Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pressing Charges

A nurse that I work with was approached by a state delegate not to long ago. The delegate was proposing a change to the state law that would make assault on an emergency healthcare worker (nurse, physician, tech etc) a felony with a mandatory minimum of 6 months in jail. The current law makes it a misdemeanor with no required jail time (it is up to the judge's discretion). Unfortunately, I'm gonna have to throw the bullshit flag on that one. Not sure what makes it different being IN the hospital versus being out on the street.

For example, I had an extremely drunk white chick break out of the heavy duty restraints, run out of the department into the snow (FYI: chasing a patient through snow and ice in Danskos with bootie covers... not fun!), and and then hit me, the police and other staff with fists, bags and everything she had to get away. All the while she was threatening to "give you all hepatitis!" I finally got pissed.... being drunk is not an excuse. I decided to press charges. She was charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

I have never pressed charges on a patient before. To be honest, its a scary thing. The cop will go to court with me, of course. The University police back me 100% and it doesn't hurt that this chick has a laundry list of a criminal history. I hope she gets jail time.


OpenID lostonthefloor said...

Strong work! There is nothing that says that us health care workers have to endure this kind of abuse. It's about time that legislators are stepping up to correct this oversight. What does it matter that you're inside the hospital or out on the street: assault is assault.
Granted I give the confused demented LOL/LOMs an excuse!

2:46 PM  
Blogger mojitogirl said...

Bully for you!! If more healthcare workers put their foot down and said "NO MORE" I'm sure HCW assaults would be taken more seriously. I know that the administrators usually try to convince you not to press charges and call attention to the hospital. I say put it on the local news and let the community know what's going on!

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Nurse Stella said...

Years ago I worked on a psych unit. Many of us were physically assaulted by patients acting out. With the rare exemption of the demented, we were encouraged by the staff psychiatrists to press charges. They even testified that the patients, regardless of their diagnosis, knew right from wrong.
There is no reason not to file charges!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Angry Nurse said...

Good luck, hope you have more luck than I did under when I tried to do the same.

You can see my story under my Feb 23, 2009 post.

3:22 AM  

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