grabbed her right arm and started yanking it towards him (we have no idea what he actually wanted from her something to do with airway assistance probably, no verbal communication here) in a violent manner. He nearly had her off her feet, really pulling her in towards in hard by her wrist with both his arms. It's had to describe this but his whole body was sort of involved with yanking her towards him . The look on his face was pretty scarey, nursing student said he looked as though 'he wanted to eat her alive', I 100% believe the man just lost his temper completely and took it out on her because he looked so incredibly angry.

    The nurse (victim) handled it well at the time, didn't yell at him (I probably would have) but when the crisis was over she was really in a state. Could not stand, had to sit with her head down. She had to go home early which I encouraged her to do.

    I told her I witnessed the entire incident, that whatever she wanted to do about it I will verify because I saw the whole thing. She reported it to our CNC. CNC's response to this abuse was pretty much 'heat of the moment', 'patient comes first'. You need to speak with the doctor about it yourself'.'Just monitor your wrist and if it's injured we'll take it up further. No mention of incident reports, documenting this assault.

    Ok so it was a crisis. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR PHYSICAL INTIMIDATION! How on earth are we to focus appropriately in this situation if doctors are going to manhandle us, potentially cause us injury and give us all post traumatic stress disorder? How is this good for the patient?I was so angry all day I too left early to see a staff counsellor because I could just not cope with any more crap today at work. I needed to let it all out instead of taking it home and having my workplace problems affect my relationship like it's been doing of late.

    Before I left I filed a report on the whole thing. Instead of an incident report I filled out a risk register report. The reason being is that our CNC deals with all the incident reports and I don't want anyone no matter what their status handling this if they think 'it's ok, heat of the moment'. I strongly believe his behavior put every nurse in that room at risk because he was just out of control and it put the patient at risk because we weren't fully focused on the patient.

    If this doctor had of apologised afterwards it wouldn't have changed me reporting him, but it would have made a huge difference to how we all felt the rest of the day.

    And what a great experience for the poor nursing student. Afterwards she asked me is this is acceptable and everyday practice!

    Anyway feel better now for a vent. Anyone else have some similar experiences out there?
    Last edit by sirI on Sep 29, '08
  2. Visit Scrubby profile page

    About Scrubby

    Joined: Oct '07; Posts: 1,390; Likes: 2,125
    Clinical Nurse; from AU
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Operating Room Nursing


  3. by   Valerie Salva
    Disgusting, horrifying, totally unacceptable. This doc is a criminal.
    Last edit by sirI on Sep 29, '08
  4. by   TopazLover
    Make sure the nurse files a WC claim and gets to a PCP to document the injury. No matter how small, nothing gets response faster than an organization having to put out money for injuries sustained on the job. She should also file a police report, just to have it on file.

    I don't care what the heat of the moment is, the days of dragging people around stopped with the cavemen. It is well past time for any employee to be above the law. If someone did that outside I am sure the police would have been called.

    Criminals do not belong having access to sharp implements when they have such anger management problems either. Do you feel safe knowing he got away with this behavior, I would not.
    Last edit by sirI on Sep 29, '08
  5. by   canoehead
    Absolutely unacceptable. If he loses control like that he is unable to think clearly enough to help the patient. He's unlikely to get the assistance he needs from other staff either. He's a liability waiting to happen.

    Did anyone discuss calling the police?
    Last edit by sirI on Sep 29, '08
  6. by   soulofme
    They need to do a tox screen on this dude!
    Last edit by sirI on Sep 29, '08
  7. by   Scrubby
    Quote from canoehead

    Did anyone discuss calling the police?
    I let the nurse know that if she wanted to call the police then I would be more than happy to be a witness.

    The nurse involved is new to our department and country and her English isn't 100%. Today she seemed really confused on what to do because everyone was telling her different things. I thought the best thing for her was to go home and have a think about it because the last thing she needs is pressure put on her.

    If it were me I would definitely be calling the police. I don't care what management or the CNC would have to say about it because what he did was illegal.
    Last edit by sirI on Sep 29, '08
  8. by   traumaRUs
    This is assault and the doc should be in jail! Simple.
    Last edit by sirI on Sep 29, '08
  9. by   Scrubby
    Last night I got no sleep at all. I just keep thinking of what happened and the look on that mans face. I'm not at work today, yes I called in sick right now i'm in no fit state to care for anyone.

    I'm still pretty upset about the whole thing and can't let it go. I feel such guilt because it happened right in front of me and I was just powerless to do anything to help her! I wanted to scream at him that what he did was wrong, to get his filthy hands off her but because the patient was in danger I had to just push it out of my mind and prioritise.

    How dare the CNC even say 'patient comes first' when it's clear from the whole scenario that we did in fact put the patient first before the poor nurse?

    If management think this will be swept under the carpet with all the other problems they ignore then think again. I'm taking this to my nurses union and am considering calling the police about it.

    Because if he gets away with this because it all happened in the 'heat of the moment' I think it sets a very dangerous precedent. When do we then draw the line between what's acceptable physical force for a doctor to use on a nurse? Doctors should be made to understand there is zero tolerance to violence to nurses.

    I know by making an issue out of this my position may be threatened. I have decided I'd rather not work for an organisation that doesn't support nurses right to work in a safe environment.

    I will also request that I never work with this particular doctor again. I don't trust him and if another situation occurs I don't want to be a casualty from his irrational, violent behaviour.
    Last edit by Scrubby on Sep 29, '08
  10. by   Scrubby
    Quote from traumaRUs
    This is assault and the doc should be in jail! Simple.
    I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately I have the feeling he'll get away with no more than an insincere apology.
  11. by   Batman24
    Make sure the woman gets checked out by her doctor ASAP to be sure she didn't sustain an injury.

    I'm glad you made report of the situation. Your manager is a moron to think this is even remotely okay. It's not okay for this docotr or anyone for that matter to assault you. Period.

    I would urge the nurse to file a complaint as well. She can also still call the police if she so desires. I would also alert HR to the situation immediately.
  12. by   CountyRat
    time for a little quiz. there are only two questions on the quiz, so this will not take long at all. please use a sharp, number 2 pencil and give the correct answer to the questions that appear below.

    ready? very good. please begin.

    question number 1.

    you are walking down the street with two friends. none of you are doing anything illegal, disruptive, or threatening. suddenly, a man walks up to the three of you, and attacks one of your friends? would you:

    a. call a few coworkers and ask for their permission to do something?

    b. take an opinion survey of bystanders to determine what they thought you should do?

    c. jump away from the attacker to keep from getting hurt, scream for help, and call the police?

    question number two.

    same scenario as in question one, except, instead of being out on the street, you are in a hospital when your friend is attacked. please explain, in your own words, one single damn reason why the fact that you are now in a hospital makes one thimble's worth of difference in what you should do!

    you asked what readers thought your co-worker should do. o.k., here is the answer.

    first, when the attacker assaulted your co-worker, you should have run out of the treatment room, dragging the student nurse with you to safety, and screaming for help in your loudest voice. then, while your other co-workers assessed the situation to determine what sort of assistance they needed to provide the victim, someone should have called the police and reported that an unstable person was attacking a nurse, that the assailant was still in the building, and you needed help as quickly as possible. the assault victim should have demanded immediate medical evaluation and pressed charges when the police arrived. she could should then file a workers’ compensation claim. finally, when your supervisor declared the doctor’s behavior no big deal, the victim should have gone to the best lawyer in town, explained all of the facts, including the hospital administrator’s decision to permit personnel to commit assault and battery while in the course and scope of their work for the hospital, and asked the lawyer what legal remedies were available to obtain just compensation, and prevent future attacks and continued managerial negligence.

    even though some days have passed, i suggest calling the police (not 911, the emergency is passed, just call the local police station) and ask if the crime can be reported. if it can, do it! then, encourage your friend to talk to a lawyer. she is scared and humiliated, so she will not want to do this. she just wants to forget it. please encourage her to take action, because that will help her get over her humiliation faster (that is not just my opinion, it is true). offer to go with her. reassure her that she is safe because the law prevents a lawyer from whom she seeks counsel from ever revealing anything that she said, even if he or she does not take the case. remind her that this is not the first time this thug has attacked a woman, and it will not be the last (that is also true, i assure you!) and that doing nothing leaves every woman in the e.d. vulnerable. tell her whatever you need to get her to seek legal help.

    then, if she still refuses, tell her that you love her, and its o.k., and you are on her side whatever she decides. and really mean it.

    there is only one thing you must not do. you must not do nothing. if you do nothing, you are in ongoing danger, and you will continue to be afraid. do not let him do that to you. you are worth too much to let him do that to you, and he is not worth enough to be allowed to do it. and that, also, is the truth.
    Last edit by CountyRat on Sep 29, '08
  13. by   martymoose
    i think management would twist this idea up and call it pt abandonment. bastards. although this idea sounds good in theory, its obvious who the nurse manager is working for.not her / his nurses.
  14. by   CountyRat
    scrubby, you wrote, "i wish it were that simple. unfortunately i have the feeling he'll get away with no more than an insincere apology." so what? why should that change what you do? yes, the hospital will probably try to sweep it under the rug. that does not make you powerless! get mad damn it! do you have a brother, or a father, or a boy friend, or any sympathetic male in your life? talk to them about this, and watch how mad they get. let them be your role models. i am not joking (there is nothing funny about any of this) i really mean this.

    scrubby, you also wrote, "last night i got no sleep at all. i just keep thinking of what happened and the look on that mans face. i'm not at work today, yes i called in sick right now i'm in no fit state to care for anyone." and, "i'm still pretty upset about the whole thing and can't let it go. i feel such guilt because it happened right in front of me and i was just powerless to do anything to help her! i wanted to scream at him that what he did was wrong, to get his filthy hands off her." of course you feel that way, scrubby. that is how everyone feels when confronted by this kind of individual. now read this next sentence carefully, because it is very important: the bastard who attacked your co-worker did it in order to make her, and you, and the other woman in the room feel powerless, afraid, and guilty. that’s how he gets away with it. he scares and humiliates women (and probably others that he regards as inferiors) so that they feel helpless, and he can go go whistling on his merry way unscathed. fear is the reason that you called in sick today, and what you called guilt is the humiliation that he inflicted on you. he does this on purpose, scrubby. he will keep on doing it because he likes it. he isn’t staying home today; he feels great.

    scrubby, please hear me out. i know this is real hard, and you are really hurting bad now. i understand that you feel like there is nothing that you can do. that no one will be on your side. no one will believe you. that it is somehow your fault, and if you tell others, they will be angry with you, or worse. those are the things that you were feeling when you wrote; “i feel such guilt because it happened right in front of me and i was just powerless to do anything to help her!” isn’t it? its o.k. that you feel that way, scrubby. that is how we all feel when we have been through what you have. but it is not o.k. for you to keep on feeling that way from now on, or for you to have to go find another job because of this worthless person. (i refuse to call him a man, he may be human, technically, but he is no man.)

    scrubby, i believe you, and i am angry. and if i believe you, and feel protective of you, then there are other people who will believe you and protect you too. you feel powerless, i know, but you are not powerless. you are the victim of a creature who is an expert at making women feel powerless so that he never has to be accountable for his crimes. please go to the police, scrubby, and tell them what happened. if they can’t do anything, so what? you did your best. it may still help you feel better. talk to your co-worker who was attacked. she feels as naked and vulnerable as you do, and she is also trying to keep it all inside. she needs to know that you believe her, and that you are on her side. please talk to her. and, if you are afraid to talk about this, that is o.k. talk to a psychologist. he or she can provide you a safe place in which to deal with this, which might prevent this from turning into a long-term agony for you.

    there is only one way to escape from that feeling of powerlessness, and that is to exercise power. and there is only one way to overcome fear, and that is to do what is right even though you are afraid. i wish there was an easier way, but there isn't.

    oh, and one other thing, if you decide not to take my advice, know that i love you, and its o.k., and i am on you side whatever you decide. and yes, i really mean it.
    Last edit by CountyRat on Sep 29, '08