The Case of the Missing Spoon

The evening shift at the hospital, especially on the oncology unit was one of the most enjoyable, interesting and unforgettable jobs I've ever had, even though I probably didn't think so at the time.


  • Specializes in Hospice. Also home health and oncology.. Has 19 years experience.

This particular evening started off like most others, busy and unpredictable. As charge nurse for the unit on that shift I never knew what to expect, but learned to take whatever surfaced in stride and tried to remember that 11 pm (or whatever time I would get out of there) would eventually arrive. So when one of my regular staff members skirted past me at the nurse's station and informed me she was taking her dinner break early, must have been about 5 pm, I didn't give it an extra thought...until one of my other nurses informed me that she was going with Vivian.

That's when something must have tugged at my brain and said, "Hello, this is weird, Kristen doesn't usually go to dinner until around 8 pm and never with Vivian."

I spun around to make a comment to the two deserters who had headed toward the elevator just in time to see Vivian with one of our patient's in tow and Kristen looking extremely frazzled and concerned. It took a second to process the scene, but the patient had one of his arms around Vivian's neck with a spoon at her chin.

When I realized that one of my nurses was being 'kidnapped' and another was volunteering to accompany her, I waited until the elevator doors closed so as not to upset the patient further, then I quickly reached over the desk at the nurse's station and asked the operator to call the appropriate code for kidnapping (I don't think we had one until that incident!).

Within minutes the hospital's finest security flew up to the unit to get the details of what had happened. The nursing supervisor had beat them to the floor by at least five minutes...I was certain by this time that the patient was at least to the airport in his hospital gown with an IV in one arm and a spoon at a nurse's neck with the other and a second nurse in tow just to make thing more interesting.

There was conversation via walkie-talkie between security officers on our floor and on the main floor stating that all exits to the hospital had been blocked and that they were certain they would have the perpetrator subdued within minutes.

And they would have. If they had not nearly knocked the patient and the two nurses down as they flew down the hall on the main floor, eagerly working on the most exciting case they had come in contact with since their employment!

By the time the officers had blocked the main entrance, the two nurses were re-entering the hospital via the main entrance (without the patient, but don't ask how!). Not long after, the patient came back to the unit, escorted by two city police officers who picked him up as he walked down one of the main roads in the city which ran past the hospital.

By process of elimination, they were able to determine that since the patient was less than a couple of blocks from the hospital, dressed in hospital attire, dragging an IV pole behind, that he most probably belonged somewhere in our humble abode.

Oh yeah, and he had his hospital ID bracelet on. Thankfully, the hospital's security guards were standing strong at the front entrance when the police officers brought the patient back and were able to point the police officers in the right direction.

Once the patient was safely back in bed and well medicated, physician and family notified, we were able to ascertain why he felt the need to kidnap my nurse. His response, "I told you I wanted to go home!" Every time a patient said that to me after that incident, I took it a little more seriously than most nurses probably would.

19 year(s) of experience in Hospice. Also, home health and oncology. I am currently working on my legal nurse consulting cert and have just re-entered school to work on my DNP.

7 Articles   9 Posts

Share this post

SarahLovesNovember, BSN, RN

1 Article; 106 Posts

Specializes in Still a medic at heart but ICU, M/S, SVU. Has 6 years experience.

Sad but true. I'd take even a straw to take a nurse hostage if I wanted to go home! j/k