Patient Bites Nurse's Fingertip Off - page 11
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A man who was arrested for biting off the tip of a nurse's finger spoke out about the incident Monday. Trent Taylor, 20, discussed his actions with NewsChannel 32's Allison... Read More
Jun 19, '03Thanks for the hospital website canoehead. I, too, have sent a comment. I truly hope each of our contacts are getting to the nurse involved. Does anyone know when the trail is? I wish it were recieving more recognition in the national news. Does anyone know who to contact national news centers. Perhaps if we nurses band together and contact them, they could shed some light on the issues. I know that the media are more often than not pain in the @%&%#. But they are here to stay - so maybe we could use them to our benefit.
Jun 19, '03I watched the surv. tape but didn't hear the audio. I can certainly understand why the nurse legal consultants have a case. Based on actions only, I don't see any justification for the restraints. If the guy was in a locked room and took off his bandages, so what. He was in isolation and it was his choice to remove them. Why couldn't they just leave him in there until he sobered up? Sure, there may be blood all over, but his wounds didn't look like he would die from them, and the room and equipment could be washed down. From the video only, it looks like whatever the guy was saying had more bearing on what was done to him, than his actions. I don't work in a hospital, I work in long term care. What I don't understand is why the nurse approached him in the first place to put a tape around his head if he had a hood on. Wouldn't the hood contain his saliva, or were they worried that he would bite his tongue? I don't get the hood thing either--once he was in four point restraints, couldn't they just walk away and monitor him from a safe distance? And what about injectible medications? Lots of questions. The video doesn't paint a very pretty picture of what happened, but like I said, I didn't hear the audio, but the audio shouldn't matter, because one can always walk away from verbally abusive behavior. He didn't look like he was going to hurt himself to me. He looked like he was obnoxious, but he didn't throw himself on the floor or bang his head on the wall.
Jun 19, '03To redhd5: Of course, I can't say what happened either. I could only see part of the video because it kept shutting down. But one reason that they didn't leave him alone in there, after he ripped his bandages off, was the fear of a lawsuit. Maybe they feared he would hurt himself. The patient could then say that he was neglected, locked up, yadda yadda yadda. And maybe he was screaming for someone to come in there and help him. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
And at any rate, biting off someone's finger is still assault.
Jun 19, '03I guess this must be a canned response from Mr. Zambroski, but as per request...here it is:
Dear Ms. -------:
When we first acquired the survellience video from Mr. Taylor's open court record, we showed it to various nurses, medical researchers, educators and attorneys in the Louisville area. This was done because we didn't know if the actions of the hospital personnel were out of the ordinary.
Without exception, all of these people felt the actions of the nurse and other personnel were outside accepted medical and nursing practice. Several felt Mr. Taylor had been assaulted by hospital personnel.
We then hired the experts shown in the story. We made it clear we wanted them to watch the tape and give us their professional opinion, without prejudice or prejudgement.
Both of these experts routinely testify in medical malpractice cases. Their opinion was the basis of our story. We will report the progress of the court case and any subsequent investigation arising out of our original story, including anything involving the personnel shown dealing with Mr. Taylor.
We also made it abundantly clear that Mr. Taylor was drunk, disorderly, abusive and aggressive toward the staff and others during his visit to the emergency room.
Incidentally, the entire survellience tape, provided by the hospital, was placed on our website simultaneously with the story on our news broadcast.
We appreciate your opinion and understand we probably won't say much to change your mind. We hope this letter helps clarify the process with which we assembled our story concerning Mr. Taylor and University Hospital.
We stand by the story.
WAVE 3 News
Jun 20, '03I was horrified when I read the story about the nurse whose finger was bitten off by a patient. This nurse sustained a serious injury that has likely impaired her both physically and emotionally. To make matters worse, the way that the media reported the story has negatively influenced the public's opinion of nurses. I think that the important message in this story is that nurses have a right to work in an environment that is free from physical violence and harrassment, and I fully support and applaud this nurse for standing up for this right.
There is another message in this story, however that I feel like I have to point out. The best way that this nurse could have protected herself from this spitting patient after the restraints were applied would have been to wear protective barriers (goggles, mask, gown) and not use a piece of tape to prevent exposure to his body fluids. There isn't a textbook, journal, or website that describes putting tape over a spitting (and combative) patient's mouth. The patient's actions were wrong, but so were the nurse's. Nobody deserves to have their finger bitten off, however nobody deserves to have their mouth sealed shut with tape. She was punishing him for his behavior, and her actions were abusive. As nurses we should support other nurses, but as nurses we also have to be patient advocates, even when we don't feel that they deserve it.
Jun 20, '03I saw the video footage and it is rather damning. Niether party deserved what they got. <sigh> I shudder to think that a patient would bite off a nurses finger, but I think it makes me shudder more to think that a nurse who pretty much has a patient at their mercy once appropriately restrained would use measures such as tape over the mouth!
If the nurses choice of restraint was appropriate and necessary, then I wholeheartedly agree with its use to protect staff. But I can not in ANY circumsstances support the use of tape over the mouth without an endotracheal tube and an unconcious nonbreathing patient to go with it! We all hate taking care of the ER drunks, but it's part of the job. it sucks - but its STILL part of the job.
Jun 22, '03While taking care of a drunk is part of the job. Being bitten is not, and will never be.
Jun 22, '03I didn't see tape over the mouth, but I did see them put a towel under his chin - maybe to keep his mouth closed- after he had bitten the nurse.
Jun 23, '03unless someone has a version of the tape i dont, i find it hard to see ANYTHING conclusively, the quality is poor at BEST, and with no audio, at least for me all thoughts are assumption. Althoug not tape, pts do end up with assistance devices in stopping them from spitting. Also, if he had wounds from a fightthat had not been taken care of they cannot just let him escalate until something happens or he has further inury from them
Jun 23, '03tried to watch the tape... they've now disconnected it.
As a former Psych nurse, AND a former ER nurse, I also have dealt with out-of-control patients. That this nurse would be treated this way is a travesty!
I wonder what OSHA would say about this, since people are guaranteed a "safe" workplace?
Jun 23, '03I think the comments of the "nurse consultants"are more appalling than the video itself,how can they do that when they have not heared the other side of the story.Maybe they think they are excluded from the criticism of the public eye.Somebody lost her finger,and somebody must pay for his action.From the video,it looks like he was calling for attention,he is restless,I saw the staff applying padding for the restraint,the tape might be an improvised tool to keep him quiet or stop him from spitting-sedation might be necessary.Whatever,violence should not be left unfunished.I hope justice will prevail.
Jun 24, '03I recieved the same response letter when I wrote to the reporter. I don't really think they care what we think!
Jun 25, '03I just wanted to add my few thoughts. I have recently left floor nursing for research but I remember all too well the horrors of having to deal with a patient like this man ( and I did not work in an ED ) I stand behind this nurse for prosecuting this patient - sometimes it only takes 1 person to initiate a great change. I have also emailed the reporter of the story -
Shame on you and your fellow journalists at WAVE 3 on the irresponsible reporting of this story. Your story reads like an article from the National Inquirer. Was there no attempt at contacting the nurse who was assualted or her fellow ED coworkers to hear their side of the story? Nursing is one of the few professions where abuse like this is sadly tolerated - Hurray for this nurse for taking a stand. If you had a "source" in your office who was spitting, being verbally abusive and physically combative, surely you would not tolerate this behavior and have that person removed. This is not an option for nurses - to have abusive patients removed and not have to provide care. I think that until you have walked in a nurse's shoes and have had to deal with patients like this man and worry about reporters such as yourself skewing the truth (or at least made an attempt to), that you really have not idea what the truth is.
Please keep us informed on what happens at trial and thank you for bringing this situation to light.