If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Violence in Unexpected Places

Last week I wrote about the gunman who appeared on my unit when I worked the night shift in a large urban hospital. The nurse who first confronted tMB900230793he gunman advised him that guns were not allowed on the floor.

Now that might not seem the smartest comment in the circumstances but nurses aren’t trained in law enforcement. Violence in hospitals had not yet become an issue discussed by management and part of employee training.

Also, the day before the gunman incident, a family had complained to the unit staff that their dad said he was threatened regularly by Arabs with guns. The father had Alzheimer’s disease and thought his call light was a nuclear weapon. The nurse who responded to the family’s complaint stated, with more sarcasm than sympathy, that visitors were expected to check their weapons at the security desk downstairs. Little did we know.

I’m not sure why it took so long for violence to become a hospital issue. Hospital employees are beaten up by demented patients and patients under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Nurses used to keep the keys to narcotics on a cord around their necks. I knew of at least one nurse who had the cord ripped off her neck. If a drug thief was suspected of being on a unit, security would lock down that unit as well as the floors above and below it. The nurses were locked in with the suspected drug thief.

Before the danger to staff of needle sticks became an issue, used needles were pushed into a container with a mesh top. Sometimes the containers became very full. After they were replaced, the old containers were stored in the dirty utility room where anything contaminated was kept. Before it was common knowledge that HIV could be spread by contaminated needles, these containers were MB900200021sometimes stolen for the many used needles they held.

How did the thieves enter the hospital? The basement of the hospital had several entrances at that time, and they weren’t all alarmed or watched. The night pharmacy was in the basement. If we ran out of a particular narcotic during the night, a nurse would descend to the basement pharmacy, present her identification badge and receive the narcotic in a plain brown bag. I wondered whether potential thieves would believe I was carrying my lunch rather than narcotics.

One time, although nurses always had to present identification and couldn’t go past any locked pharmacy door, a man who claimed to be delivering flowers to a pharmacy employee was granted access during daylight hours. He had a gun and forced a pharmacist to open the narcotic safe. A pharmacy employee managed to send out an email and a security officer happened to be checking his email.

Unit staff quickly becomes acquainted with regular visitors and employees from other hospital disciplines. They would report anyone who seemed suspicious. Still, it’s surprising more threats of violence don’t occur in hospital settings. If a person arrives in the ER clutching his chest, the ER staff doesn’t assume he’s faking it and using the symptom as a ploy to steal narcotics.

There have been stories and TV shows about angry patients or relatives showing up with a gun at a hospital. I can think of a whole lot of other scenarios in which hospital staff could be caught off guard. It’s probably not the prisoner who arrives with his own police escort who presents the biggest threat.

How to create a story that hasn’t been done? I think I could come up with ways to sneak onto a unit with evil intent but do I want to give someone ideas?

5 comments:

Warren Bull said...

It's frightening to think there are no more sanctuaries. In the hospital where my wife worked years ago a woman claiming to be a staff member approached a woman holding her newborn child and offered to hold the baby while the mother took a nap. The mother awoke to find the baby missing. The kidnapper was not a staff member. The police quickly found the newborn unharmed and arrested the disturbed kidnapper. Hospital security under went a drastic change.

Dee Hendershot Gatrell said...

I have a cousin who once posed as a nurse when her mother was a patient. They finally figured her out and kicked her out.

Recently here in FL a man approached one of the doctors in the elevator and killed him and then himself. I haven't heard much more about it==Casey Anthony case is filling the airwaves. But the man had been a recipient of two transplants. I really wanted to know why he would kill the doctor who saved him with those.

I was surprised at the hospital where my DIL had her last baby. The security was great. And it's a good thing these days.

Kaye George said...

I've long been aware of how dangerous a nurse's job is, since my mother was one. Nurses are unsung angels and really do put their lives on the lines for the patients. Good luck using all your experiences, Pauline!

Pauline Alldred said...

Thanks, Kaye. Once I start remembering, I picture so many people, staff and patients.

E. B. Davis said...

To me, violence is always unexpected. Hospitals are no different than anywhere else. When I think of the violence and assault to the body that occurs in surgery, I'm horrified. Of course, most operations are necessary and are done to benefit the patient by their consent, unlike unconsentual and unexpected violence.

But most violence is perpetrated on the most vulnerable in our society, so violence enacted against helpless patients only stands to reason. Unconscionable, yet logical. I can think of several murder mysteries set in or around the hospital setting.