Nothing’s scarier in a psychiatric hospital than seeing a patient who was brought in by police officers with his hands handcuffed behind his back. My hospital has a separate psychiatric emergency department that is located away from the rest of the hospital. For whatever reason, please officers often arrest violent individuals and then bring them in for us to deal with. Usually, I’m pretty confident interviewing one of our attempted murderer guests when they’ve been drugged up on Ativan and tied to a bed. Last week police officers Baker Acted a 250-pound antisocial gentleman who was stopping Hispanics and violently demanding that they show him their papers. The officers brought the man to the psychiatric hospital, took off the handcuffs, and left him alone to be interviewed by me.
I went through the regular interview and noticed that the patient was becoming more and more agitated. In these situations, we are supposed to immediately end the interview and leave the room. When I was trying to walk out on this particular patient, he decided to charge after me. I quickly tried to close the door lock the patient in this room, be forced the door opened before I could get my key into the slot. He tried to take one swing at me, but by that time a police officer who just happened to be walking through the hall pulled out his Taser and yelled, “If you take one more step forward I’m going to shoot you!” The patient backed down, the nurses restrained him, and we gave him a nice shot of Haldol and Ativan to chemically control him.
I had hoped that the hospital had learned a lesson about restraining patients before interviewing them. You can imagine my surprise then, when my last patient of the day produced as his only form of identification a card that read “Corrections Inmate.”