A nurse was attacked by a behavioral health patient and former boxer. She finished her shift. Days later, she died of a massive pulmonary embolism.
Following is a transcript of ZDogg’s comments:
Hey, Z-pack. It’s your boy, ZDoggMD. I am getting so, so, so tired, so tired of reading story after story, after story, after story of healthcare workers being attacked, being abused verbally, physically, and emotionally by our system and the patients that we are taking oaths to protect. We’ve talked before about the culture that’s led to this and the fact that we’re treating hospitals as hotels, and the fact that we’re not treating mental illness, and the fact that we have an opioid epidemic, and the fact that increasingly we are managed as commodities, instead of human beings, and it is pushing our resilience to the limit and we’re breaking.
We hear about the nurse, who’s in critical care, after being shot in South Carolina. We hear about EMS workers attacked in the Pacific Northwest, and now the story out of Baton Rouge General Hospital, where a nurse was attacked by a patient on a behavioral health unit. The way we’re piecing this together is from press reports and from private messages that have been sent to me by people who are connected to this case and this person. But it’s still not clear and a lot of this is speculation. But even the overall arch of this repoints out how we are devaluing our frontline healthcare professionals, putting them in harm’s way and expecting our healers to make the ultimate sacrifice in service for their patients, to die in service for their patients.
This nurse — who was very well respected on this unit — was attacked by a patient, sustained a leg injury, and apparently a head injury. Now, there’s conflicting data here. The press says she finished her shift — which everybody agrees that I’ve heard from that she finished the shift that she had — and then went to the emergency department, according to the press, that evening, and was evaluated and sent out. Some have told me that, no, she didn’t go to the emergency department. Some have told me that they made her chart what happened before they let her go to the emergency department. But everybody seems to agree that she heroically finished her shift. Why? Because that’s why we go into this, to help other people. We don’t abandon our colleagues and our patients, even at personal risk.
She was evaluated and sent back. Now, this is where the stories are conflicting. Over the next few days, some have told me that she went in and out of the ER and was sent away because they evaluated her complaints of anxiety, discomfort, and sent her home thinking nothing was wrong. Ultimately — and we don’t know if this is really true — what the press says is in a week she came to the ER, was evaluated, rapidly deteriorated, and died. The autopsy preliminary — and they’re still working on this and it’s hard without all the data — showed [a] blood clot in the right leg apparently and pulmonary embolism. It seems to me, if you’re putting it together, there was a blood clot in the leg and it went to the lungs. Ultimately, it ended her life.
Now people who understand how you end up getting blood clots can understand that there’s Virchow’s triad, and part of the triad is injury to the blood vessels. If this nurse sustained a leg injury, it’s entirely possible that that led to a blood clot. Or even if she wasn’t walking, a state off her feet led to a blood clot, and ultimately the complication of pulmonary embolism and death. Whether or not it was blown off in the ER, whether or not she was evaluated correctly, we don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is we’ve lost one of our front-line health care workers, our colleagues, our tribe to violence, again. Again. And it happens again and again, and again. Our thoughts go out to her family, colleagues, and patients.
Now, people affiliated with her institution and who have messaged me have said that they feel unsafe that their concerns are blown off, that this was sort of destined to happen, and that they don’t think anything good is going to come of it even in the future. This is what we have the #silentnomore for … we cannot shut up about this. When you guys send me these articles, it’s just so exhausting to see how much horrible stuff is going on in the world and how little is being done.
Someone actually said, “Oh, it’s finally showing up in the press that this happened.” Right? Our job, Z-pack, is to never let people forget, to keep making noise, to keep advocating for safer units for better mental health care, for better support for our frontline clinicians, for better security in hospitals, and support for our security staff, who are also suffering with the moral injury of not being able to keep people safe because they don’t have the tools, resources, and the autonomy to do it. We need to put pressure on our legal system and our law enforcement, which is already under their own pressure, to actually prosecute these cases and to take them seriously in a way that really isn’t done because they’re all overwhelmed as well.
We need to take the victim seriously when something happens when we’re caring for them. We don’t blow them off. We don’t make them finish their shift. We don’t make them chart. We take it deadly serious. They are one of our comrades, right?
Here’s the call to action. Share this video. Keep making noise. If you know something about this that I don’t, please message me and let me know because we want to get the story right, because it’s hard for the press and it’s hard for us to get all the information.
But I think we have enough of a thread to understand what’s going on. We need to hold our institutions accountable. We need to hold our patients who we are caring for accountable. We also need to hold ourselves accountable for caring for our fellow colleagues and taking this stuff deadly serious. Whether you’re a nurse manager or a hospital CEO, we’re all in this together and we’re a team, and we should be treated as such, and treat each other as such. If you want a longer discussion about this stuff, join our supporter tribe — the link will be here — because that’s where we talk about this stuff in a completely uncensored and off-the-rails way, which is in fact the most authentic way you can do it. There’s nowhere else that’s happening. Please share this video. Leave your comment, leave your stories, send me messages, and we out.
This post originally appeared on ZDoggMD.