Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thank You SPFPA

I took his blood pressure when he first arrived in the ED.  His upper arm muscles were so large I had to take it on his forearm.  I was a tech and I was assigned to be the "sitter", watching the psych patients. I don't remember what brought him in but he was placed in our seclusion room, a locked room with a door that had a window.  I sat at a nearby desk and watched him on a TV to make sure he was safe.

At one point during the shift he came to the window and called me.  I leaned toward  the window  to hear and he told me that he was going to hang himself.
I called his nurse and she felt like he was being manipulative so she asked him to lay on the stretcher while we waited for the  psych clinician.  He returned to the stretcher and settled down.  He was laying on his side with his back to the camera for some time.  I thought he had fallen asleep.
Suddenly he jumped up, walked to the far side of the stretcher and disappeared from view. I went to the door and only then did I realize what he had done.  He had taken a sheet and tied it to the stretcher rail, slipped it over his neck, and laid himself to the floor.


I called loudly for help, threw open the door, rushed to his side and struggled to get the sheet off his neck.
The next thing I knew he was standing with his huge arms wrapped around my neck in a choke hold.
Security was there in an instant and pulled him off of me.  I have a vague recollection of what happened next.  I was not injured, he was safe in security's hands.  I think I was taken to the break room and given coffee and rest time, but I'm not even sure.

What would have happened if security had not been there so quickly?  I cannot know if he would have really hurt me.  I know for sure, he had the power to.
Security was there for me that day, as they always have been for me and countless coworkers.
The hospital can be a dangerous place at times, people are under stress and are not always rational.  Our security force is ready, and I am so glad for that.  They do not get the thanks they deserve.

To the officers of the Backus Hospital security force and their support staff, to the telephone operators who keep the vital lines of communications open, to the shuttle bus drivers who get us safely to and from the hospital, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

To the members of the Backus local of the International Union, Security and Fire Professionals of America a heartfelt thanks, for keeping us safe and for leading the way.
You stand up for us each and every day, we will stand with you.

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