Wow. I just watched the video about the nurse getting arrested in Utah. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty disturbing. There’s a 20-minute version that in my opinion doesn’t make the police look any better. One thing that disturbed me was the overall attitude that the police were either going to get what they wanted or arrest this nurse for obstruction. Now I’m not an attorney or a cop, but I am a fairly reasonable human being. I’m someone who tries, not always successfully, to build consensus and collaborate. Even if the police have a legal right to the blood draw, which it seems they do not, but if they did, how does arresting someone who is following a legitimate policy reasonable? I could understand if its 1930’s Germany and the policy is mass murder, then it would be a different story. But the patient wasn’t a criminal, he wasn’t under arrest, the evidence they were attempting to collect doesn’t appear to have any value beyond exonerating an already innocent person. What if the guy was conscious and he refused? What if he was in the OR in surgery? Why escalate the situation when there’s no pressing need?
I’ve worked in healthcare for 15+ years, I’ve worked on ambulances and in hospitals and I’ve never experienced anything like this. Part of what is so shocking is police and nurses tend to have a pretty good working relationship. Many nurses I know are married to cops. They all see the same garbage and work together for the benefit of their community. But in this age, where neo-Nazis are protesting bullshit and being educated or “PC” is being elite or a snowflake, rises this bullying attitude. It needs to stop. Where are the cardinal points of our moral compass? In the full 20-minute version one of the officers keeps yelling “Payne!” (the name of the officer who arrested the nurse) while a second officer pats “Payne” on the shoulder in what seems like an attempt to de-escalate the situation. They both seem to appreciate this action is out of hand and try to calm things down. Obviously, this is my commentary on what I saw, maybe they were just encouraging him…. Did the police have the legal authority to arrest this nurse? Maybe. But should they have? I appreciate police have a difficult job, but sometimes we need to self-reflect and examine what we ourselves could do to help the situation.
I’m not saying I’m above this either. A recent case I had illustrates this point pretty well. I responded to a woman who, on initial exam, I suspected could’ve been assaulted. It was 3 in the morning, some guy kept yelling she’d tripped, alcohol was definitely in the mix and cocaine was highly suspected, so I wasn’t sure what the hell was going on but I hadn’t ruled anything out. Police were not on scene. My partner and I moved her to the ambulance and tried to secure the scene as best we could. The woman’s “boyfriend” tried to enter the patient compartment of the ambulance as I was trying to ascertain what happened to her. He kept saying he had the right to be back there and my partner professionally and calmly told him to wait outside. As we closed the doors to the patient compartment the boyfriend jumped in the front passenger seat and I lost my shit. Talk about escalation. I went from 0-60 in no time. Things never became physical but I definitely could’ve handled it better. I was definitely not collaborative or building consensus in that moment. I was concerned for the welfare of my crew and my patient. But was yelling at someone who was drunk and high to “get the f$%k out my ambulance!” a good idea? Nope. Even if they weren’t drunk or high, it’s unprofessional. Did it de-escalate the situation and help the patient, not really. Look, we all make mistakes, we believe something is true when it isn’t; it’s okay to say we were wrong, make a course correction and move forward. We’re at a point now, as individuals in a society, where I feel like we all need to step back and ask ourselves “what am I contributing to this mess and how can I be better?” Until then, I’m afraid nothing will ever improve.