Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Green Acres We Are There!

As I bet some of you have already noticed, this “going to work” thing can really interfere with your life, not to mention your blogging.

Things are Green Acres have not changed much. Today was particularly hectic and unpleasant, as I had to cover for a colleague who was out all day in court, defending himself from a (spurious, in my opinion) lawsuit. So, all of his patients were distressed and acting up, and/or taking advantage of the opportunity of a “substitute teacher”. One of these had already sent three staff people (totaling about four times her body weight and eight times her age) to the emergency room by the time I got in. Later there was throwing of chairs, biting, and other unpleasantness. Meanwhile two of colleague’s patients, who had agreed to stay in the hospital voluntarily, demanded to leave. Policy dictates that I have to see these people within 60 minutes and decide what to do. When you have two such people at once, and it’s going to take at least 45 minutes to figure out each one’s situation and come to a decision, you have a problem..

Meanwhile, another of colleague’s patients reported to staff that he had tied a belt around his neck earlier in the day. People got concerned, because he has privileges to go outside unsupervised eight times a day, 15 minutes at a time (euphemistically called “free time”, but really used almost exclusively for smoking.) He freely stated that he is suicidal and planning to kill himself. Common sense dictates that a person with such a mindset, and who is actively tying belts around his neck, should not be roaming around outside alone. But, according to the patient, outside is the ONLY place he is safe, because smoking is a calming activity. In fact, he warned me, if I took away his extra smoke breaks, it would worsen his suicidality, and he would be dead before colleague returned (and, implied, it would be my fault).

Not knowing the guy from a tangerine, I really didn’t know what to do, but decided to restrict him to the unit tonight. Hope this doesn’t come back to me as a lawsuit.


Blogger Katinka said...

And I thought I had a tough job!
How do you do this and maintain such a sane outlook?

(I hope they at least give you free bandages and tetanus shots for the bite wounds and lacerations?!!)

4/13/06, 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Adrift At Sea said...

Unfortunately, Americans are too litigious. If the courts were reformed and forced the losing party and their attorney to pay the court costs and legal fees of the winning party, then a lot of the frivilous lawsuits would disappear.

4/13/06, 8:35 AM  
Anonymous girltuesday said...

what is this, a second draft?

4/13/06, 9:58 AM  
Blogger star firstbaseman said...

Sounds like the only thing you could have done...

4/13/06, 11:53 AM  

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