OAKLAND, Calif. — An armed man burst into the emergency room staff of Oakland Children’s Hospital early Friday, pulling out a gun and threatening a staff member before surrendering to police and security officers, authorities said.
Cottrell Broadnax, an Oakland resident, was arrested on suspicion of carjacking, false imprisonment and possessing a firearm as an ex-felon, Oakland police Officer Jeff Thomason said.
Chief Nursing Officer Nancy Shibata told KTVU the incident began at 3:15 a.m. when a man ran into the hospital.
“He just ran into the front door,” she said. “He was disoriented and appeared to be impaired. He ended up pointing a gun at a staff member.”
She said in those early chaotic moments, the staff members tried to remain calm.
“Security called OPD, they quickly responded and the whole incident was over in about eight minutes,” she said. “It was a very quick event. The staff interacted with him. He was impaired and seemed to need help… I’m proud of the way the staff reacted.” [via Madness: Tales of An Emergency Room Nurse]
Now, though we don’t (usually) see guns in Acme Regional’s ED, this incident got me thinking on the multitudinous and manifest ways patients (and their families) behave badly:
- walking through the ambulance doors (when there are multiple signs clearly stating “Do Not Enter” or “Emergency Personnel Only”
- walking through any door which says “Do Not Enter”
- peeking behind curtains to look at other patients
- threatening retribution (“I’m going to report you”}
- wandering though patient care areas and pausing to watch the code blue in Exam 8
- rifling though the charts
- screaming and/or swearing at nurses/physicians/support staff
- going behind the counter of the nurses station without permission
- looking through supplies and/or helping self to same
- visiting with patients unrelated or unknown to them
- eavesdropping on report (yes, patients and/or family members will come up the nurses station during report to “listen in”)
- expecting preferential treatment because of some abstract relationship to the hospital (“I gave a large donation to the Foundation” or “My sister is on the Board of Directors, and I will have your job. . .”)
And this is the short list.
What I don’t get is none of this behaviour would be tolerated at a grocery store or bank, but if you’re at the hospital, it’s somehow A-OK. I mean, can you imagine going behind the teller’s wicket to look through the papers on the credit manager’s desk, or walking through the Employees Only door in the Produce Department and pocketing a few mangos?
They’d call the cops. In the emergency department, we just – – – shoo ’em out of the way. Gently and apologetically. Which is maybe, if we do anything at all. Taking abuse and putting up with shite is such an ingrained part of nursing culture we just add patients to the never-ending list of Those-Who-Crap-Upon-Us. Physicians. Other nurses. Managers. Professional Regulators. And so on, until it adds up to the highest rates of absenteeism of any profession and nurses pulping their licences by the truckload.
Maybe it’s time we stopped. No more crap. From anyone.