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Nurse dies after assault at job. She finished her shift first.

Nurses   (16,328 Views 56 Comments)

missmollie has 4 years experience as a ADN, BSN and works as a RN.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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Oh my heart.

"She was able to continue her shift." That's crazy. In a hospital wouldn't this nurse immediately be assessed by employee health, or the ER if it was an overnight?

Even in ambulatory careland I still send my staff out to our worker's comp clinicians ASAP if needed, definitely before the end of the day.

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

1 Follower; 11,333 Visitors; 1,197 Posts

We have to be careful about drawing causation.  Blood clots killing someone after something like this is extremely rare and the nurse most likely had a coagulation disorder that was previously undiagnosed.  

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

10 Followers; 32,689 Visitors; 3,116 Posts

Hospitals need to have a zero-tolerance practice (not just a useless protocol on paper) for employees being assaulted on the job.  If the patient was with it enough to be discharged, he was with it enough to be charged.

Legal charges and prosecutions of course won't stop all assaults on staff.  But I bet the numbers drop a fair bit.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

3 Followers; 8,077 Visitors; 2,287 Posts

2 hours ago, Jory said:

We have to be careful about drawing causation.  Blood clots killing someone after something like this is extremely rare and the nurse most likely had a coagulation disorder that was previously undiagnosed.  

Or lengthy plane or auto travel....but that wouldn't likely have turned up in an on-the-job injury assessment.

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

2 Followers; 64,720 Visitors; 19,521 Posts

WHY in blue blazes is this tolerated? So I am frustrated cause my cable guy decided to show up 8 hours late. Should I slap him?  The waitress at my favorite restaurant did not refill my drink in a timely manner. Maybe I should punch her lights out?  The ER clerk was rude when I came for a sprained ankle, telling me I would have to wait 8 hours cause there were criticals ahead of me. Maybe I pick up the phone and hit him in the face?  I was treated poorly at the driver's licensing office......BAM  take out a gun and threaten  him for what I was subjected to?

 

I am understandably upset in the above cases---- so justified? Not even close.

 

WHO ELSE tolerates this garbage?  Who else is expected to tolerate and work through the worst kind of abuse?  Pressing charges for assault. Nice, except the nurse/doctor/ancillary staff member who does this faces recrimination from adminstration. Bull feces.

People are sick. That does not give them or their families a free pass. In times past, nurses were respected (forget "trusted" whatever that really means).  This kind of thing never would fly in those days.  Doctors were respected, too. They suffer abuse as well. As do lab personnel, CNA's, care partners, volunteers,  pharmacy staff (a pharmacy tech was killed not long ago)....it's disgusting and if there is no shortage of nurses now, just wait.

My daughter decided against a career in nursing because as a tech she saw what we are subjected to. I don't blame her and won't stand in her way. I don't want this for her.

Z-Dogg says it all: IT MUST STOP NOW.  This nurse DIED. When does it end? Maybe when class action lawsuits succeed and they get hit where it hurts.....for them anyhow....in the pocketbook.  ENOUGH already.

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and works as a Staff nurse educator.

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Same link- Article was updated recently to say that the coroner has indeed ruled it a homicide with the injury being the cause of the PE. Sad all around and not something we should be tolerating.

 

Quote

On Tuesday, April 16, the coroner said the nurse’s death will be investigated as a homicide and that she did indeed die due to the injuries sustained when she was attacked by the patient. The coroner’s report says she died from the pulmonary embolism caused by the injury to her leg.

 

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,684 Visitors; 9,600 Posts

This is completely unacceptable. Nurses must have some recourse when a patient attacks them, and if it means fighting back and/or prosecuting the offender, so be it. I think it's safe to say that all, or almost all nurses have been physically endangered, but only a small fraction of us do anything about it. Hospitals and long-term care facilities especially tend to minimize the problem, "encouraging" us not to make a big deal out of it or heaven forbid, press charges against the patient (or family/friends of the patient). Something's gotta give, folks...and it shouldn't be us.

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and works as a Med-psych nurse.

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Heartbreaking, and I'm sure this nurse's perseverance was lauded by management when she carried on with her shift after the attack. I don't know if getting a more prompt examination and not finishing the shift would have changed the outcome, but it seems that the severity of the situation was dramatically downplayed from the beginning.

We need to prioritize our safety, demand support from our employers, and change the expectations of healthcare consumers. It is NEVER acceptable to abuse the people taking care of you, and patients and families who would do this need to expect severe consequences for this behavior. I don't deny that administration is often culpable in situations like this, but the attitude many people bring with them to the hospital is absolutely reprehensible and must be corrected. I am rapidly losing my patience for argument that people react this way out of fear and anxiety over their medical conditions. There are far easier and more productive ways to express strong emotions than by bullying and attacking the people trying to help you. That is a deliberate choice and one that should never be tolerated.

I am curious about the mental state of the patient at the time of the incident. I think we are quick to excuse these actions when they are committed by someone who has a mental health diagnosis. There are times when patients become aggressive and are truly out of touch with reality, and that's a separate matter; however, simply having a mental health diagnosis doesn't mean you don't know the difference between right and wrong and therefore can't be held responsible.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,684 Visitors; 9,600 Posts

1 hour ago, NightNerd said:

 

I am curious about the mental state of the patient at the time of the incident. I think we are quick to excuse these actions when they are committed by someone who has a mental health diagnosis. There are times when patients become aggressive and are truly out of touch with reality, and that's a separate matter; however, simply having a mental health diagnosis doesn't mean you don't know the difference between right and wrong and therefore can't be held responsible.

I second that emotion. A mental health crisis is one thing; absolving someone of a crime who merely carries a mental health diagnosis is ridiculous. The vast majority of people with mental illnesses know right from wrong; it's no excuse for abusing others. Even in the case of psychosis, there needs to be some protection for healthcare providers from someone who acts out, and they should be sent to a locked psychiatric facility or state hospital as soon as they're stabilized medically. Some people are just too dangerous to be out in society.

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iluvivt has 32 years experience and works as a Infusion specialtist.

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As a young nurse I was taught to just accept physical and especially verbal abuse from patients=just part of the job.The poor dears are ill.I learned rather quickly that the problem patient and/or family just got worse if I didn't draw the line in the sand.Furthermore, I was not willing to pay the price for abuse just because I was getting paid.So I decided the only patients that get a pass are the ones that really have no control over their behaviour. I have found I was not supported by hospital managemet and that included recently too.About three years ago a patient went ballistic,cursing and screaming at me because I closed her curtain to protect the other patient's privacy during a procedure.The level of outrage took me by surprise because this was a perfectly oriented 28 year old female.She finally shut up after the charge nurse came to listen to her silly complaints.I Iiterally said one sentance to this patient in response to her screaming at me that she would have my job and that I was crazy with a lot of horrible cursing.When I was asked what happened I believe I was not believed and was even asked what I had done to provoke her.Provoke her....are you kidding  me ..I closed the curtain 3 feet so her visitors did not have a good view between my patients legs.I had to start a foot IV and needed to dangle the patients leg over the bed to get the veins to fill.They made me take a communication class...what a joke! I never took it  knowing the manager was just awful at follow up plus I was furious at the manager's level of ignorance..Nurses need to be protected as well as believed.I just want to do a good job for my patients and just go home.

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5 hours ago, iluvivt said:

They made me take a communication class...what a joke! I never took it  knowing the manager was just awful at follow up plus I was furious at the manager's level of ignorance.

Yes. That is ridiculous. I would not have accepted discipline under the circumstances. Investigating is one thing (which has come to be expected). Punishing, and the general idea that if something happened then someone else must have caused it, are unthinking and inappropriate.

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