No announcement yet.

Hospital Security in a Pandemic

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Hospital Security in a Pandemic

    Long time no see. Saw an email about this place and I decided to pop my head in.

    It's been a hell of a year and a half. As some folks might remember, I work for a large hospital. Anyways. Covid.

    Before I describe my experiences, I want to put forth a bit of advice. Treat others with compassion and empathy. I don't care if you think Covid is fake, or that you think the vaccines have microchips, or whatever. I don't want to hear it, and it doesn't add anything meaningful to the conversation.

    It started out as a rumor. When we heard about a possible epidemic in China there was a shot in the dark chance it could come to the US, we all joked. I really want to go back to that day. At first, it was gradual. We heard the news, Seattle, New York, LA, all getting hit. As preparation a task force was created. Some medical staff started wearing facemasks. Then we heard about the PPE shortage. Security was told not to wear masks due to the shortage, save them for the direct contact staff.

    I'll never forget the day. I was working overtime on evening shift, when the supervisor literally sought me out in the middle of an escort. I had noticed him wearing an N95 as he shoved one into my hands and ordered me to put it on. Now.

    A guard had gotten COVID. She would be sick for a month.

    Shortly after, the task force began in earnest. Entrances locked down. Nothing public. No visitors. Masks mandatory (before the state wide mandate). All non-emergency surgeries were cancelled. Security was assisting staff at entrances. Screening both patients and staff for COVID. Fever. Cough. Shortness of breath. Temp. New loss of taste or smell.

    A week after the hospital went into lockdown, so did the state.

    For a little bit there, this hospital was safer than it had ever been.

    Then the first surge hit. The ICU's were full, every ICU was full. All COVID. Security was helping nursing staff prone patients. Helping deliver supplies. Dealing with COVID patients on holds who wanted to leave.

    And you know one thing that folks didn't really hit on the news? COVID psych. An entire floor of COVID positive psych patients.

    And the morgue. Overflow. We didn't reach freezer truck, but it nearly got there. Funeral homes were refusing to pick up bodies for funerals that weren't happening due to covid restrictions.

    And then George Floyd was murdered on 38th and Chicago.

    You could see the smoke rising from Lake Street from our helipad. Minneapolis was my home. Where I grew up. I played softball as a kid at the park right by Cup Foods. They were worried things were coming our way. They shut down our city. The freeways shut down. The national guard was activated. Our officers were trapped at work. I remember standing on top of the parking ramp watching the state capital with a fellow officer, watching the national guard move. National Guard ended up posted at one of our entrances for weeks.

    Then my grandma got COVID. Then my uncle did. My best friend and his wife had it twice, as did their parents. Six more officers would get it.

    It's been a hell of a year and a half.

    I will share two stories outside the generalizations here.

    Myself and another officer were standing near the ED when a code green went off. We ran to the room just as two male nurses were tackling a patient onto the bed. Immediately we jumped and began the restraint process. The patient had jumped up from a dead sleep and began punching the ER tech in the face. The patient was actively spitting at us. I put a spit hood on them, but it was too late.... at least according to employee health. It was found out when the patient was COVID positive three days later when they were admitted to mental health. About fifteen ED staff were forced to stay home and quarantine. Myself and the other officer included. We were deemed high risk due to the time spent in the room, as well as the fact we didn't put on PPE before jumping into the fray. Two weeks of not being able to leave my apartment and being forced to check in with the department of health or they would 'find you'.

    Another time I was dealing with an upset patient. Alcohol withdrawal. I was posted outside their room just standing by. I can't help but overhear the nurse in the other room, using an iPad to talk to a patients' family. The patient was intubated, COVID. I was frozen, listening to the voices of someone my age begging their dad to wake up. They couldn't be with him because of the visitation rules. He died the next morning.

    Right now I'm not the greatest writer so I will wrap this up. I will never forget the pandemic. I'm pretty sure I have some latent PTSD from it. Just... seeing the hopelessness on the ICU's. My friends, my nurses, breaking down because they can't do anything. Refusing people from spending time with their loved ones. Just, the air was thick with fear, confusion, and anger. I got tired of hauling bodies, dead and alive. I didn't see any family for friends for over a year. My existence was solely work and my home. And since I live alone, just the sheer loneliness of it all. I didn't start to see folks until a few months ago, after the vaccine was available to general public. (Yes, I was part of the first couple thousand in my state to be vaccinated. I got my initial dose at the end of December)

    IDK what I expect to get from this post. Just more sharing/venting.

  • #2
    Great post. Good reality check. Thanks for doing it.


    • #3
      Glad to see you are still around. As for your post...I have no words. Now that we have the delta variant, we have some very serious policy questions that have to be addressed. In the meantime, if you don't want to vaccinate (or even if you do), at least wear a mask, wash your hands, disinfect your equipment.

      And I'll say it again - the mental health care system in this country is very broken, especially for the homeless, and we have to fix it along with all the other problems, Take care, PhantomX0990. Stay safe - you and your department.


      • #4
        I am so glad I work part time on weekend, 3rd shift in an office building in Metro Boston My biggest issue is whether the Pepsi Cola machine is going to steal my money I go home with peace on my mind I have been doing Security Guard duty for almost 50 years I work for contract security with one of the Big Dog security guard companies in the USA. Branch offices from Boston to Phoenix I WILL NOT WORK HOSPITAL SECURITY I will work, and have a construction site where the bathroom is out in the woods. BUT NO HOSPITAL SECURITY !!! Greatest Comedy team ever!