5.22.2007

Some insight - Edith Isabel Rodriguez

A heavily armed man burst into the emergency room of the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center on Monday, shot three doctors and held two women hostage for several hours before surrendering.

The doctors were shot at a desk near the entrance where they examined patients to expedite treatment in the crowded trauma center. One of them, Dr. Richard May, 47, was reported in extremely critical condition today with a gunshot wound to the head. The two others -- Dr. Glen Roger, 41, and Dr. Paul Kaszubowski, 44 -- were in serious condition.
NY Times article

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It's easy to pass judgment on a group, on their actions, their attitudes, and their thoughts, when you're not apart of that group...and only have an outsiders perspective. As a physician, you see people getting their ass kicked, royally, by random patients all the time. People that they're only trying to help. After a few close calls, you start to get a bit skittish when people start acting "crazy" in the ER. When people start getting mad...screaming and yelling...you just kind of wait until they settle down. Sometimes people are being crazy because they're sick. But usually, they're being crazy because...they're high, drunk, or, just crazy. As an ER doc, you realize that your life and safety aren't less valuable than that of your patient's. And, as explained below, hospitals are reluctant to show police presence for fear of negative perception. This attitude completely undermines our efforts in the ED to keep everyone safe. The hospital is not (and never will be, a damn hotel). Safety, and saving lives, trumps customer service!! I think everyone can agree on that (but try explaining this to "those who wear black suits and sit behind big desks all day, making tons of money, while providing very little to healthcare")

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"A drunken, 50-year-old Salem man was brought to Beverly Hospital for treatment. As Richardson helped him get ready to leave, he lunged at her, grabbed her crotch and tore through her hospital scrubs. He refused to let go."

"A safe workplace is the right of every worker, yet emergency medical staff are exposed daily to violent patients who can jeopardize the safety of everyone in the ED. Despite official recommendations, many hospitals have yet to implement security protocols."
Postgrad

Nationally, crimes against nurses and health care workers are as common as assaults on police and correctional officers. One study completed this year indicates hospital assaults often go unreported. Mass nurse

Nursing advocates say hospital administrators don't like to talk about workplace violence because it ruins the "hotel-like image" hospitals want to project. "The mindset is, 'This is a hotel and the client—the patient—is always right,'" said Evelyn Bain, who studies workplace violence for the nurses association.

"When administrators tolerate verbal or physical violence (in the healthcare setting), they send a message to the public and to (hospital staff) that they are not valued."


Being violent and threatening in the hospital should be held in the same regard as those same actions in the post office (isn't treating the sick, and saving lives as important as sorting the mail?) Can drunks come into the postoffice? Yes. Can crazy folks threaten violence against aircraft staff? Of course. But what happens? They are promptly subdued, and dealt with. Actions first (to protect the safety of everyone involved), then evaluation and the sorting out of potential reasons done later, in a controlled environment. When someone comes into the ED, and shows their ass...they should be "dealt with." After being subdued, we can then work to determine the cause (sickness, intoxication, psychiatric issues, etc), and implement appropriate therapy.

As long as the hospital administration, by default, relies on the ED staff to ignore their survival instincts, and go out on a limb and help "potential crazy people" out in the waiting room...with inadequate support for doing so...we, as a society, can expect many such 'Rodriguez' incidents...most which go unrecognized by the general population.