• Salon.com The War Against Nurses by Diana Reiss-Koncar
  • I don’t know where to start. I guess the best thing to do is to start at the beginning. Please bear with me. I had a really bad weekend.

    A patient tried to kill four nurses on our unit last weekend. One of those nurses was me. The patient made a shank out of a metal object that he found on the unit, and used his weapon to break Plexiglas out of a picture frame that was hanging in the hallway. Then he whirled the jagged shards at our heads as we ran behind the nurses station. After that he jumped over the desk and tried stabbing us with the shank. We ran for our lives, and barricaded ourselves behind a locked door. We called for help, but the hospital operator didn’t pick up. I called 911, and the police thought I was joking and made me repeat myself three times before they would send help. We used our unit radio to call security, and they came as fast has they could, but it seemed like hours passed before help arrived onto the unit. There was a huge fight inside of the nurses station before the patient was put into restraints. The patient was charged with first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, and he was hauled off to jail in handcuffs. Then a court commissioner released the patient on his own recognizance 4 hours after he left the unit. The patient was then seen hanging out in the hospital cafeteria the next day, and security told me that they couldn’t throw him out because he “wasn’t doing anything wrong.” I went to the courthouse on Monday morning, and raised hell. The state’s attorney couldn’t believe what happened, and changed the patient’s condition of his release. Now he can’t go into the hospital unless he is being seen in the ER. Needless to say, I’m emotionally spent.

    I’ve written about workplace violence before, and it continues to rear its ugly head on my unit. This stuff isn’t new. Nurses get attacked all of the time, but people don’t hear about it because hospitals have their way of keeping that stuff out of the newspapers. It’s bad for business. My boss told me yesterday that she was sorry that we were attacked, but that we needed to understand that the patient “had issues.” I told her that the patient is a sociopath, and that he can work on his freakin’ issues from inside a jail cell.

    I wonder who this guy is going to kill before the system puts him away for life.

    UPDATE:

    This patient has a long track record of violence, and as we all know, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So guess what….

    THE UNIT DIRECTOR TOLD US THAT THEY ARE THINKING ABOUT TAKING OUR ATTACKER BACK ONTO THE UNIT!

    Trust me, there are going to be consequences if the hospital disregards this court order. When will the bullshit end? By the way, I was contacted by the state’s attorney’s office today. My attacker is going to court on April 24th to be told about the additional conditions of his release. I hope the little SOB flips out in front of the judge. I’ll keep you posted.