Jump to content
medicgirl05

What would you do?

Recommended Posts

You are dispatched to a suicidal patient where deputies are already on scene. You and your partner arrive and are assured the scene is safe. You enter the house of a late 50's male who is seated on his living room floor surrounded by empty beer cans, he is obviously intoxicated. He tells you he is OK, he wants to get drunk and shoot himself with his 357 which is secured by a trooper who is already on scene. Patient isn't exactly thrilled by the presence of any of us but agrees to let us check his vitals. Everything is normal. Blood sugar included. Patient has no medical complaints. Officers advise the patient that he is going to the ER, either in the ambulance or in the patrol car, patient's choice. As patient is "deciding" he makes several inappropriate sexual comments to me. He asks if a fellow medic(not on scene) has ever tried to get my panties off, this was asked in the presence of two deputies, a trooper, and an investigator; none of which said anything to him. I told the patient he was not going to talk like that to me. He then asked if I'd like to have sex with him, again the deputies remained quiet as I told him he was inappropriate. The patient finally consented to a ride to the hospital, a deputy rode along in the back. On the trip I was asked another time if I'd like to have sex with him with no remark from the deputy. I advised the patient that I was not going to tolerate this behaviour from him. So we take him to the ER without further incident.

The call is now over, we are back at the station all snug in our beds and a deputy calls and tells me she needs me to file charges on the patient. If charges aren't filed they have nothing to hold the patient on and they are afraid he will go home and kill himself. Now I have had many drunks come onto me, some much worse than this one. I have never been asked to file charges on anyone before, and the deputies who witnessed the mans behaviour didn't seem to think it was inappropriate at the time that it was happening. I know nothing about law enforcement or filing charges. I am curious what others would do in a similar situation. I felt like I was put in a really tough spot.

If there is something I left out please inquire. I am really curious what y'all think the "right" thing to do is?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say nobody has the right to make you file charges if you don't wish to. It's a legal matter and not just as simple as filing a report.

If the Doctors truly believe that he is a threat to himself they can hold him without the police having to file harassment charges against him. They would put him on a psych hold.

Don't be emotionally manipulated into doing something you don't wish to do, especially when there can be significant ramifications from those actions. The Deputy may think they are acting in the patient's best interests but this is not the appropriate way to go about it and she had no right to ask such a thing of you.

Just my 2c worth!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fully agree with Aussieaid. Freely attempting to commit suicide should be a sure way to a psychiatric hospital where he would be taken care of, so you're not responsible if he gets out and does it anyway.

Accusing him on the sexual comments would be something a lawyer could easily tear apart, considering the intoxication. You dealt perfectly with that anyway, clearly stating that it's inappropriate and otherwise ignoring the stuff. Another drunkard, another idiot with no sense for respect. Maybe with real other problems, but that is no excuse for beeing respectless and an idiot. He should get help, but you did your job with taking him to the ER. You're not responsible for him anymore.

It's absolutely your own decision what you do now!

But having in mind that it's usual for EMS folks to get some inappropriate comments, despite that getting the job done anyway and forgetting the stuff soon plus the probability to realizing exactly zero with filing charges but increasing work for you and statistics for the police: I would do nothing on it. Again, it's your decision (and not that of the deputy), don't let you talk into something you don't want.

It would be a totally other thing if something "real" happened, if you needed treatment afterwards: i.e. if you were physically hurt, but this even includes psychological help. Then you should file charges, at least for beeing juristically on the safe side. But I don't see that here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let it go... if they are not willing to back you up it doesn't matter. Besides he was drunk and acting a fool, he did not mean it. It may be best to take the high road on this one. Thank goodness he went with you and not them or he may be dead due to od.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are first and foremost a patient advocate, right?

Let the cops make their own cases. I think that the LEOs have one of the hardest jobs on the planet...but that doesn't trump your job...

He was inappropriate verbally...well, that's EMS. In no way does the LEO need you to press sexual charges so as to keep this guy from killing himself. The threat is enough.

Do what you think is best for the patient. That is your moral and ethical obligation. Period.

Dwayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with all of the above. His open statement that he wanted to shoot himself is all they need to hold him for a psych eval. Harrassment charges?? seriously? The threat of harm to himself trumps that. I really dont think that harrassment charges would stick anyway because he is intoxicated and not in his right mind. It's like getting assaulted by a postdictal patient or a patient with dementia that hits or scratches...file charges? I dont think so, they have zero idea of what they are doing at that very moment. Here in NY, all the LEO's need is to witness a statement of suicide to file the paperwork for a 72 hours psych hold, and thats a mandatory 72 hours. It's called a 2pc, involuntary hold for psych eval. All they need is that paperwork and 2 doc's signatures, which they usually have no problem getting.

You handled it correctly. Telling him that verbal comments such as those would not be tolerated was appropriate. There is no further need for you to do anything. Law enforcement has all they need to hold him. Let them make thier case without you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They didn't intend for the charges to stick. They wanted to be able to keep him overnight to let him sleep it off. The deputy accompanied us to the ER and we had to wait on scene for an "emergency comittal" form. I later found out that the form had not been signed by a judge so it was not exactly helpful. They told me they could not find a judge, we have 3 so that is rather hard to believe as it was the middle of the day.

Thanks for your input. This is something that has really been bugging me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm not understanding why they didn't just mental health him. But that's the difference between TX and NY I guess.

Edited to correct autocorrect geesh

Edited by nypamedic43

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are first and foremost a patient advocate, right?

At what point does the responsibility to the patient end and the responsibility to self begin?

He was inappropriate verbally...well, that's EMS.

Dwayne, amigo, I have to tell you that I am kinda freaked out about what I am fixing to write because you are probably gonna hand me my butt. :whistle:

I am calling BS on this statement. Just because a woman decides to work in EMS does not mean that the laws and rules that regulate our society are suspended because the offender is a patient. Nor does being intoxicated of sick suspend a patient’s responsibility to civility.

We put up with a lot of crap and bad behavior because we choose to do so. It is not our obligation to do so.

The right to act or not to act, legally or otherwise, when assaulted, wither it be verbal or otherwise, is a personal choice but not an obligation that comes with the job. It will not suffice for me to simply say well that is EMS. I would think not.

I am surprised none of the ladies have pointed this out.

Edited by DFIB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They didn't intend for the charges to stick. They wanted to be able to keep him overnight to let him sleep it off. The deputy accompanied us to the ER and we had to wait on scene for an "emergency comittal" form. I later found out that the form had not been signed by a judge so it was not exactly helpful. They told me they could not find a judge, we have 3 so that is rather hard to believe as it was the middle of the day.

Thanks for your input. This is something that has really been bugging me.

The hospital can keep him with good reason.

Pressing charges should be your personal decision based on how you perceive his aggression. Once you transfer care it is the hospitals responsibility to watch after the patients care (I am sure you know this). If the cops screwed up the paperwork that is not your responsibility either, it is theirs. What would be your responsibility is pressing charges against your psych patient that may or may not want to take revenge at a later date.

I think the cops were pretty chickensh!t for standing by while you were verbally assaulted and then asking you to press charges at their convenience. That is BS and you should feel no guilt for refusing to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...