Sunday, August 16, 2009


Yesterday we had a great teaching conference: how to protect yourself when attacked by the out-of-control/psychotic patient. For example, what is the correct reaction when a patient bites you and won't let go? Or when you are grabbed by the hair? (My answer to that one: "I'd just walk away.") There's a reason many ED docs don't wear their stethoscopes hanging around their necks....



At August 17, 2009 at 5:08 AM , Blogger michaelg said...

What is the correct answer to the biting question? I'm thinking I would hold up a bucket of KFC and see if they are hungry enough to take a bit of chicken rather than me.

At August 17, 2009 at 3:35 PM , Blogger suzieQ said...

According to Lisa E. (child psych nurse) the correct manuever is to apply pressure back towards the patient's mouth and frequently they will let go. The thing not to do is to try to pull away, which, as pictures of her recently bitten arm prove, will cause more damage. She had some help in the form of well meaning coworkers trying to pull the child off of her while she was trying to apply appropriate pressure. Sounds like:1) a bit of a tug of war
2) a job for which I'm sure she is not compensated nearly enough.

At August 17, 2009 at 6:02 PM , Blogger kirelimel said...

I always found that making a very loud "arrrrrrrrrr" sound while leaning towards their face while applying pressure to the roof of their mouth works best. Group homes give you great life skills.

At August 19, 2009 at 7:35 PM , Blogger Madame Leiderhosen said...

As someone who is really not above biting to get their way, offer a palate cleansing aperitif before the main course.

Head-butting works, sweeping their feet from under them or rushing the little bastard back into a wall has all worked for me, but someone often ends up in the ER, which in your case will be a very short mozy. I'll second the growling

- I actually really like biting. -

At August 19, 2009 at 9:54 PM , Blogger Tom said...

Yeah, that hair pulling thing should not be much of a problem for you.

At October 3, 2009 at 6:38 AM , Anonymous Kate said...

Yes, I burst out laughing when i read your "just walk away" response to hair-pulling. My son, now 4 and a half, asked why i was laughing. I said, "well, I have this friend Ben, and Ben has NO HAIR..." and he wanted to see a picture of that (thank you, facebook!), and then he burst out laughing, without even hearing the punch line... gotta love 4-year-old humor.
as for suzieQ, i'm told that the same advice holds if you are breastfeeding a biter.


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