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  • Person in custody while in hospital

    A life long friend of mine is a nurse on a pediatric unit at a large hospital. She's been a nurse for over 20 years and is one of the good people in the world that not only believe in doing good things but does them on a daily basis. She told me the other day of an incident involving a patient in police custody in her unit.

    She was the charge nurse one night and started her shift at 11pm (she told me 2300 but I don't talk easily in O-hundred time). Just before her shift started an 18 year old male patient was admitted to the floor. The adolescent unit was closed at the time for lack of patients so this patient was sent to the adjoining pediatric unit (the pediatric unit is used for adolescents until they have a large enough census to open the adolescent unit again).

    During report my friend, Kim, was told that the patient was admitted from the ER and was involved in a vehicle accident. The patient was allegedly drunk and the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash died in the accident. The patient was in the custody of the police. He was handcuffed to the hospital bed and there were two officers in the room with the patient. Kim was told that the patient had not been seen by anyone on the floor yet and that the officers told the admitting nurse on the floor that the patient was not allowed any visitors including his parents. His parents had been to unit already to ask to see him and were waiting in the lobby of the unit.

    Besides being the charge nurse that night Kim needed to assign a patient to herself in order to keep staffing levels normal. She assigned herself the DUI patient because no one else wanted to deal with the situation. It wasn't unusual for 18 and 19 year olds to be admitted to the adolescent unit but Kim was already wishing that he had been admitted to an adult unit. She wondered if he had been admitted to her unit because it was locked down and they could keep his parents further away. Being a pediatric unit they have never had a patient in custody of the police before so Kim thought she should go introduce herself and find out what was going on.

    She arrived at the room (it was a single-bed private room) to find the officers sitting down, talking loudly with all the lights on and the tv on very loud. She admitted that this kind of irritated her before she even entered the room. She walked in and said "My name is Kim X and I'm in charge tonight..." One of the officers interrupted her and said "No, I'm in charge here!" This really took her by surprise and upset her even more. She clarified that she was the charge nurse and that she was in charge of the medical care of the patient. She asked that they turn down the tv, talk quieter and turn down the lights to the normal night setting so that her patient could rest. He was injured. He had suffered moderate injuries and was scheduled to undergo tests in the morning before he would be released from the hospital and into more permanent custody of the police. The officer that told Kim he was in charge responded saying that they would turn down the tv but that the lights would stay on and that if Kim didn't have any medical need to be in the room then she needed to leave. In addition they told her that no one is allowed in unless there is a medical reason for them to be there.

    Kim was tempted to get her paper work and other things she would need and work all night from the computer in the room but decided against it. She had managed to calm down from her initial visit to the room but she said that subsequent visits to the room had been icy. The officers stared at her the whole time and when she tried to ask them questions about how she could properly do some of the cognitive tests that she needed to perform on the patient throughout the night while he was handcuffed to the bed they just told her to deal with it.

    A couple of hours later the two officers assigned to the patient were relieved by two other officers. Kim said that their attitude was completely different. They agreed to turn down the lights and she showed them the lighting control so that they could turn on the light by their chairs and table. They turned off the tv and even told Kim that they could work with her when she needed to perform tests on the patient. The officers said that the patient wasn't going to be allowed to see his parents until after he was arraigned which wasn't going to be until the next day after he had his tests done and was discharged.

    I admit that this story is heavily biased so please keep that in mind when considering my questions. Kim is a dear friend of mine and this story is from her perspective. Please don't beat me up over the perspective of the story. Kim told me the story so it is what it is.

    Kim wanted to know why the officers took such an offensive stand when she came in the room to introduce herself. Any ideas? She also wanted to know if I thought she should have done something differently or if the uneasiness between the officers and her was unavoidable.

    I'm curious if any officers here would have any incite as to why his parents weren't allowed to see him. I realize he was an adult but in a medical situation I think it would be normal for an 18 year old to confer with his parents.

    How could the situation have been handled better?

    Any hospital medical staff on here deal with these types of things? Do you have policies that cover how to handle patients that are in custody of law enforcement?

  • #2
    Keep in mind that I'm not a sworn officer, but here are my initial thoughts.

    He's 18 and an adult. Why should he be allowed to see mommy and daddy? He certainly wouldn't if he were in jail.

    As far as why the officers were jerks.....I think that most here will withhold from condemning their attitude since 1) (as you noted) the story is biased and 2) they weren't there.

    If you think about it, there are several explanations. Perhaps they just didn't want to be there and were annoyed at having to babysit a kid who was stupid enough to drink and drive. Perhaps they were the responding officers and saw the person that this dumb kid had killed and were were understandably miffed at the idea of someone wanting to "comfort" this criminal.

    In all, it was likely that the officers and your friend just saw things from a different perspective and didn't take the time to understand where the other was coming from. It happens.

    Comment


    • #3
      Kim wanted to know why the officers took such an offensive stand when she came in the room to introduce herself. Any ideas? She also wanted to know if I thought she should have done something differently or if the uneasiness between the officers and her was unavoidable.
      Kim has to step back for a minute and understand that the 18 yr old wasn't just a patient, but someone under arrest for causing the death of another. The officers may have felt like Kim was trying to boss them around when it was known they had a homicide suspect in their custody. The officers may have been up all night and also involved in dealing with the family members of the deceased on scene. None of us can tell you or Kim why there may have been some hostility between the officers and the medical staff. We weren't there. As you have already pointed out, Kim's account of what took place is strictly that, HER account. You already know we're not going to berate or second-guess the officers. My only advice is to tell Kim to be in the shoes of the officers and/or family members of the person this butt-head had just killed. They're not going to treat him well. Would they assault him or deny medical treatment? Of course not, but they're certainly not going to baby him either.

      I'm curious if any officers here would have any incite as to why his parents weren't allowed to see him. I realize he was an adult but in a medical situation I think it would be normal for an 18 year old to confer with his parents.
      He's 18 and by the standards of just about every state in the U.S., he's an adult. He's not entitled to see anyone. He is a big boy now and has to put his grown-up pants on now and take responsibility for his actions. You have to realize that he and the blood in his body are now a crime scene. Toxicology results will likely be the deciding factor in his conviction and the officers ARE NOT going to let anyone near their crime scene. I apologize if that sounds cold, but that's life. We are responsible for investigating crimes and preserving evidence. This is especially important involving homicides. He is under arrest. The location of where he is in custody doesn't matter. Should we allow his parents to converse with him in the back of a police car anytime they request it? You should look at it that way.

      Any hospital medical staff on here deal with these types of things? Do you have policies that cover how to handle patients that are in custody of law enforcement?
      I've been an EMT for 10 years and a police officer for just about the same. Although the hospital is responsible for patient treatment, when a patient is in custody, the officer is ultimately responsible for him. We hold the liability also. Our job is to keep the patient in custody until he is discharged and book him in the jail. The hospital's responsibility is medical treatment. That's it. It's rare that law enforcement has any issues with nurses or other hospital staff. We know each other's job functions and I know many officers that date or marry nurses. We tend to have the same personality types and mesh well.

      It just appears that Kim got a little bent out of shape because the officers were rude to her. She's going to have to get over it. Although officers should do what they can to get along and be courteous, it doesn't always happen. She found out that the oncoming guys were different. Maybe they had plenty of sleep and unlike the midnight guys, probably didn't see the death and destruction the turd bag had caused.

      Just food for thought.
      Last edited by SgtScott31; 05-25-2011, 05:35 PM.
      I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JonB View Post
        A life long friend of mine is a nurse on a pediatric unit at a large hospital. She's been a nurse for over 20 years and is one of the good people in the world that not only believe in doing good things but does them on a daily basis. She told me the other day of an incident involving a patient in police custody in her unit.

        She was the charge nurse one night and started her shift at 11pm (she told me 2300 but I don't talk easily in O-hundred time). Just before her shift started an 18 year old male patient was admitted to the floor. The adolescent unit was closed at the time for lack of patients so this patient was sent to the adjoining pediatric unit (the pediatric unit is used for adolescents until they have a large enough census to open the adolescent unit again).

        During report my friend, Kim, was told that the patient was admitted from the ER and was involved in a vehicle accident. The patient was allegedly drunk and the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash died in the accident. The patient was in the custody of the police. He was handcuffed to the hospital bed and there were two officers in the room with the patient. Kim was told that the patient had not been seen by anyone on the floor yet and that the officers told the admitting nurse on the floor that the patient was not allowed any visitors including his parents. His parents had been to unit already to ask to see him and were waiting in the lobby of the unit.

        Besides being the charge nurse that night Kim needed to assign a patient to herself in order to keep staffing levels normal. She assigned herself the DUI patient because no one else wanted to deal with the situation. It wasn't unusual for 18 and 19 year olds to be admitted to the adolescent unit but Kim was already wishing that he had been admitted to an adult unit. She wondered if he had been admitted to her unit because it was locked down and they could keep his parents further away. Being a pediatric unit they have never had a patient in custody of the police before so Kim thought she should go introduce herself and find out what was going on.

        She arrived at the room (it was a single-bed private room) to find the officers sitting down, talking loudly with all the lights on and the tv on very loud. She admitted that this kind of irritated her before she even entered the room. She walked in and said "My name is Kim X and I'm in charge tonight..." One of the officers interrupted her and said "No, I'm in charge here!" This really took her by surprise and upset her even more. She clarified that she was the charge nurse and that she was in charge of the medical care of the patient. She asked that they turn down the tv, talk quieter and turn down the lights to the normal night setting so that her patient could rest. He was injured. He had suffered moderate injuries and was scheduled to undergo tests in the morning before he would be released from the hospital and into more permanent custody of the police. The officer that told Kim he was in charge responded saying that they would turn down the tv but that the lights would stay on and that if Kim didn't have any medical need to be in the room then she needed to leave. In addition they told her that no one is allowed in unless there is a medical reason for them to be there.

        Kim was tempted to get her paper work and other things she would need and work all night from the computer in the room but decided against it. She had managed to calm down from her initial visit to the room but she said that subsequent visits to the room had been icy. The officers stared at her the whole time and when she tried to ask them questions about how she could properly do some of the cognitive tests that she needed to perform on the patient throughout the night while he was handcuffed to the bed they just told her to deal with it.

        A couple of hours later the two officers assigned to the patient were relieved by two other officers. Kim said that their attitude was completely different. They agreed to turn down the lights and she showed them the lighting control so that they could turn on the light by their chairs and table. They turned off the tv and even told Kim that they could work with her when she needed to perform tests on the patient. The officers said that the patient wasn't going to be allowed to see his parents until after he was arraigned which wasn't going to be until the next day after he had his tests done and was discharged.

        I admit that this story is heavily biased so please keep that in mind when considering my questions. Kim is a dear friend of mine and this story is from her perspective. Please don't beat me up over the perspective of the story. Kim told me the story so it is what it is.

        Kim wanted to know why the officers took such an offensive stand when she came in the room to introduce herself. Any ideas? She also wanted to know if I thought she should have done something differently or if the uneasiness between the officers and her was unavoidable.

        I'm curious if any officers here would have any incite as to why his parents weren't allowed to see him. I realize he was an adult but in a medical situation I think it would be normal for an 18 year old to confer with his parents.

        How could the situation have been handled better?

        Any hospital medical staff on here deal with these types of things? Do you have policies that cover how to handle patients that are in custody of law enforcement?
        I don't know why the interaction between the officers and your friend happened the way it did. However, one thing to keep in mind, not just in Law Enforcement/Nursing contacts, but in everything that we as humans do, including coffee runs, personalities clash.

        I don't know if this was one of those personality issues but it could very well have been. One person may not have realized the the others point of view or what not and things didn't fix themselves automatically, hence the personality clash. Sorry my reply is not something you can take to your friend and then market as an instant problem fixer-thingy. If it was that easy, I'd be basking in the sun on the beaches of Cali lounging, not roasting in the desert of AZ working lol. Anyway, hope that maybe helps out a little bit.

        Comment


        • #5
          Over the years I have had mixed results while dealing with hospitalized prisoners.

          #1 Nurses are in the "helping professions"
          #2 Police are in the business of catching crooks. & in this case making sure the crook remains under custody.

          Those professions often have cross purposes

          Rather than take the post bit by bit, Lets just say that it was the job of the officers to enforce whatever policy their department/district attorney decides. Some officers have had bad experiences while watching prisoners in a hospital setting and their attitudes could have been influenced by prior situations.

          As far as the parents.................................most jails have strict visitation polices. The patient was a prisoner and subject to those rules/regulations.

          Your friend is used to dealing with kids in a hospital setting. Kids are treated differently than adults.



          I have several times pulled a prisoner out of a hospital-------or had them transferred to a different area after having "difficulties" with nursing staff......................That is not saying it was always the nursing staff's fault, just saying difficulties.


          Originally posted by SgtScott31 View Post
          It's rare that law enforcement has any issues with nurses or other hospital staff. We know each other's job functions and I know many officers that date or marry nurses. We tend to have the same personality types and mesh well. .
          I agree with most of your post except this part...................................

          CORRECTIONS (or any cop watching a prisoner on a nursing floor/ward) is totally different than the police/nurse relationship in the ER setting.

          Once the inmate gets in a regular unit, the nurses are different. It's hard to explain but believe me I have been there in both LE and Corrections -----in the ER and on the floor (in both LE and Corrections) and it is totally different worlds 99% of the time.

          In the ER our purposes mesh...............on the unit many times our duties clash.

          Oh yea, I dated a nurse when I was a cop too........
          Last edited by Iowa #1603; 05-25-2011, 05:52 PM.
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe your friend doesn't like cops.

            Maybe your friend is a bleeding heart *******.

            Maybe you friend needs to review patient privacy rules.
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            • #7
              Seems to me Nurse Kim had her opportunity to get her questions answered at the time she spoke to the Officers. Now she has disclosed her story to you and you come here looking for answers

              We weren't there and neither were you.

              Your question "how could this situation been handled better" infers that it wasn't handled well. I DO NOT agree.
              "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


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              • #8
                I agree with most of your post except this part...................................

                CORRECTIONS (or any cop watching a prisoner on a nursing floor/ward) is totally different than the police/nurse relationship in the ER setting.

                Once the inmate gets in a regular unit, the nurses are different. It's hard to explain but believe me I have been there in both LE and Corrections -----in the ER and on the floor (in both LE and Corrections) and it is totally different worlds 99% of the time.

                In the ER our purposes mesh...............on the unit many times our duties clash.
                Maybe it's demographic. I have yet to bump heads with any ER staff as a LEO. Have some been "not so friendly?" Sure, but not trying to step on my toes.
                I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SgtScott31 View Post
                  Maybe it's demographic. I have yet to bump heads with any ER staff as a LEO. Have some been "not so friendly?" Sure, but not trying to step on my toes.
                  No, I am trying to say that ER staff is usually GREAT.......................Nursing unit/Nursing floor staff & cops many times have problems
                  Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                    No, I am trying to say that ER staff is usually GREAT.......................Nursing unit/Nursing floor staff & cops many times have problems
                    Ohhhh...yea..I haven't been outside the ER.
                    I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think the concept that Kim and I were missing is that it seems "in custody" and "in jail" are really the same thing. The hospital room became an extension of the jail cell. You guys are probably used to that concept, but it didn't occur to me until I started reading your responses.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have done probably 50 or 60 hospital watches and the only time I have ever had issues was when the nurse came in acting like they are better that we are or otherwise superior. Charge nurses are by far the worst. In fact, one specific charge nurse was forbidden by our facility from coming into a room with one of our inmates for any reason except lifesaving measures. She had a habit of calling out LT to complain if one of our officers did even the slightest thing wrong. So in summary she probably started off on the wrong foot and the officers didn't feel she was being professional.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Interpersonal communications skills go both ways. Just for arguments sake, let's assume the first two cops were in fact crass and rude. Okay, you think that with Nurse Kim going in and right away saying "I'm in charge here" is a productive method to reach a consensus? Didn't work for Al Haig either.

                          Maybe the first cops were not in a very condescending mood after scraping the prisoner's victim off the roadway earlier. Who knows?

                          Nurses are like LEOs. They have to know how to deal with rude people and de-escalate a potential confrontation. Sounds instead like it turned into a battle of who's in charge. Quite frankly, the cops were in charge of the prisoner patient. Nurse Kim in charge of the ward and level of medical care. That's beside the point. Getting into a pssg contest over the matter solves nothing.

                          All the above is of course assuming Kim's version of events is accurate. My .02
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                          • #14
                            I won't answer the other things because I haven't been there...but I will answer this part:

                            The officers stared at her the whole time and when she tried to ask them questions about how she could properly do some of the cognitive tests that she needed to perform on the patient throughout the night while he was handcuffed to the bed they just told her to deal with it.
                            We had an officer involved shooting 2 years ago while I was working when a prisoner slipped out of his handcuffs, ran, and grabbed a 'weapon' from another room. The deputy ended up having to shoot and kill him when the prisoner charged at him with the 'weapon.' You'd be surprised how readily available things are in a hospital that a person can use to injure or kill someone, and all it takes is a few moments for that person to get away. As for her opinion about providing care being too hard because he has handcuffs on? I agree - too bad - deal with it - he just killed someone because he was too stupid to NOT drink and drive. I personally think it was a complete waste of taxpayer's money to get him ANY medical care...should have let him rot on the side of the road...
                            Originally posted by RSGSRT
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                              Over the years I have had mixed results while dealing with hospitalized prisoners.

                              #1 Nurses are in the "helping professions"
                              #2 Police are in the business of catching crooks. & in this case making sure the crook remains under custody.

                              Those professions often have cross purposes

                              Rather than take the post bit by bit, Lets just say that it was the job of the officers to enforce whatever policy their department/district attorney decides. Some officers have had bad experiences while watching prisoners in a hospital setting and their attitudes could have been influenced by prior situations.

                              As far as the parents.................................most jails have strict visitation polices. The patient was a prisoner and subject to those rules/regulations.

                              Your friend is used to dealing with kids in a hospital setting. Kids are treated differently than adults.



                              I have several times pulled a prisoner out of a hospital-------or had them transferred to a different area after having "difficulties" with nursing staff......................That is not saying it was always the nursing staff's fault, just saying difficulties.




                              I agree with most of your post except this part...................................

                              CORRECTIONS (or any cop watching a prisoner on a nursing floor/ward) is totally different than the police/nurse relationship in the ER setting.

                              Once the inmate gets in a regular unit, the nurses are different. It's hard to explain but believe me I have been there in both LE and Corrections -----in the ER and on the floor (in both LE and Corrections) and it is totally different worlds 99% of the time.

                              In the ER our purposes mesh...............on the unit many times our duties clash.

                              Oh yea, I dated a nurse when I was a cop too........
                              Thanks Iowa, I think your response connected with me best. I was thinking that the DUI guy was a patient in the hospital first and secondarily was in custody of the police. However, what I think I understand now is that legally he is in custody first and has lost his privileges as a free man by driving drunk and killing someone but is still allowed reasonable medical treatment. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it right but it makes much more sense in my head now.

                              Originally posted by zeplin View Post
                              Maybe your friend doesn't like cops.

                              Maybe your friend is a bleeding heart *******.

                              Maybe you friend needs to review patient privacy rules.
                              I don't think she's had a lot of contact with police but since she got along with the second pair of officers ok I don't think she has a problem with all police.

                              I am fairly certain that she is a liberal but I don't know for certain. I don't know her in a physically intimate way so I haven't been able to check for horns. I'll update you though if I find out more information on this.

                              I think Kim is all up to date on all the Hippa regulations. I'm pretty sure she follows them.

                              Originally posted by RoadKingTrooper View Post
                              Seems to me Nurse Kim had her opportunity to get her questions answered at the time she spoke to the Officers. Now she has disclosed her story to you and you come here looking for answers

                              We weren't there and neither were you.

                              Your question "how could this situation been handled better" infers that it wasn't handled well. I DO NOT agree.
                              Kim and I saw each other in person recently for the first time in about 5 years (she lives in another state and we keep in touch via e-mail, etc.) and this story just came up in conversation when I told her about a classmate of ours that recently was killed in a DUI accident. The aspects of the interaction in her story interested me and I thought I'd share in case anyone here might have some better incite about it.

                              I think that if someone leaves a situation feeling bad about the encounter then there is always room for improvement. Kim walked into the room as if she were treating any other patient. I think she thought that was the professional way to handle an unusual situation. I think if she had entered the room with a more open attitude she would have been treated differently. I think the first thing she should have probably told them was that she had never treated a patient who is currently under arrest and handcuffed to the bed.

                              Originally posted by KJB View Post
                              I have done probably 50 or 60 hospital watches and the only time I have ever had issues was when the nurse came in acting like they are better that we are or otherwise superior. Charge nurses are by far the worst. In fact, one specific charge nurse was forbidden by our facility from coming into a room with one of our inmates for any reason except lifesaving measures. She had a habit of calling out LT to complain if one of our officers did even the slightest thing wrong. So in summary she probably started off on the wrong foot and the officers didn't feel she was being professional.
                              I think your last sentence nails it. I think she thought she was being professional but failed. I think the officers immediately taking charge in the room threw her off guard. She's used to being in charge in the hospital room. The officers are going to be in charge of a man in custody and their evidence of the crime. I would imagine that ER nurses learn this quickly. A nurse in a pediatric unit *hopefully* does not get enough practice at this to be comfortable with it!

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