Former Inmate Sues Prison Nurse Over 55-Hour Erection - page 3

An ex-con is suing an Upstate New York prison nurse who allegedly sent him back to his cell after medication side effects gave him a painful erection that wouldn't go away. ... Read More

  1. by   J9G2008
    But as a previous poster mentioned, why is it only ONE nurse's fault for ignoring the erection? In 55 hours, you have at least 4 1/2 opportunities to complain (if 12-hour shifts) and almost 7 if they are on 8 hour shifts.
  2. by   Orca
    If this complaint were brought to me in my infirmary, one of the first things I would do is look at the inmate's prescribed medications. As several people have mentioned, Trazodone and Seroquel, among others, can cause priapism. When I worked outpatient mental health in the prison system, we always made it a point to educate anyone started on Trazodone about this possible side effect, and the dangers of leaving it untreated (Seroquel was removed from our formulary because of problems with abuse and extensive trading on the yard). A couple of inmates reported problems of this nature and we were able to stop the medication before any permanent damage was done.

    At least on the surface, it appears that the nurse may have dismissed the inmate's complaint without even assessing it. That is a big problem if true.
    But as a previous poster mentioned, why is it only ONE nurse's fault for ignoring the erection? In 55 hours, you have at least 4 1/2 opportunities to complain (if 12-hour shifts) and almost 7 if they are on 8 hour shifts.
    That is a valid point. I am surprised that more people aren't included in this lawsuit. It would seem that he would include anyone he had mentioned the problem to - and I doubt that the nurse being sued is the only one he talked to about this.
    Last edit by Orca on Jun 9, '09
  3. by   rjflyn
    Her best defense is going to be why no follow up complaints were not made during the next 40+ hrs. Or the article just does not mention them. He may just be out of luck.
  4. by   MoLawrence09
    Quote from military spouse
    This was a terrible mistake. That being said, how many times each day does an inmate want to show you his erection? It is a tough job and I won't even begin to judge why she didn't take it seriously. Perhaps he had shown it to her many times. Perhaps he had masturbated in front of her during med pass? Perhaps he talked of his erection in a sexual manner that seemed inappropriate. There could be a plethora of reasons why she didn't take his erection seriously.
    I agree. Honestly, if an innmate came up to me and told me to look at his erection, I don't know how I would respond. Normally I would look into it and assess further, but in this situation she might get this all the time...I don't know, I've never been a prison nurse and I don't think that I could be one! So I really can't say how to handle it!
  5. by   pagandeva2000
    This is yet, another reason why I am glad I am a participant in this forum. I have to admit that I am not sure of how I would have responded...it would have all depended on his behavior for me, but at least by remembering to look up the medications, ask him some basic questions, documenting and reporting it, I would be putting aside my personal paranoia and dealing with the issue at hand, which is what nurses are supposed to do. Sometimes, I have to be reminded of that. Thanks, OP and everyone for participating in this thread. I am learning something each day.
  6. by   FireStarterRN
    Excellent point Pagan! It would be easy to want to brush off a seemingly outrageous complaint by a prisoner!
  7. by   agr8rn
    having worked for many, many years in a prison....believe me, i've seen it all.

    what disturbs me the most are the reactions and posts on this forum... for the most part - no compassion, ignorance and the attitude of 'he's in prison, he deserves it' attitudes.
    some people haven't a clue, really.

    how would you feel if your son got locked up for having a joint in his pocket within 1000 feet of a school? how 'bout your mom for drunk driving? how about your brother who shoplifted a dvd?

    not just horrible people go to jail; sometimes people simply make bad choices in their lives and they suffer the consequences; they shouldn't be penalized again by having some condescending, judgemental nurse treating them like the scum of the earth.

    are you perfect? i am not; far from it. i am a decent, caring, law-abiding citizen. before you judge others, judge yourself.

    after reading these posts, i wouldn't want most of the nurses to care for me or my loved one i'm sad to say.

    dealing with inmates is difficult, and they are chronic malingerers, phonies, etc. - that's why you have to have (well, you should have) very strong assessment skills to work in a prison. you need to be able to differentiate the phonies from the sick ones. it's not a place for new nurses or nurses with no assessment skills for sure.

    what got them there is not anyones concern; it's not your job to judge them again, they've already obviously been judged and that's why they end up in a prison.

    i've worked in state prisons & county jails. the county jail switched medical providers and hired all nurses with no correctional experience - it was horrific! they read the paper every day to see what inmate got arrested for what and then talked about it.

    personally, i found it detestable. i don't want to know why they are there, really. i don't want my care to be compromised because i just found out the inmate i've been caring for is a child molester. my license and training bind me to give the same care whether you're a patient who is incarcerated, or one who is not.

    the big differences are: your personal safety, doing everything with an audience of corrections officers and mostly, simply omitting the chit/chat and extra little niceties that you might normally exchange with a patient.
    they aren't your friend and you don't want them to be.

    regarding the 'lawsuit' of the topic...

    a good nurse would know the right questions to ask someone complaining of this problem...
    a good nurse would know if he was on psych meds that he just might have a higher risk of priapism...

    when you are in a prison, it is soooo important to question them thorougly before diving into an assessment so to speak.
    i don't know all the circumstances and time frames, like how many hours into the priapism was it when he saw the nurse... so i can't say anything about the nurse, although it sounds she may have made a bad call by not rendering medical treatment or sending him to the hospital.

    how many times did i have an inmate come up and state "i'm having an asthma attack"
    meanwhile, lungs are clear, he's speaking in full, complete sentences, color good, vss, sa02 normal and peak flow good...
    the reality? he's faking wheezing by making sounds in his throat (easily detectable with the all important stethoscope!)

    it's tough to tell someone, stop faking and go back to your cell; but that's what you have to be able to do. you need to be able to know when they're faking, or when there is truly a problem.


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  8. by   saltydude
    Well spoken. Thank you for adding to the thread agr8rn.
  9. by   CRNA2007
    I see why they call it hard time
  10. by   J9G2008
    Bwahahaha! You made me spit at my computer!
  11. by   sonnyluv
    Quote from saltydude
    most likely he is a decent person that made some mistakes.
    dude-

    He's in jail. He is most likely, NOT a decent person.

    Having worked in a jail for 3 years I can say that there is no way this problem would have been resolved appropriately. He's lucky it only took two to three days to get attention. It pretty much takes three shifts of an acute complaint to assess and see if it's legit.
    Most of our assaults and escape attempts came from medical.
    It is the failure of the penal system, the failure of our government to adress the issue of mass poverty and lack of jobs. That nurse wasn't responsible for his erection. He should be suing the state-but no doubt he probably already has. He's proabaly already sued everybody and all he's got is the R.N.
    Almost every single inmate I knew had a lawsuit pending. Many got paid out. Most state's/counties would rather reduce prison terms than litigate.
  12. by   belliot2
    Having had a relative in jail actually really needing medical care ( kidney stones) and receiving nothing for the 48 hours it took to pass- There is MUCH more going on here than an unresponsive nurse... other things that could be happening: It may be that she was never informed of the on-going problem because the guards found this problem amusing, or they decided to 'punish' the prisoner and not relay the frequent calls for help.
    While I have little sympathy generally- being in prison or jail can be a life-threatening experience!
  13. by   dhinson45
    Ditto to the Senior member!!!
    I have been a TDC nurse for years and this just doesn't fly!!! Also there are different shifts and clinics that are run and if ordered by a nurse is against the Nurse Practice. At least in Texas that is how it is. I don't think I would
    " observe "an inmate to see how long his errection lasted. If perscribed by MD I would be on the phone!!!!!!!!!!

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