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  • Officer assaulted

    A colleague of mine today at 01:30am was punched in the chest while performing patient care on a mentally ill patient. The female security officer was punched in the chest, as she was standing in the room with the patient. She quickly activated a wall mounted duress alarm which bought staff from all over the hospital to her aid. She suffered no major injuries, just bruising. The assault was caught on cctv recording. Friendly reminder to all "Please be careful out there".
    We haven't had trouble for a while, Let's cancel security!

  • #2
    And that's one of the reasons I don't like the idea of a single caregiver with a mental hold patient. In a law enforcement situation, this is tactically dangerous but might be unavoidable. The (security/law enforcement) officer is armed with weapons to defend themselves against the patient's violent attack as well as to overpower and subdue the patient. In a caregiver setting, you can't use weapons against a patient (patient must be free from violence to their person) unless taking law enforcement action and all you get to do is... use more people.

    Therefore, there should be a 2:1 or 3:1 advantage between caregiver and mental subject.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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    • #3
      Assaults and/or attempted assaults occur with more frequency than we care to think about at our place. 90% of the time this happens in our emergency department. Whether they're mental health cases, drug/alcohol cases, or just plain angry we don't wait to get assaulted. Colorado law provides for affirmative self defense. You can take action when you believe you're about to be assaulted.

      That of course doesn't mean we don't get assaulted. We work in numbers in most cases. Our biggest difficulty at the hospital is to convince medical staff to pay attention to the signs of behavior which may indicated aggressive behavior towards them. If they see it, suspect it, whatever - back off and call in security. We have the training to handle them with - hopefully - no, to minimal, injury to ourselves.
      "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

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      • #4
        Medical staff do not have a clue when it comes to security and safety. We have large laminated posters on our doors saying "staff must not isolate themselves in patient area", and "two staff in patient area at all times". These signs mean nothing... They walk in there and start talking to patients becaust they have 20 years experience in psych. I have seen many nurses assaulted by a patient who has not said or done anything prior to the attack. I have seen nurses assaulted by a compliant patient walking back to his bedroom. It seems pointless continuing to warn some people of the dangers until they are assaulted. My personal favourite statement from a nurse. She had just been assaulted by a large male patient, she was alone in his room ,talking, Her comment " I tought i'd be o.k i had my duress alarm on". When will people learn duress alarms are only usefull after you have been assaulted.
        We haven't had trouble for a while, Let's cancel security!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by crankloud
          Medical staff do not have a clue when it comes to security and safety. We have large laminated posters on our doors saying "staff must not isolate themselves in patient area", and "two staff in patient area at all times". These signs mean nothing... They walk in there and start talking to patients becaust they have 20 years experience in psych. I have seen many nurses assaulted by a patient who has not said or done anything prior to the attack. I have seen nurses assaulted by a compliant patient walking back to his bedroom. It seems pointless continuing to warn some people of the dangers until they are assaulted. My personal favourite statement from a nurse. She had just been assaulted by a large male patient, she was alone in his room ,talking, Her comment " I tought i'd be o.k i had my duress alarm on". When will people learn duress alarms are only usefull after you have been assaulted.
          I agree. I have told many a nurse, aid or doctor that they should leave the room or move just before they got smoked. Our medical staff at our hospital is beginning to realize that when we say move, we mean it. Our Psych Liaison Nurses and Psychiatrists are not the best at reading body language and increased aggression. They get into patient -caregiver mode.

          The other day while I was 1:1 with one of our regular meth-heads, the PLN gave the subject a shiney brand new sharpened pencil so the guy could make some notes! What kind of notes could he possibly need to take while he witnessed snakes coming out of his fingertips as he tried to hide under the laminate floor!!!

          Grood gracious folks....thanks for all your help!
          ========================================
          Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out! - Unknown

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          • #6
            Originally posted by aphilpot
            I agree. I have told many a nurse, aid or doctor that they should leave the room or move just before they got smoked. Our medical staff at our hospital is beginning to realize that when we say move, we mean it. Our Psych Liaison Nurses and Psychiatrists are not the best at reading body language and increased aggression. They get into patient -caregiver mode.

            The other day while I was 1:1 with one of our regular meth-heads, the PLN gave the subject a shiney brand new sharpened pencil so the guy could make some notes! What kind of notes could he possibly need to take while he witnessed snakes coming out of his fingertips as he tried to hide under the laminate floor!!!

            Grood gracious folks....thanks for all your help!
            Last month I spent a week in the hospital. After I became lucid, I had an opportunity to talk with physicans, nurses and technicians. Their responses disturbed me. I gave them some personal safety tips and strongly recommended they talk to hospital administration to have the county police crime presentation provide them personal safety and security classes.
            Aphilpot, I agree with your comments. I've seen what a new freshly sharpened lead pencil will do to a person. Had a Marine's wife who was a nurse assaulted by someone. The gunny always told her to walk to her car carrying such a pencil. She rammed it in the scum's belly and broke it off. The sheriff's deputy was presented with her half and two hours later the scum turned up at a local general hospital. The word had already been put out of the incident, so when he showed up the sheriff arrived soon after. He spent a total of 25 years in prison for this an other assaults. Good for the gunny and his wife. Had he not gone to the hospital peritonits would have set in.
            If you don't think the pencil works, try it on a cardboard box, cuts through both layers.
            Enjoy the day,
            Bill

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            • #7
              This happened November 2005. This is the newspaper account.

              A patient in the behavioral health unit at Holland Hospital accosted a female hospital staff member Tuesday and used her as a hostage to leave the building, hospital officials said.
              Police arrested the man within minutes after they chased him by foot to the area of 28th Street and Michigan Avenue. He was jailed pending charges relating to the incident.

              At about 3:30 p.m., the man obtained a ballpoint pen within the behavioral unit and held it against a staff member's throat, using her as a shield before he left the building, said Tim Breed, spokes-man for Holland Hospital. The woman was able to separate herself from the patient after the two left the building.

              "The individual was given a large amount of space while a large net of security and police was formed," Breed said. "The whole event took about 15 minutes."

              The unnamed female staff member was being evaluated in the emergency unit Tuesday and will receive critical incident counseling, he said.

              Breed said that the man was admitted Monday to the hospital's behavioral health unit but would not disclose the circumstances. Police also would not provide any information about the man's identity or why he had been hospitalized.

              Police arrived on the scene shortly after the patient left the building with the woman, said Capt. Rick Walters of the Holland Police Department.

              "They apprehended him near the Clark gas station and tackled him," Walters said. "He physically resisted arrest."

              At about 3:35 p.m., an older man who was in the area, who wished to remain anonymous, said he saw a young man running in the area followed quickly by police on foot.

              They zig-zagged through the road construction barrels and signs along Michigan Avenue and through the paved lot of a gas station, he said.About four to five police officers and two uniformed hospital security officers dove on the man, pushing him into the ground.

              "They tackled the guy," the witness said. "He evidently had something on him," but the witness couldn't see what it was.

              Officers wrestled with the man's arms and hands until he was handcuffed and placed inside a police cruiser, said the witness.

              Multiple officers were needed to restrain the patient, who police believe acted alone, Walters said.

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              • #8
                Lets not get started on psych wards. Ok, lets. Remember how I keep screaming about how you're not allowed to bring weapons and such things into a hospital due to "free from violence?"

                My state has a FAQ for psych hospitals and wards. It specifically states that under USC and WI law, the security department for a psych ward may not be armed with any offensive or defensive weapontry. Law Enforcement Officers may not be used for security, unless called to the scene to deal with a law enforcement issue. If Law Enforcement Officers arrive, they must be requested to remove their weapons or interview personnel away from the caregiving enviornment. Why? They're armed!

                The state notes that because hospitals have a duty to keep patients free from violence and harm that security officers may not use force to subdue patients. They may only use traditional care-giver tactics, including de-escalation, swarming, and medical restraints. Because the patient is acting out, enforcement action cannot be taken against them!

                The same goes for law enforcement officers. Unless the security or law enforcement officer is acting in a law enforcement capacity (arresting someone for a criminal infraction), they cannot use weapons or police tactics to subdue the patient.

                The patients have a right to be free from violence, so where's the caregiver's right to be free from violence? And by care-giver, I mean security, who is called in to "restore order" after the patient goes into wack-job mode and tries to attack others.
                Some Kind of Commando Leader

                "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
                  If Law Enforcement Officers arrive, they must be requested to remove their weapons or interview personnel away from the caregiving enviornment. Why? They're armed!
                  I can only imagine their response to that one.
                  "We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."

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                  • #10
                    We don't have a psych ward in our hospital. Patients brought into the emergency department for psych issues, suicidial ideations, or the general "behavioral" issues, stay in the emergency room until interviewed by a medical social worker and physician. Then it is decided if they need to be placed on an Emergency Commitment hold (up to 5 days) or an M-1 hold (72 hours) and transferred to a psych facility. While all this time is passing these patients are on security watch - 99.9% of the time.

                    Under the law they are no longer free to leave and can not refuse any treatment (i.e. medication, drug/alcohol testing, etc) until or unless the physician determines they are: 1) not a danger to themselves, 2) not a danger to others, and/or 3) have the ability to make decisions for themselves. This also applies to those under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

                    It gets problematic in that all this can takes hours (usually 5+). In many cases they get to the point where they decide they're leaving and their behavior begins escalating. Hopefully we can avoid the fight, but not always.
                    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

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                    • #11
                      I worked at a local hospital for 3 weeks and the final straw was being contained in a room with 2 severely mentally ill brothers and just me. SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY
                      http://img363.imageshack.us/img363/3203/darrell29jc.gif

                      The FUTURE is MSP...

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                      • #12
                        Can't agree more with all forum readers. N.a corbier as usual hits the nail right on the head.. I work in a 31 bed psychiatric ward there are 25 care level 3 patients and 6 care level 1&2 beds, these beds are for one on one patient care or self harm patients..I don't want to carry any form of defence/weapon into a closed psych ward. I cannot urge security staff enough. Check your hospitals policy and procedures manual if available. Security staff should not be performing one on one patient care without a nurse,This practise is against our hospital policy.
                        We haven't had trouble for a while, Let's cancel security!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't know about psychiatric hospitals, but at our local hospital the police are free to enter as equipped and may use whatever force is necessary to prevent a patient from harming others. At any rate, I wouldn't work at a psychiatric hospital for any amount of money. Not only is it dangerous, as posted above, but it is a depressing work environment. My hat is off to those that can handle it.
                          Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mr. Security
                            I don't know about psychiatric hospitals, but at our local hospital the police are free to enter as equipped and may use whatever force is necessary to prevent a patient from harming others. At any rate, I wouldn't work at a psychiatric hospital for any amount of money. Not only is it dangerous, as posted above, but it is a depressing work environment. My hat is off to those that can handle it.
                            Amen to that thought. My salute to psych hospital group. I feel totally worn out after dealing with a night of multiple psych cases in our ER. Dang sure wears a body out.

                            As to the cops handling problems in our hospital - only if we call them to take the bad guy to jail after we quell the incident.
                            "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

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                            • #15
                              I have to praise the nurses i work with on a daily basis. I know i whinge about them at times but they are getting the message slowly.. I have now worked in psych for 3 years on a casual basis, most of the other time is on the general wards or E.D. It is rewarding seeing the patients come in very ill,then see them leave a normal person. I know it is violent at times but i can only make it safer by being here.
                              We haven't had trouble for a while, Let's cancel security!

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