Owww! She bit me!


A patient bit me on the hand yesterday! She presented with AMS and we were trying to obtain labs/urine, she went berserk. It took 3 of us just to keep her in the bed because she was screaming, kicking, and flailing her arms. I grabbed her wrists (hoping I could at least control her movements, if not pin her down) and while someone else was trying to get restraints on the patient she reached up and chomped down on my hand. I had forgotten how much that HURTS! Fortunately didn't break the skin, but left a heck of a bruise.

So has anyone else been assaulted by a patient recently?

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 32,317 Posts

Ouch. Glad to hear you wrist wasn't broken.

Not recently fortunately. I'm a floor nurse though, not an ER nurse. But about six months ago an angry guy in dt's grapped ahold of my wrist and proceeded to try to break it. But thanks to gym work I was much strong than him. But he did manage to break my watchband. (Now I get verbally assaulted about once or twice a week. :))


Has 18 years experience. 8,343 Posts

Slapped on the face, never saw it coming.

Care Manager "how did u approach the client. He has dementia u know!"

Oh, I get it, if ur demented u can beat the crap out of people!!

Action was only taken when this individual gave the director a black eye. Nobody asked her how she approached the patient.:angryfire

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Utilization Management. 7 Articles; 5,163 Posts

My last experience was almost comical. One of the techs was trying to get the patient to hold still for something and I was on the patient's other side.

Well, Patient threw a haymaker at the tech, and when she brought her fist back to wind up, hit me in the head instead. Since she didn't know I was there, that kinda took the wind out of her sails.

And me? Oh, no damage there! I've been told that I'm hardheaded all my life, and that just proved it.:chuckle



Specializes in emergency nursing-ENPC, CATN, CEN. 237 Posts

i had the 'gouge the fingernails into your arm group' ( this guy had liver disease too-, broke skin-what an ohs nightmare for me!)

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 41 years experience. 1 Article; 3,836 Posts

My last one was accidental, I told him to take off his sweatshirt in triage so I could do a BP. He crossed both arms and swung it off over his head and caught me sideways with a backhand, glasses went flying and bent the frame. Fortunately, didn't bend my nose beyond rebound :uhoh3:



615 Posts

My last one was accidental, I told him to take off his sweatshirt in triage so I could do a BP. He crossed both arms and swung it off over his head and caught me sideways with a backhand, glasses went flying and bent the frame. Fortunately, didn't bend my nose beyond rebound :uhoh3:

Did the hospital pay for your glasses?



30 Posts

I worked the ER for many years. You could anticipate some type of physical altercation every shift, particularly on graveyard. I've had guns, knives drawn on me as well as physical combat. These events were not related to the way a patient was approached but more the percentage of patients of the seemy side seeking care. Most of all, mind altering drugs were underlying. I even hand to defend myself and another nurse with an IV pole against a knife weilding "Crankster" one shift.

These events became more than commonplace as the influx of methampetamine production/sale increased in the area. I loved the work but left the ER after an evening event involving fracturing the arm of a druggie gone amuck in the back of an ambulance accosting the EMS crew at our ER service dock.


boulergirl, CNA

Specializes in Home care, assisted living. Has 6 years experience. 428 Posts

So has anyone else been assaulted by a patient recently?

Well, let's see...it's been awhile because I stay away from the dementia wing these days. I've gotten my share of abuse, let me assure you!

One of the residents on that wing recently slugged one of the day shift CNAs. This CNA (a Latino) had been telling night shift that he gets abusive with us because we don't speak his language (Spanish). Never mind that I've had two years of college-level Spanish. :(

Anyway, she was taking him to the bathroom one morning and he tried to sock her in the face but she turned her head and he boxed her in the ear instead. He's physically very strong and he hit her hard enough to make her cry. I felt bad for her, but now she can't say he's abusive to CNAs because of the language barrier. She spoke his native language and still got hurt.



4 Posts

I was recently attacked by a pt because I didn't use a 3cc syringe to draw her blood while using a 24g cath. I had just got enough blood to fill pedi tubes and she demanded I stop and change syringes. When I said I have it she went ballistic and lost syringe, cath and refused to allow me to remove tourniquet. Called me a number of unsavory names and beat at me with her fists. Now she and her husband have made a complaint to the head of the hospital accusing me of telling her 'shut up' and then she says I held her hand between my legs.....needless to say neither happened. However, I was told today that I should not plan on working next week, and could possibly lose my job over this. I will say I had one other complaint 8 months ago, and nothing since. I am devastated. I like my job, enjoy the people I work with, and feel like I am an excellent nurse. But I just haven't clicked with this nurse mgr and I just don't know what to do. I just worked 12.5 hours, spent another 1.5 for a staff meeting and then stayed til 0930 while this subject was discussed. I drive 35 minutes to and from work...and then the nurse mgr called me at home and wanted me to drive back so this could be rediscussed and a solution arrived at. I told her I was in bed, tired after my shift, and I would be glad to come in on Monday. I was scheduled to work 7p to 7a Monday and she asked me to come in at 9am. I asked her if I should plan on working Monday night and she said no she didn't think so. I am a good nurse, experienced ER and am a team player. Nobody I work with has ever seen any kind of attitude or behavior that suggests I would lose my 'cool' with a patient or their families and my mgr said yes, that is true but that doesn't count. Hey, I need my paycheck like all of you do, and I am terrified. Any advice or support available? oh by the way, this patient is a known noncompliant and has frequently abused other nurses and throws temper tantrums often. However, I had not dealt with her and was unaware of this at the time. My mgr said well you are the only one she has ever made a complaint against. I really wanted to tell her that maybe I was the only one who identified myself by name. But I held my tongue.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience. 4,447 Posts

To Wolfen: I am really sorry you are going through this. It seems terribly unfair and I don't understand why the hospital would do this without any evidence other than this persons word. I would think that if some other staff member had observed something improper that would be one thing, but any patient can just make up any story and the nurse gets in trouble. This is incredible to me. You are a professional and the patient is a non-compliant frequent flyer and they believe her over you? Just not right. I think your manager is being a donkeys behind to be perfectly honest. It really ticks me off. I don't have any bright ideas, but do offer you my support and outrage at your treatment.



Specializes in Geriatric Psych, Physicians office, OB,. 76 Posts

I work in a geriatric/psychiatric unit where this can be common occurances. But then again, we are where they send those patients who beat up on the staff, bite, kick, scream, etc. and we're who they go to for behavioral health problems. Granted, not all "geriatric" patients are all 70 or over, we've had several under 50 that meet the program specifications.

I'm a firm believer that ALL staff - whether on the hospital floor, in the nursing home, etc., should be trained in crisis intervention techniques: how to avoid those bites, blows and attacks, as well as knowing when to back off and work as a team. Everyone should be properly trained in how to protect themselves as well as other patients, and what signs to look for in those patients who get aggressive.

What would you do if a patient got you in a choke-hold from behind? Would you know how to get out of that position, without causing injury to the attacker? Say it's a 65 year old man with dementia who thinks you're trying to steal his lunch tray....it's happened before. Would you know what to do? Many workers don't realize that they have the RIGHT to protect themselves!

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