Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Raging Bull&#!^

Okay, first, read this tale over at Dr. Whitecoat's blog.

Just for reference, I may have mentioned this subject before.

And I may, perhaps, keep bringing it up until any assault on any health care provider gets you an instant non-negotiable 24-hour stay in the Graybar Motel, just like wife-beaters and drunk drivers.

One, because that's not too much to expect, and
Two, because it's f***ing the way it should be.

We have, in the referenced tale, a perfectly reasonable description of an incident that happens with tedious regularity, especially in emergency departments, but in fact, throughout healthcare, and we yawn at a situation where someone committed criminal battery on the nurse, then multiple staff members, but had to rise to actually assaulting and battering a police officer - a man with multiple backup officers right next to him, and a tazer, bulletproof vest, service pistol, and 50+ rounds of ammunition on him, as opposed to someone in cotton hospital pajamas with just an ID tag for armorplate - before anything like a certainty of a trip to jail, rather than merely being tenderly escorted onto the street, was contemplated.

How do I feel about that? Thanks for asking.
My apologies if I was too subtle there.

To be fair, the story wasn't the first one Whitecoat has referenced; tales of ED violence around the country and around the world are a regular feature on his blog, because they're so easy to find, again and again and again. This one just frosted me, because of the tacit acknowledgement that "that's just the way it is".

When we, as a work unit, as a hospital, as a profession, as an entire segment of society, agree to let ourselves get kicked in the crotch daily, as though it was okay, guess what's going to happen to you and I tomorrow?

If you guessed "get kicked in the crotch again", congratulations.

Enough is enough.
Start rattling cages, and get the monkeys working for you for a change, instead of sucking up to their Press-Ganey score whores.

Or start making plans to bury your friends.
Because if you think the nutbags who keep shooting up Gun Free Zones at schools aren't going to figure out very soon it'll work at hospitals too, you're certifiably insane.


  1. I agree. I was once brought into the VP of nursing's office to be disciplined because of "how I spoke to" a patient. This patient was an elderly lady who came in for back pain. She also happened to be a former nursing supervisor for the hospital. She thought that I was disrespectful because I insisted on finishing up my triage of a chest pain patient (legit--with squeezing midsternal pain, nausea, diaphoresis, and jaw pain) before triaging her back pain. She was so upset with me that she hit me several times on my shoulders and back WITH HER CANE as I bent down to help her place her feet in the wheelchair. I said "Ma'am, it is not ok to hit me. Please stop immediately." and took her to a bed. So I told management during out little meeting that if they wanted to discipline me for that, I would insist on a meeting with my union rep and a cop, because I was going to press charges against her for assault and battery. I then showed them the photos of the bruises from my upper back. That was the end of that.

  2. With all due respect, based on that situation, I would have pressed the charges regardless, then grieved the VP of nursing, the supervisor, and the hospital. Naming them as criminal conspirators in the assault and battery would not be too strong a response.

    I have little use for unions in general, but the one thing they have an absolute duty to enforce is safety of workers, and that qualifies.

    It's no more acceptable for management to watch staff members assaulted daily and do little or nothing than it would be to ask us to use arc welders standing in a pool of gasoline, and even less intelligent. As I've discovered, there's no meanigful way to measure the lack of intelligence of vast swaths of hospital management, because it's a bottomless pit.

  3. Wow, I'm absolutely disgusted by what's happening to you and your co-workers. I'm amazed that you manage to stick with it. What you go through on a daily basis, while continuing to show up, just confirms for me what I've known for years. Nursing is a calling. It has to be, there can be no other explanation for why anyone would continue in that line of work were it not.
    Given the level of dedication, care and straight out bravery displayed by healthcare workers I find it both appalling, and frankly baffling, that it is they who are treated so badly. What nurses do, the level of gentle care, empathy and flat out GOODNESS is worthy of nothing but respect and immense gratitude.
    I know this because nurses have saved my life more than once. They have fed me when I was hungry, bathed me when I could not do so myself, they have relieved my pain where they could, but most important of all, they have held my hand during the long nights when I was frightened.
    I know I'm not the only patient who has been saved, cared for and comforted by those dedicated special people, there are many of us, and in our eyes they are heroes.