I have been at work for five and half hours now and it is 12:30 pm and it has been kind of a slow day so far, don’t get me wrong it is nice to have slow days as the patients have been either sleeping in the day area or doing therapy sessions. At the moment I am on response, which means if the alarms go off or we get a call over a radio to respond I am the one to go to were ever help is needed. I am going to go on my break in about half an hour but then a call comes over the radio,
‘Urgent assistants needed by the main entrance, we have a patient going AWOL’.
I respond over the radio,
‘Willow ward responding’.
I stop what I am doing, which was playing cards with a patient and call over to the nurse in charge (NIC) and let them know that I am responding to an urgent call. I quickly rush off the ward and head to the reception area to leave, this is where I leave my keys and grab a mobile just in case I have to call in information. I run off towards the main entrance of the hospital and on the way I come across about another five staff, men and women running the same way I am. Some of the staff look as if they are going to collapse already, which makes me smirk. As we reach the main entrance there is security standing there watching down the road and it has taken us five minutes to reach the main entrance running. The security team inform us that a patient has run off towards town and give us a description of 5ft 10, long brown scruffy hair going bold on top, blue t-shirt, baggy black jeans and black trainers. The information passed over to us is basic and his name in Carl, he has the potential to be aggressive and a possibility could be a danger to the public if they intervene as well to us if we stop him. So we get the permission to use force if needed to protect ourselves or the public. This just means we may have to restrain him in public if needed and we have to make sure we have our I.D’s on us, this is just to show the public or police if we have to restrain him. We are divided into three teams of two staff. I am teamed up with a nurse who is qualified named Darren who knows the patient that has gone AWOL (absent without leave), which makes it easier if we find him. We head off to the main road which is up a side street and a five minute walk. On the main road is a load of different shops but also ends at the beginning of town.
Hitting the main road we come across an off licence and we go in and have a look around the shop. I turn to the shop keeper we are looking for a man and give him the details of his description.
‘I haven’t seen him, but give me a number to call just in case he comes in’.
I let him know that he is not to be served alcohol if possible as it can make him aggressive and delusional with his medication, plus I hand over the number of the mobile I picked up from work. Then at this point Darren and I leave the shop and head right off into town. As we walk towards town we pass a mini supermarket and pop in there and have a look. Darren speaks to the shopkeeper this time and gives a description of who we are looking for and I have a look around the store, I turn back to Darren and shake my head to let him know that the patient is not here. After this we head towards town after a lengthy twenty five minute search up the main round and in some shops and hit town. Darren radios through to let the others know that we have reached town and found nothing on the main road.
Comes over the radio five times and once from security. To be fair why the hell are security joining us in the search?
As we both head down towards the main drag of town we walk into a little news agents and have a scout around but no sign of him in there. So Darren and I walk out the news agents and follow the street further into town.
Darren starts to let me know that as he knows this patient, Carl is the sort of patient to head to an off licence and bye some booze and get drunk, not just to run and go nowhere and just abscond. So we head off to find shops that sell booze and check them out. So off we head to the next store that sells alcohol, to which I asked Darren to radio to the others to head to any shop that sells alcohol,
‘All responding teams go to any shop that sells alcohol, this is where you are more likely to find Carl’.
Comes the reply over the radio. Then after about an hour of searching shops in town, the mobile I picked up in reception rings. It is the first shop Darren and I searched, a voice answers
‘Hello is this the nurse that is looking for a patient?’
‘I have just seen a man that looks like the one you described walking pass my shop’
‘Ok thank you, which way is he heading’?
‘Away from town and he has a bottle of something that looks like vodka in his hand’
‘Ok thank you we are on our way’
I put the phone down and call over the radio,
‘All teams head towards the main road leading away from town (Colling road) and head towards the main off licence by Francis Street’.
As Darren and I head off towards Colling road and start to run down the road a police car passes by and we wave them down and immediately they pull over. I run over to them and say that we are from the St Mary’s Hospital and we are looking for a patient gone AWOL. The police officer, who looks like he is in his early twenties explains he has been drawn into the search due to the risk. I give him a detail of the look of the patient and he asks us to jump in, I call Darren over and we jump in the police car shouting
Laughing at my childish call out we jump in the police car and ask the police office not to put sirens on as it will make the patient aware of us all, plus he does not like police. The police officer turns on the blues and pulls out into the traffic, but as usual there are a few drives that don’t pay attention to the horn and the lights of the police car. The police car goes to turn down a side street to spin round and heads down the road towards Francis Street. Sitting in the front of the police car going fast with the lights on is quite exciting and adrenalin pumping too. As we reach the off licence the shop keeper is standing outside pointing towards the side street, Francis Street. I lower the window and the shop keeper shouts out as the police car slows on Darren’s request
‘He’s gone down Francis Street’
I wave just to acknowledge the shout out and the shop keeper waves back. The police office waves as well and then slows down and turns down Francis Street. In front of us on the right is a man walking and staggering down the road with a bottle in his hand. A woman passes by but as she passes he says something to her and she turns round and says something back. He stops and slowly staggers towards her. The woman starts to look a little worried as he raises his arm holding the bottle and goes towards her. The police officer turns the sirens on and skids to a stop beside him. Darren and myself jump out of the car and charge at Carl. The police officer takes the woman and leads her off to the car for safety. Darren and I reach Carl and Darren calls and demands Carl to drop the bottle.
‘Carl drop the bottle now, you’re going to hurt someone’
Carl kind of stalls and stands there holding the bottle over his head and looks at the both of us, Darren repeats the commands to Carl
‘Drop the bottle’
‘Why the hell should I’
‘If you don’t the police will press charges and we will get the lady to press charges as well and this could lead to your section being changed to a 37/41which will lead to a longer and more secure placement for you’
As we are talking to Carl I notice the police officer walking round to the back of Carl, with the woman safe in the police car. We continue talking to Carl, mainly Darren. All of a sudden Carl smashes the bottle of the side of a front garden wall and raises it towards Carl and I but he still does not notice the police officer. The officer calls out
And the red dot hits Carl in the side by the ribs, and at this point the rest of the search team joins us on Francis Street and all of a sudden a mighty scream comes from Carl and the police officer fired his Taser at Carl because he ran at Darren with a broken bottle shouting out
‘I’m going to kill you bastards’
Calls out Carl as he collapses to the floor with wires sticking out of him. Then myself and Darren rush over to him and take away the bottle and restrain him with the wires sticking out of him.
‘We have to take him to hospital to get the pins removed from him’
As we restrain the patient, the police officer calls over the radio for medical assistance. We sit there holding Carl but by this time as Darren and I are holding him and talking to him to try and relax him, he calms down and starts to cry. Then he starts to say
‘I’m sorry, the voices told me she was a bad person, and she likes to hurt people’
Darren and I keeps hold and explains to Carl that it is the voices in his head telling him this and how would he know this of the innocent woman. Carl cries out in response,
‘I know, I know but the voices are loud in my head’.
‘But that’s because of the alcohol you have drunk, it makes the voices louder’.
After about five minutes the paramedics pull up and the police officer hands over to them what has happened and this is all out of ear shot of Carl. Carl looks at the police officer and says
‘He’s talking about me’
‘Yes he is, he is just handing over to the paramedics what has happened so they can treat you better’.
As the paramedic approaches he smiles at Carl and introduces himself as Ian. Carl smiles back and lets the paramedic remove the pins from the Taser from his side, while we still hold him. After the paramedic has removed the pins he does a check over on Carl and lets us know,
‘He should be ok but just keep an eye on him for the next twenty four hours’
‘Ok we will when he is back on the ward’.
After about another ten minutes we help Carl up and escort him in holds to the police car as the police officer takes the lady out of the car and starts to explain the situation. The lady decides not to press charges as she is just suffering from shock. One of the spare staff decides to walk her back home, which is just around the corner and stay with her for a while. On the way back in the back of the police car the patient is starting to sit there and cry to himself and feel sorry for himself. Five minutes later we are nearly back and someone has called for assistance to the entrance of the patients ward and there is about five big staff standing there waiting for us. As we get out of the police car a staff member takes over my holds and says,
‘I’ll take it from here’
Then he just looks sternly at me as, let go, and with Darren walks Carl in holds off into the building, with this the police officer asks me my name and says
‘It’s for my records’
Then follows the staff off into the building. I am left there standing alone and thinking to myself is that it. I head off to the canteen and get a strong coffee and slowly walk out of the canteen back towards my ward. Slowly walking back I think to my self
‘What a good but also bad search that was and how wrong that could have turned out if the police officer was not there. Myself or Carl or even worse the member of public could have got cut or worse. So I reach my ward and walk back in and go and speak to the nurse in charge and explain what has happened. After about fifteen minutes of explaining to him what has happened and another half hour of venting to him, he tells me to go on my break. As I walk off the ward to go on my break, I think to myself how thankful I am for the tight team I work with within the hospital.