Misunderstanding in ER

Nurses General Nursing

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Will a nurse get in trouble if their patient leaves hospital without having IV taken out of arm? I am a current NEW nursing student, I am still taking my A&P's. I went to the ER due to pain I was having and had to leave to go and get my son from school. I admit, I was a bit frazzled and rushing and told the nurse I needed to step outside to go and get my son and come back.  She said that it was fine as long as I came right back. I Did not realize that the IV was still in my arm until after I left. Hospital called within minutes and said that if I do not return, the police will be called to my house. I returned to the hospital within minutes of course, as it was a genuine accident. But the RN said that as a healthcare worker it was very suspicious to her and called me a liar. After having the IV removed, I left and returned to the hospital after getting my son. Upon being taken back to my room,  another nurse mentioned that I had just been there. And I told her that I had to leave to get my son, and she said "yes but you lied to us". After I was discharged, I walked past the nurses station and heard them talking about how "she lied to us.” I'm a little embarrassed and frustrated, and wondering if I should file a complaint, however, I feel bad that I may have gotten someone in trouble. Is that why they were acting like that? 

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

They would get into more trouble for telling a patient that they could leave while being treated to go pick up their child.  You should have signed out AMA and had your IV removed, not given permission to leave.  Odd.

But them presuming you lied about something, I'm not sure what they think you lied about, and calling you a liar and talking about you at the nurses station is wrong.  If they gossiped about you at the nurses station they violated privacy laws.

It's our policy here two if a patient leaves with their IV the police are called.  They are afraid you're going to use it to shoot up drugs.  

I feel like there's more to this.  You told them that you were leaving the hospital to go and your son and they said OK?  Or did you state I'm going to go and get my son and they presumed you meant the waiting room?

I just have a hard time believing the ER nurse told you to go ahead and leave the hospital to get your son.  Yes it's a big deal to leave with your IV in.  Do you understand how many drug addicts do this so they have direct access to get high?

@LovingLife123 yes. So I went to the nurses station and said that I had to step out to get my son. So understandably I think she thought that I was literally stepping outside to get him and come back in. She said that it was alright as long as I came right back. They called me literally 5 minutes after I had left the hospital and said the police would be called so I drove right back and was there in under 10 minutes.  I definitely understand them being concerned about people doing drugs and such. I think I was more so frustrated because when I returned (within minutes) to have the IV removed, the nurse that came out said that I had lied, and that as someone who is going into healthcare I should know better and that it was suspicious. After the removal, I left and returned to the hospital with my child. And a completely different nurse asked if I had just been there. I told her yes and that I had to leave and get my son from the bus and she said "yes but you lied to us. 

bluedreamernurse said:

@LovingLife123 yes. So I went to the nurses station and said that I had to step out to get my son. So understandably I think she thought that I was literally stepping outside to get him and come back in. She said that it was alright as long as I came right back. They called me literally 5 minutes after I had left the hospital and said the police would be called so I drove right back and was there in under 10 minutes.  I definitely understand them being concerned about people doing drugs and such. I think I was more so frustrated because when I returned (within minutes) to have the IV removed, the nurse that came out said that I had lied, and that as someone who is going into healthcare I should know better and that it was suspicious. After the removal, I left and returned to the hospital with my child. And a completely different nurse asked if I had just been there. I told her yes and that I had to leave and get my son from the bus and she said "yes but you lied to us. 

They thought you were stepping out of the room.  You were very vague about where you were going.  You can't just leave the ER.  You would have to have been discharged then come back and readmitted.  Plus you were there for pain and left.  That's a red flag.

Im not trying to bash you, but you are being very obtuse here as to what you did wrong and you want to report the ER nurses?

@LovingLife123 understood. I did apologize profusely when I came back. I told them that I understand and I definitely understand why it's a serious concern. However, the comments from multiple nurses after the IV had already been taken out and the ones from the nursing station as I was walking by made me a feel a little uncomfortable as it was a genuine accident/misunderstanding. But I see what you are saying and appreciate your input. 

bluedreamernurse said:

@LovingLife123 understood. I did apologize profusely when I came back. I told them that I understand and I definitely understand why it's a serious concern. However, the comments from multiple nurses after the IV had already been taken out and the ones from the nursing station as I was walking by made me a feel a little uncomfortable as it was a genuine accident/misunderstanding. But I see what you are saying and appreciate your input. 

You went to the ED for pain. An IV was placed. You asked a vague question which induced them to appear to give you permission to leave with your IV during treatment--something that is never allowed. Upon your return they felt you had lied to them and they told you as much.

The nurse felt a need to defend and clarify their actions to their peers, since leaving the ED with an IV in order to go do errands in town is not something for which we would give permission.

They felt tricked and in turn you felt uncomfortable.

That is the core situation.

The question now is what do you hope to accomplish by complaining that you felt uncomfortable?

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

I've always objected to the "calling the police" response. When I was house sup, I said, "No, we're not calling the police. Contact the person, yes. The police, no."

  • Police have more important things to do
  • It's not a crime (what's the charge?)
  • It's not preventative. People who shoot up drugs are adept at finding veins.
Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.
Nurse Beth said:

I've always objected to the "calling the police" response. When I was house sup, I said, "No, we're not calling the police. Contact the person, yes. The police, no."

  • Police have more important things to do
  • It's not a crime (what's the charge?)
  • It's not preventative. People who shoot up drugs are adept at finding veins.

I totally agree, this ER did call the patient but making the threat was a bit off.  The original poster clearly said she'd come back.  Calling the patient should be what you do first.  It's what I've always done.  Most patients are going to be cooperative.  I called one patient and he said "I already took it out myself".  Another waited (with a doctor's order) for the home health nurse to take it out.  Another AMA patient I think honestly forgot it was in but was too agitated to notice.  I took it out at the entrance on her way stomping out of the building.  

I wonder on the very off chance an IVDA used it to shoot up and got an infection or overdose what liability would the hospital hold?  We all know how much families and patients threaten law suits.  My idea idea is the patient did it to themselves, but also understand the idea that the hospital has to show due diligence to get it out.  

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I worked in a level one ED for 10 years. Agree there is probably more to this then meets the eye. If you went to ED for pain and they gave you narcotics, you probably shouldn't have been driving anyway??

Not sure what their complaint was except maybe they misunderstood you? Too many details being left out. 

Nurse Beth said:
  • Police have more important things to do
  • It's not a crime (what's the charge?)
  • It's not preventative. People who shoot up drugs are adept at finding veins.

There may be some confusion (in the nursing profession or at various employers, etc) about why they police would be called.

In general I have been under the impression that it was being done not to report a crime but rather to take all steps to cover as many bases as possible with regard to patient safety/well-being and to (thereby) mitigate the facility's legal liability.

In other words, the hospital, against their own policies, has let someone leave with a device in place that could lead to harm. Usually where I have been the patient is contacted and asked to return so that it can be made right (device removed, site assessed, instructions given, etc). If the patient is not able to be reached then the police step was taken, much like calling in a safety check; I always perceived this to be about taking a final step to mitigate legal liability by doing everything possible to give the patient the opportunity to have the situation corrected.

Now I have no doubt that there are many nurses who have believed that police notification was a punitive thing, but I think that is a misunderstanding.

ETA. Therefore:

Tweety said:

Police have more important things to do

Safety issues are within their purview

Tweety said:

It's not preventative. People who shoot up drugs are adept at finding veins.

Correct. But obviously the hospital would not enjoy putting on a OD defense by saying, "they would've killed themselves anyway"

 

**I have no idea what just happened with the separate posts and the quotes being attributed to Tweety.

Sorry.

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