Once again, healthcare workers in danger, this time at an Emergency Department I worked at before I was asked to resign because of patient complaints. I realize a non-patient barricaded in a bathroom has nothing to do with patient complaints. However, that was the same Emergency Department where I was told that the patients were from “the wrong side of the tracks”. The same Emergency Department a patient said, “[he] did not want to be seen by any Jewish or Black doctors, women, or physician assistants” before I took him down after he threatened me. The same Emergency Department…yada yada yada, which, some have said, “is repetitive and redundant”.
Interestingly, the article’s last statement claims, “The emergency room resumed normal operations by 8 a.m. Monday.” Really? Who fabricated that statement? Because for me, it takes hours after a patient complains before I can brush it off and get back to “normal operations”. The night I took down the above-mentioned patient it took me days before I got over it. And a more recent incident, where I was threatened for not writing a school absence note, it took me months before I stopped looking over my shoulder. Months! Not because I didn’t feel threatened any longer but because I no longer had to work there.
It is likely, healthcare administrators will tell the public, “Keep moving. There is nothing going on over here,” suggesting this was an isolated, coincidental and unimportant incident. For the sake of argument, let’s say that is true, it was an isolated, coincidental and unimportant incident, however, it cannot go without noting that that Emergency Department dodged a bullet, or more, last night.
With that said, my comments ARE repetitive and redundant, but this is not about me. Research, by Gates, D. et al, highlighted in the book found “that healthcare workers were more upset about threats than assaults.” Do not allow healthcare administrators to sugarcoat this act of violence and much less that everything was back to normal two hours after the incident. Because healthcare workers will tell you differently, we DO NOT “resume normal operations” after these incidents, EVER, and much less just two hours after they just occurred.
Now a simple question, How does someone, and more so a non-patient, barricade themselves anywhere in the hospital? The public statement from administrators, “Money for security upgrades is not available.” Yet, I would point out that, money to waste on customer satisfaction scores and advertisement to attract customers seems to grow on trees!
How is that possible? Simple! The reason those isolated, coincidental and unimportant, brazen and violent acts continue to happen is not because of a lack of money but because healthcare administrators do not want to give the impression their organization is unsafe, unless it is customers who complain that the organization is unsafe. So for the sake of public image, healthcare administrators are willing to take the risk with idiotology [sic] that leaves hospitals, and Emergency Departments, vulnerable.
I challenge healthcare pundits to research the impact these isolated incidents take on organizations by looking into the turnover of those organizations where violence occurred. How many healthcare workers remain employed there after they “resumed normal operations”?
Now, before critics comment, know I do not have an issue with gun control. For all I care this person could have owned and have barricaded themselves with a 30foot belt-fed .50 caliber machine gun. For those who claim this was an isolated, coincidental and unimportant incident, we lost a nurse a week ago due to violence in healthcare. For those who claim this a mental health problem, ask yourself, “Why don’t these so-called mentally ill perpetrators EVER seek out better secured or guarded targets? Now that would be crazy. Because picking on soft targets, like healthcare, isn’t crazy but instead well thought out.