Husband appaled when I chose to do nothing

Nurses General Nursing


Hi everyone,

I'm more or less writing to see if anyone else here has had a similar situation.

When out with my hubby last weekend, we went to the movies and when we walked through the side hallway, a girl was sitting on the stairway with her head between her knees and leaning over. There was a young man there beside her and a security guard crouching in front of her with a walkietalkie. My first instinct was to see if she needed help but at the exact time I thought this, the security guard said "The ambulance is on its way." I later realized that what I did was a visual assessment. She was not bleeding profusely or anywhere I could see, she was not convulsing on the floor, nor was she unconscious or not breathing. If I was to take a stab at what the problem was, I would guess nausea or diabetic problems. Heck, she may have even been pregnant and had some bad popcorn! Overall, her condition was stable in my eyes.

Anywho, I walked by slowly to be sure I was sound in my decision and said to my hubby, "she'll be ok." We walked up the stairs and I noticed him look back again over his shoulder.

Later in the weekend, he told me that he was weirded out by me not stopping to help. I logically explained everything as I did above but he still didn't get it.

To his credit, he did say later "I can understand how you wouldn't want to be a nurse that night." Congratulations! :balloons: Bingo. :rolleyes: Now if any of the above criteria was present, I would have been there in an instant, assessing and intervening.

Anyone else been thought of as a superhero on duty 24/7?

As always, looking for another nurse to lean on.



127 Posts

-I remember being Las Vegas in a casino when a man began to seizure while sitting at a slot machine. I started to get up but he was quickly helped to the floor and casino staff called an ambulance and security. I didn't think there was anything I could do. The man was safely on the floor and in no danger.

As far as the girl at the movies, she was consious and breathing. By the time you finished making an assessment the ambulance would have been there so I doubt there was much you could have done :)

Ruby Vee, BSN

47 Articles; 14,024 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

hubby and i are both nurses -- and neither one of us wants to get involved when we're off duty! a woman in our church has a propensity for passing out on hot days -- it's happened three times when we were there. on each occaision, there were other medical personnel in the congregation who were eager to help. one young woman vaulted over three rows of pews (in her short dress and high heels) to do the "shake and shout." i kid you not, she was shaking old betsey and shrieking "annie, annie are you ok?" so many parishiners called 911 their switchboard was jammed!

another time we were returning to seattle from a visit to washington dc, and had run into a doc we work with just prior to boarding our flight. when a passenger two rows ahead of us started to throw up, we just shrunk as far down in our seats as we could! the flight attendant enlisted the doc to help, and he spent the whole flight dealing with this barfing moron (i'll spare you the details of why we considered him a moron, but "some dude" figured into the story). the doc knew we were sitting there, even made eye contact with us. had we truly been needed, he could have called on us and we would have done whatever needed to be done with whatever equipment was available. however, we would have been working as rns under the direction of a physician we both knew to be qualified in acls. i'm not really qualified to deal with kids, ob, trauma -- or just about anything else that doesn't involve a sternotomy and some pressors, so i try to stay out of the way.


761 Posts

Specializes in pedi, pedi psych,dd, school ,home health.

Had you been the first to come upon the girl , it would have been different. ther e was a security guard there who had the situation under control. Like you said, we tend to do a quick "visual assessment " almost immediatley! hope you enjoyed the movie.

PS..when i come across these things, my dh always says "what do you do..wear a sign>>"i'm a nurse..go ahead and seize or pass out?":chuckle

We saw "Assault on Precinct 13", a decent movie and I enjoyed myself without a second thought. Thanks for asking.

And thanks for the stories and support. This was the first time my hubby has seen me in inaction and I guess some misconceptions surfaced. It was hard at first since I was certain he understood how I felt being a nurse in a "nurses are perfect" world, but I too had misconceptions.

If you're not a nurse, you don't get it, even if you've married one. :coollook:

Thanks all,


Tweety, BSN, RN

33,547 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

People expect us to intervene in everything. I was at the theater and a lady got dizzy and friend said "excuse me he's a nurse, let my friend through.....". She was o.k. and there were enough people helping her without me barreling through acting like supernurse. :)


36 Posts

Maybe I am cynical or something. But unless I am on duty, I walk away going on about my business. The woman who "vaulted over three pews" probably has "RN" on her license's plate. There is the "good samaritan" law but are you willing to be the one that puts it too the test? I deal with "dudes and dudetts" everyday for 12 hours. When I am out on my time.....its just that my time.

Now before I get "flamed to death".......if its a TRUE and I repeat TRUE emergency choking or cardiac arrest etc..... I'm there lending a helping hand.


208 Posts

Specializes in SICU-MICU,Radiology,ER.

When I was in school I had to wake the pt up to start my assessments.

Now it starts when I first walk into the room, spontaneity, alertness, respirations including character etc etc, room enviromnent and equipment and a hundred other things without even interacting with the pt.

I think you did what any experienced nurse would and should do. You sized up the scene, determined the pt was stable and that she had support. There was security personnel present who was at least professional CPR trained if not a first responder.

Plus you were off duty (yuch)-

Props from 11

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I used to be an EMT too. Hubby is a paramedic (that's how we met :blushkiss ). We used to stop for everything!! We were so corny. Now, not so much. And honestly, how much can you do in that situation.

Interesting story: I was driving in a parking lot (i think it was snowy). Two old ladies were not paying attention, and turned their heads and saw me coming (i saw them and was not planning on hitting them). One of them startled, and slipped and fell. Call me heartless, but I did not stop. Reason being, I was with my 1 yr old (at the time). How was I going to be a nurse and a Mommy at the same time? I can't just drop everything to be a superhero. And then, are you stuck there until an ambulance show up?


423 Posts

Is that a good movie? It looks like it has the potential to be awesome.


1,334 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

For me, it wouldn't matter whether I was a nurse or now. I'm a NICU nurse, so there's basically nothing that could occur out on the street that would allow me to use any of my nurse's experience to assist with. First aid, CPR, Heimlich manuever, that's about all I could offer... and you don't have to be a nurse to know that stuff! I really wouldn't feel able to ASSESS anything.

I might stop to do the good samaritan thing if there was no one else around to assist a seriously injured person, but I'm stopping as a normal person, not an experienced nurse. And I have a cell phone and can call 911!


522 Posts

Last summer stayed at the Rosarita Beach Hotel, they have a "kiddie" pool with no lifeguard. I'm sitting at a table listening to some loud music and watching drunk coeds compete for coronas via a wet tshirt contest when I notice this woman frantically knocking on hotel room doors, look of absolute horror and panic on her face.

Just out of curiosity, I ambled over to the pool area to see a young couple crouched over a small boy, soaking wet and laying on his back on the concrete. The frantic woman saw me standing there, taking it all in and asked me if I could help1!! WELL!! Sure, why not I think...

I see no distraught parent in the crowd, just curious onlookers so I crouch down next to the kid and address the young couple...BIG MISTAKE !!!

They were both early 20's, lot's of piercings, tattoo's and REEKING of booze and ciggies, she is attempting the WORST example of CPR I have EVER seen!

I checked for a pulse, none, pupils fixed and dillated, kid is warm, much like the water temp, skin is very ashy but the goofiest thing was, kid appears to be about 5, hispanic, poor dental hygiene etc with a gut distended like he was 10 months pregnant! Sooo...OBVIOUSLY he has a belly full of water which has compressed his lungs, not condusive to oxygenation efforts wouldn't you agree???

I suggested that we toss the kid over the guys shoulder, squeeze the 4 liters of water outta his gut, lay him on a towel and resume efforts since HE WAS NOT GETTING THE "P" PART OF CPR!!!!! I was lucky I didn't get back handed by the dude! He literally screamed at me "Leave us the F*&K alone!!!! She is an EMT" and threatened to "bust my face in" if I didn't "BACK THE F^&K OFF!!"

Since I am 5 foot nothing and he had a few drinks up on me, I heeded his advice, stood up and went to get security, asking them to call their version of 911 with medical transport. I then returned to ask around if any of the by standers knew this child, saw what had happened, how long had "CPR" been going on, etc so I could provide some info to the EMS.

When they finally arrived, first thing this hottie did was toss the kid over his shoulder, squeezing copious amounts of water, foam and puke from this child and ran him down the beach to the jeep for transport as I followed to give a quick report. Kid was dead but, as you know, with kids we don't give up on CPR. Sad story, but the question that I am asked is, why didn't you tell the drunken couple who were screwing up resuscitation efforts that I was an RN?

My response, I probably would have ended up on the concrete next to dead kid after drunken punk dude busted my head open!

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