Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All You Need Is Love

Violence in the emergency department is an unfortunate but common occurrence, especially in the urban setting in which I work.  I've been involved in more than a few scuffles in my time at the Big City ED, but we benefit from having a full-time contingent of security officers in the department.  From reading other ER blogs, I realize that's a resource not available to all.

Nevertheless, we see more than our fair share of violent patients, some dangerously so.  Yesterday's post over at Detroit Receiving EM (a great educational blog - the vast majority is way over my head, but it gives me a ton of topics to read up on) made the excellent point that in no other setting would such behavior be tolerated, yet in the ER it remains a fact of life.

Two points in particular caught my interest.  First, that their ED has metal detectors (ours does not), and second, the recognition that "frontline staff (nurses and PCAs, mostly) receive the brunt" of violent patients.  We had two instances this summer in which staff members were put in danger.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but I remember wondering at the time, if a patient ever threatened the safety of a physician instead of an ER tech, would we have metal detectors in the waiting room?

Obviously, given the nature of the work, the ER will never be violence-free.  Despite that fact, I have always felt very safe at work, especially knowing that everyone in the department looks out for each other.  Still, it's an issue worth thinking about.  [Side note: I wholeheartedly agree with the post that offering a sandwich can help diffuse a tense situation - it's worked for me many times]

No comments: