No Thanks

the emergency roomSometimes, in the emergency room, we have to put patients in physical restraints- for their safety as well as ours.

A patient comes in for a mental health evaluation- the dude is huge. Luckily (for us) he’s got his equally large brother with him to keep things controlled. The patient was in restraints on his trip in the ambulance, so we decide it’s best that we place him straight into restraints when he’s transferred to our gurney.

I’d just completed some training on restraining patients in a safe and professional manner so I took charge and let the rest of the staff know that I would be at the patients head- and would be the only one talking to him while we applied the restraints. Staff tells me that I can go ahead and do that but he’s not gonna respond to what I tell him- he’s been mute since EMS was called.

The point of talking to the patient isn’t really to make conversation, it’s to be professional and keep the patient informed to alleviate some of the stress of the situation. So we go ahead as planned. Limbs are assigned for restraint and I take my place at the head and start talking to our patient.

“Ok sir, we’re placing your left arm in restraints now, we’re doing this for your safety,” and so on. I tell him, “I’m sorry we have to do this, it’s for your safety.”

Out of nowhere, the guy looks up at me “I forgive you,” he says.

“Uhhh…thanks man.”

“You are forgiven.”

I don’t really know how to respond but it’s nice that he’s broken his silence and the things he’s saying are not threatening- so I continue and reply again, “thanks man.”

“I love you…”

Uhhh…I guess that’s a nice thing to say. It’s certainly not a threat which is the only thing I’ve been worried about with this guy- up until this point. I respond again with “thanks man.”

Next thing I know, this guy has his lips pursed and he’s started to sit up and his mouth is making a beeline- straight for my lips.

“No!” is all I can manage to say- as I push this guy back down onto the gurney, one hand on his forehead and the other on his upper chest. The problem is, he’s really strong so I have to really exert some effort in pinning him down- and I’m squeezing his forehead pretty tight.

It takes me a few seconds to compose myself and then I manage to say “I hope I’m not hurting you.” He replies, “you’re not.”

Wow, I was glad when that was all over, I tell the doc- “that dude tried to kiss me!” We had a good laugh about it and got back to work. Such is life in the emergency room. I wish I could say that was the only time that something like that happened…

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