Self-Pit: Quasi "Loses It" At Work

For some reason, our ER has become “OD Central” lately. It has become the rule rather than the exception to get at least 2 OD’s or suicidal ideations a night here. (I work 7p-7a).

Last week was a real bear: Patient came in, drunken stupor/Tylenol PM OD, had slit both wrists (laterally, not diagonally) with her three year old looking on. Turns out she was bi-polar and was off her meds. Okay, fine. We put a tube down her trachea, hooked her up to a ventilator and she was eventually transferred to another facility. I remember thinking, “that will imprint on her little one!”


During that episode, the EMT’s bring in another OD. This one was alcohol poisoning. And she was a handful: screaming, belligerent and combative. The doc orders an ECG on her.

Here I need to explain that I am the only respiratory therapist on duty after 7 pm, and I not only handle the ER, but ICU, Med-Surg and Rehab.

I go into the room, (still thinking about the other case) and calmly explain that I need to do the ECG, whereupon she shrieks at me that she doesn’t want an ECG, she doesn’t want anything, and she has a choice, dammit!

That was the straw. I yelled back at her that I too had a choice. I could choose whether I cared enough about her to treat her and help her, but that it was hard for me to care about someone when they cared so little about themselves, and I walked out.

The ECG got done by one of the ER nurses and I got “written up” for losing my temper.

This has never happened to me before, and I am better than this. I do care about my patients and want to help them feel better. It just got to me this time.


That must have been hard. :frowning: comfort

Maybe try gritting your teeth, and getting people to restrain the person next time, so you can help them “in spite” of themselves? Do it “for their own good” with the hope that later they will realize that it was good for them, and helped them, and maybe even be grateful for a nanosecond?

Good Luck, whatever you try to work through this…

I almost never lose my temper, so I’m completely unqualified to offer suggestions. But whenever I felt myself getting angry, I’ve walked away. I seem to remember yelling once or twice. (You know; go someplace alone and go “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!”) Then I collect my thoughts and tell myself I have a job to do. Then I do the job. (Of course, whether or not I got a program written, or whether or not I could explain to someone why something could not be done or had to be done a certain way, doesn’t involve a life.)

I have nothing against recreational drug use (although I don’t use drugs myself), but I’ve seen how destructive they can be. I know that nothing I can say can “cure” a person of abusing them. That would be too frustrating for me.

Keep your pecker up, Quasi; and next time count to ten. :wink:

Oh, so that’s the problem! The pecker. Well, damn Johnny! :smiley:

:phone dial sound effect:

“Hello, Doc? About that Viagra prescription?..”



Your pecker, Quasi! “Keep a stiff upper lip!”


Okay, Johnny (ya little heathen!:D): What am I supposed to keep stiff: the lip or the dick?

I can just see me approaching my patients with that thing sticking out the top of my scrub shirt, so you musta meant my lip, right? (Yes, I know I’m an idiot. So you gonna invite my dumb ass to your house-warming, or what? :D)


Here ya go.

Sure, you’re invited!

It’s ok, Quasi. If one never boils over, then there is doubt that one really ever fully rises to the occasion. Learn from it, and modify your behavior accordingly.

You read my thread about throwing a patient/inmate out of my office, didn’t you?



Hang in there, sweety. You’ll be ok.

And Johnny L.A., thanks for the link to the meaning of “Keep your pecker up.” I first encountered that phrase in a Moomintroll book (kid’s book) and my reaction was “:eek:WTF??? it’s a KID’S book!!!” It obviously had a U.K.'ian translator! :smiley:

Archergal: If you come to my housewarming party and stay over, shall I “knock you up” in the morning? :slight_smile:


Of coruse you care. That’s why you got angry. If you ever find yourself not wanting to yell at your self-destructive patients, that’s when you gotta start worrying.

I’ll echo Miller and say that if you’re in a profession that involves so much blood and sadness (my hubby’s a paramedic/firefighter, so I think I may know what you see) - once in a while, you’re going to snap at an unruly patient. Don’t worry about it, man!

Quasi, you are only human. Don’t sweat it. I lost my temper at work too these last couple of days (well, it’s only a volunteer job), but when you are trying to help people, and they turn around and abuse you, it’s never easy.

To be honest, I have no idea how medical professionals can cope with some of the situations presented to them. One Sydney doctor gave an example of having to pronounce dead a mother and her young daughter, and then having to calmly fix the broken arm of the drunk driver who had killed them, all the while ensuring he had appropriate pain management in place, that he was not forced to wait in Emergency too long, because he’s a customer (how I hate that misused word), and he has his RIGHTS, dammit!

Quasi, you are an everyday hero. Be proud, man.

Obviously the proper solution is the next time a patient acts like a dumbass, get an erection and pout at them.

Well, it’l solve the problem eventually.


After my experiences duyring my clinical shift the last two weeks I know the feeling.

The same woman has come in no less then 4 seperate times, 3 of which were while I was doing my clinical time for X-rays, and her boyfriend has been there each and every time.

So far, the count is up to 7 broken ribs, a broken jaw, fractured wrist and broken collarbone. Not to mention the black eyes and bruises on her arms and torso.

She’s even said that she’s gotten severely beaten, this while the beater in question was hanging just outside the door, trying to exude a menacing air into the X-ray room.

I actually walked out of the procedure and went to an empty room and cried for 15 minutes, which was how my clinical supervisor found me. He started in on me asking why I had just walked out, but when he saw that I was crying, he shut up.

And let me get it out.

I’d never been so enraged before that I cried, and I felt pissed offf at myself, because I was so pissed off at the patient for not being able to leave.

But even though I know that it’s nowhere near that clean and dried a thing to do, it still pisses me off that she wouldn’t even hint at wanting help.

I can’t help feeling responsible- like if I’d scored those seafoam green scrubs it might have made you happier!

I guess the only advice is that you have to leave the room before you get to the “boil over” point. Sorry things have been rough for you. I, for one, appreciate the hard work you do.

Quasi, you obviously work very hard at a demanding and sometimes soul-wrenching job. To have lost your temper is to be human. I’m sorry this happened to you, I hope the “write up” about the incident doesn’t hang too heavy on your mind, and that you can follow the advice given here next time it happens, and just walk away where you can do that.

Take care, my friend. This isn’t worth “pitting” yourself over. Just learn from it, and have more self-care.


I don’t care who you are, everybody blows their stack once in a while.

I’ll just echo the general drift of the thread, Quasi. You’re fighting the good fight, and don’t let it get you too down. Next time you reach the boiling point, you’ll remember this, and hopefully, be able to leave the room before you ‘let it all out.’

[sub]And if not, you tell the patient that you thought they were into “Primal Scream Therapy” and just wanted you to join in.[/sub]

I did and I thank you and the others so much for your replies.

I know that I should have dissociated myself from those two incidents, and treated them separately, but it just got too much that night.

Thank you all so much for understanding!



Who the hell would write you up for that? I wouldn’t write up or report a medical professional for that!! People should be more damn grateful for the care that doctors and nurses provide and be understanding of all the SHIT we put up with to care for their sometimes incredibly stupid loved ones. I would be totally understanding because I’ve wanted to slap down some OD’ers a few times myself.