There was this day about eight months ago, I was working at 48 chair dialysis clinic.  My area was in the back against the windows and in the “isolation” pod.  Where we keep our Hep B patients, they can not dialyze with the rest of the population due to the fact that hep B is highly contagious.  Anywho, the isolation room is a big 10 by 10 room with glass walls.

We had this traveling patient that was for lack of a better word, a total dick, he yelled at us, tried to spit, cursed and tried to hit me while I attempted to put in his needles.  Eventually his treatment was initiated and I left him alone and he fell asleep.  About two hours pass and all of a sudden he bolted from his chair, stood straight up and started screaming.  I walked towards the door and asked him to sit down, I needed to glove up and gown up before I could get him anything he needed.

He’s cursing and screaming and basically throwing a fit, I summoned the nurse and a few burly techs show up right when he pulls out his venous needle.  I mean like takes off the tape and pulls it out.  Then he began to wave it around the room, making hep B blood waves on the glass walls, blood is pouring from his fistula, squirting out of his sharp needle and he’s painting the walls.  Painting the freakin glass walls with his blood. 

Zack, a quick thinking newbie nurse shut the glass door and told us to wait.  We basically have to wait it out.  And we waited until his eyes rolled in the back of his head and he hit the floor covered in his own blood.  Then we started the rescue protocol.    The police were never called, no report was ever made.

He lived, I am sure he is inflicting his anger upon some other dialysis clinic somewhere in the great states. 

The four of us who were involved in this little fiasco got called on the carpet for it.  We were asked why we waited for him to basically pass out due to blood loss before we did anything.  My answer basically was because it was not worth it to rush in there with a man who was waving a sharp 15 guage dialysis needle around who had hep B and whatever else he failed to tell us.

We all got written up, the manager agreed we made the right choice but if the man were ever to sue us he had to show disciplinary action. 

I know in my heart I made the right decision, the man did not die, he did stay in the hospital for a few days, but he survived. 

In dialysis there seems to be a gray area when it comes to patients behaviors.  They are allowed to yell, scream, spit and make rude comments to us without a blink of an eye from administration.  They are our customers, the patient is always right, jack up the heat to 85 degrees for the patient because they forgot their blanket.

Yes, we are here to take care of the patients, to offer them compassion and care.  But we have to protect ourselves too and the other patients.  The Hep B man was angry and we felt he would probably try to cut us with his needle.  Our health was at stake.  I don’t regret doing what I did, it was his choice to remove the dialysis needle, he received care once he was no longer a threat. 

EMTs and paramedics are not allowed to go into a situation where their lives are at risk, they are to wait for police.  Why is it that dialysis clinics are different?

Any disgruntled patient can walk into any dialysis clinic across the United States with a handgun and take out the tech who hurt him the day before.  There is nothing to protect us. 

Last week a patient was taking out his stuff from his backpack and mace fell out if it.  He brought a weapon to dialysis.  Yes, mace is a weapon, okay, a weapon.  What happened to him?  Nothing.  Sure, he didn’t try to use it, it just fell from his backpack, but not one administrative person came to talk to him, even though the two techs who witnessed it went and complained. 

Has healthcare gotten to the point where we have to risk our lives to make the patient happy?  Does the welfare of the staff mean nothing?


~ by Kim on July 15, 2008.

4 Responses to “Disgruntled….”

  1. Jesus…

    I can’t argue with you. I would have done the same thing. I like to think I would have anyway.

    Your safety should be number one.

  2. Yes, that really sucks. I would have let the bastard pass out, too. I’m sorry that the big wigs did what they did. Yes, we do it for the patients–but not when our own health is in danger! That manager should have stood up for you. If the dick sues, let the court decide that you made the right decision. And for all internts, this could be considered a suicide attempt on the patient’s part. Of course, our legal system seems to lack common sense, or even a basic sense of what is wrong and what is right anymore. So who knows? That shithead might have made off with millions in a lawsuit! Sad…

  3. Last I checked, that was a deadly weapon, just like a gun.

    We need to start fighting for protection in all areas of health care. I too do not understand why we as providers just sit and take it both from the patients but also from administration as well.


  4. Epi-agreed

    Cloaked – He probably would have knowing the county I live in.

    Emily – I agree, until something bad happens to one us nothing will change, unfortunately.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: