“It was an extremely scary situation”

Anonymous, Registered Nurse

Private Hospital, Tarzana, California, 7.22.14

I work in a hospital in the Los Angeles area. I want to share an incident that happened about a year ago at my facility. Although no one was hurt – thankfully – it was an extremely scary situation.

A man came to the hospital every day for nearly a month to visit his sick family member. Every day, he walked into the facility with a visible 8-inch knife hanging from his belt. He was never stopped by security and the facility has no metal detectors.

Beyond visibly displaying a weapon, this man had some noticeable volatility issues. When he would get stressed out, he would pace and curse, and the staff knew that he had a history of instability.

The situation came to a head after he had made multiple complaints about the nursing staff. One day, he showed his knife to the nurse who was caring for his family member at the time and she felt threatened. The nurse became fearful and started to cry and told her charge nurse about what had happened. The charge nurse said, “I will deal with it,” but by the time the man left the facility that day, nothing had been done.

The next day, the nurse’s manager addressed the staff about what had happened, stating that the nurse had overreacted and that this was her personal issue. The manager said that the man had been carrying the weapon every day and that it wasn’t until he showed it to the nurse that it became a “problem.” The manager said that the man had since been asked to leave his knife in the car when he came to visit in the future. Any further incidents with this man were to be taken to management, not security.

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