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So I called the police on a patient

Nurses   (2,814 Views 39 Comments)
by JBMmom JBMmom, MSN (Member)

JBMmom has 6 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nurse.

1 Follower; 11,376 Visitors; 675 Posts

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Maybe the past few rough nights have got me too much on edge with not enough sleep, but I hit the end of my patience last night. Detoxer sucker punched me in the face. We had a good relationship going there on our second night together, I tend to not be a line in the sand type with my detoxers. You tell me we're on a boat, I'll ask where you're driving me. We can joke around and keep things light, as long as we're all safe. We weren't even doing anything invasive, a boost in bed with me by his chest, another aide next to me and one across. I didn't see it coming, and even with the padded mitt, it was hard enough to move my glasses (not knock them off entirely), and my jaw still feels it. Not the hardest I've ever been hit and we all know you just take it, right. But when I looked over there was clear intent on his face, and that face came back many times over the night. Ended up in four points within a few hours, and by the end of my shift I'd been threatened enough times I decided to call.

The officer comes in and his first question is "Well, what were you doing to him at the time?" He clarified that he plays devil's advocate because he has to prove intent in order to get a warrant (as we all know), and in a patient detoxing, on benzos, and hallucinating, that's nearly impossible. But "I support you" he says. Then he proceeds to show me bruises on his arm from an arrest and then tells me he's been injured many times and he's never pressed charges. As if he's better than me and I'm lacking in compassion and knowledge about my job if I'm doing this. I treated that patient professionally and courteously, as I do all my patients. I know they're dealing with addiction issues and no matter what brought you to my assignment, I try not to judge because it has no place in providing competent care. But why are we expected to just take this time and time again as an appropriate behavior? And not just us. Police, teachers, EMTs, many professions, we're now expected to just take it. So, I know my complaint won't go anywhere, nothing will happen to him, but just on the principle of it I wanted to put it out there. If nothing else, as least the next time he's back I can claim a conflict of interest.

Does anyone have a workplace that takes this stuff seriously? Because I'm not the only one recently, and especially in the ED, some of these people are alert, oriented and just mean. Or maybe I'm wrong for calling because it shows a lack of understanding for my patient, whatever. But I just felt like someone has to do something, I have friends at work, and I don't want them to be in danger, either. We can't put everyone in restraints just for our safety, that would be abuse, so we have to wait, and hope it's not more serious next time.

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River&MountainRN has 3 years experience.

1,844 Visitors; 198 Posts

No, you're not in the wrong. Somewhere along the line, and I don't know why,  lack of accountability for those clearly in the wrong went out the window and it makes me sick. 

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and works as a Behavioral Health RN.

14 Followers; 1 Article; 73,951 Visitors; 5,981 Posts

27 minutes ago, JBMmom said:

I know my complaint won't go anywhere, nothing will happen to him, but just on the principle of it I wanted to put it out there..

In over 36 years of nursing, plus a couple of years of being a careworker, I've pressed charges only one time on a patient who attacked me for no reason other than them just being mean.

I filed a report with the police, they took the names and numbers of two coworkers/witnesses, and nobody ever heard anything back from them.

Like you, JBmom, I did what I felt and believed was the right thing to do. If nothing else, the report was filed and it may just prove to be a nail in the culprit's coffin in the future should the action be repeated.

I empathize with you and support you, JBmom, for whatever it's worth.

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CalicoKitty has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Med-Surg Nurse.

1 Follower; 15,375 Visitors; 616 Posts

My dad had dementia. But, before then, he had some mean and violent tendencies. I believe at one of the hospitals he was at, he assaulted a nurse and they pressed charges against him.  Not sure anything could ever come of them, he never left medical treatment (hospital - nursing home) before passing away. But, I fully support anyone pressing charges if assaulted. 

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herring_RN works as a retired registered nurse.

3 Followers; 97,931 Visitors; 2,920 Posts

I was written up by a supervisor once when a formerly unresponsive patient in restraints began yelling loudly. I barely go to the door of the room to see him start to bite a nurse who was accessing a central line. I was VERY LOUD when I said. "Don't hurt people!" He stopped to look at me.

In the meeting about my "unprofessional behavior" that same nurse told them she would have been bit if I had not distracted that patient.

Once a colleague called for help with an old man who was fighting. His O2 mask was off and he was very SOB so I began to put the mask back on when he kicked my cheek. That is the only time I saw stars. The startle and pain didn't last long. After he got Lasix, a breathing treatment, and increase in O2 liters he sort of remembered and apologized. I filled out an incident and spent my break having the ER doc examine me, but didn't call police.

Below is a link to what some amazing ER nurses did to keep safe:

https://allnurses.com/violence-nursing-t654547/?do=findComment&comment=6859204

 

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AnnieNP has 20 years experience as a MSN, NP and works as a Nurse Practitioner.

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About 20 years ago I was attacked by a patient's father in the ER (we had called children's protective services) and the ER doctor intervened.  He was hurt, I was not.  We pressed charges, and the hospital tried to talk us out of it!!!!!!!!!  We went to court and the father never showed up.  I'm not sure what happened after that.  You are NOT in the wrong.  Wishing you well.

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JBudd has 38 years experience as a MSN and works as a ED nurse, community college adjunct faculty.

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I've posted this before; I was tackled and bitten, scar visible on my arm.  Police report, arrested, jailed; tesified at the Grand Jury; she took plea deal for four felonies, two of which were assault on health care worker on duty.  My hospital stood behind me.

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Blue_Moon has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Registered Nurse.

1 Article; 4,928 Visitors; 471 Posts

4 hours ago, JBMmom said:

Then he proceeds to show me bruises on his arm from an arrest and then tells me he's been injured many times and he's never pressed charges

What a jerk! There is a huge difference in someone just randomly punching an innocent person for no reason who was not expecting it than someone resisting arrest. The cop is trained in defense tactics, has weapons, and can use force back if necessary.  Bruises from an arrest means that person still went to jail and I guarantee resisting arrest was added to his list of offenses. If you could’ve punched your patient back and hauled his rear to jail then you probably wouldn’t care about pressing personal injury charges either.  Assault is assault and should not be permitted. If I were you I would report his attitude to his supervisor and ask if all of the police dept feels it’s ok for nurses to be punched by patients or should you call a neighboring police dept next time. That’ll get their attention! I’m sorry that happened to you and you were made to feel bad for asking for help. Unacceptable! 

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501 Visitors; 44 Posts

The final straw that ended up with my dad being institutionalized was him kicking a poor nurse in her face breaking her nose. He was lucky that they just moved him to psych and never called the police. We had warned the ED when he came in that he was dangerous and even after they found a knife in his pants they belittled me with the he has Parkinson's how could he hurt anyone. Sadly he did...

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MunoRN has 10 years experience and works as a Critical Care.

63,687 Visitors; 6,068 Posts

It's completely appropriate to press charges against a patient who is or should be aware of what they're doing, it's not appropriate to press charges against a patient who is hallucinating in DTs.  

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socal212 has 1 years experience.

226 Visitors; 14 Posts

I just have to say this.

Police came to my apartment a few months ago because neighbors heard "fighting" (what they actually heard was me falling and busting my face open, and screaming and crying, naturally).  I told the cops over and over again that nothing happened between me and my boyfriend (we had been arguing previously but it didn't get physical), and it was just a really bad accident but they didn't believe me.  They ended up arresting him for assault when he didn't even touch me.  

But you go to work and actually get straight up assaulted and then suddenly the police don't care?  It literally makes me sick to my stomach. 

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1 Follower; 13,285 Visitors; 1,470 Posts

I support your decision to call the police.

I also would have supported your decision not to call the police, had you felt that it was not warranted. 

It's not a once size fits all thing.

I think we need to support each others' decisions on matters like these and not create a situation where the nurse either must make a report to the police or must not make a report to the police. 

It's not a political thing where you need to be in one camp or another. This is the way we support each other. And we really need to support each other. 

 

 

 

 

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