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So this just happened:
A nurse caring for a burn patient involved in a car crash in July refused to draw blood on her intubated, sedated patient for a police officer investigating the crash. Per hospital policy agreed upon with the Salt Lake City PD, patients must have a warrant for their arrest, be under arrest, or give consent in order to have blood drawn — this patient had none of the above.
When this nurse, with hospital administration on the phone, refused the blood draw the detective became unhinged. She was dragged out of the hospital and handcuffed for “interfering” in the investigation. U. of Utah and Public Safety officers were present at the time of the incident and did not intervene. After the arrest, the detective wonders aloud to another officer how this event will affect his off-duty job transporting patients for an ambulance company.
“I’ll bring them all the transients and take good patients elsewhere,” he says. The detective continues to be on duty for the police department while an internal investigation is conducted.
Y’all. Wow. I’m at a loss, truly. Healthcare professionals expect abuse from patients and the occasional administrator, but never police. There has long been an understanding between police officers and nurses, one of mutual respect. That’s how I’ve gotten out of ever getting a ticket. I realize this is an isolated incident, but it’s still terrifying to think that I could be arrested by some hothead officer for following hospital policy and advocating for my patient.
What makes it extra scary is the lack of intervention by hospital police. Working in the ED, I interact closely with our public safety officers and feel as though they support me 100 percent. I cannot imagine the guys I work with letting something like this happen, but who knows. I pray I’m never in the position to find out.
Any nurses out there ever experienced anything like this?
Nursing is one of the hardest professions I know of. We are verbally and physically abused by patients and their families; we are expected to provide flawless care with high patient ratios and often times little auxiliary support; we stand up to doctors when they enter incorrect orders or make poor decisions for our patients; we don’t have time to eat, pee, or complete the mountains of CYA charting we are expected to complete. It is a tough road to travel. If you know a nurse, tell them how much you appreciate all that they do to care for our society.