Wednesday, June 16, 2004
my life as a potential hospital forensic guy.
today was truly unique. yes, another hospital story...but this one is too good to pass up so sorry to all of you who can't stand these lame medical maladies. anyways, at 1:33 p.m., i walked in to a patient's room (2 patients in each room in this case) and bed #2 (hospital talk for the patient by the window) was on the phone and i asked if i could take her lunch tray. little did i know that she was a hospital drug mover/shaker, who checks in, gets some drugs and then walks out...while using a different name/someone else's identity each time. no one knew it then, so i guess i can't blame anyone. all i know is...about an hour later, security and the managers of the floor were there, looking for the missing patient. first of all, it's never a good thing when a patient comes up missing. generally, this is feared in the hospital world when it comes to babies (as in them being stolen), but when adults come up missing...there is a better, usually more criminal reason: they're in trouble with the law. so here we are, with the managers and every person on the floor grilling my fellow co-worker and I (b/c we were the ones who cleaned the room after the walkout---we didn't know all of this about Miss New Identity at the time...and neither did the nurses--they just knew they lost a patient and worried about that alone) and each question seems ridiculous. "Did you wash down the bed rails?" Hmm...let's see, we did, but if I said no, how would that look? Sure, we'd have some prints for the cops or forensic guys to brush up, but what would our bosses think? "Way to go Neville....since you did a below-average job and made the room you said was ready for another patient not ready by not cleaning it the way you're supposed to every time a patient leaves, we've found our identity-less woman!" my co-worker and i laughed pretty hard at the thought and the nurses kept grilling: "what about the light switches...did you not clean them?" or "what about the toilet flush handle, did you happen to skim over that?" Nope. no. no, ma'am. We felt bad saying no to everything, b/c it meant we were that much further away from catching our runaway patient, but we felt somewhat confident knowing there'd be no way to get in trouble in a hospital for cleaning too well or too fast or too efficient. it just wouldn't make sense, you know? anyways, long story short (too late i know) we remembered this one handle on this ghetto step stool the lady used that my co-worker didn't wipe down and so we ran to go and find it. once captured, i brought it to the head nurse manager and threw a clear plastic bag over it just to make sure no one tampered with my newly discovered potential evidence (wink, wink). my co-worker suggested we get yellow caution tape, but i quickly told her that "that'd be taking it too far" and that "we shouldn't let this go to our heads." I have no idea if the police were able to get prints from the step stool (they weren't there yet by the time i left) but i clocked out at 4:30p.m. today feeling a little bit more important....a little more useful in a hospital world that seems to be filled with crooked patients and drug happy drifters, just waiting to be caught by the underpaid bed cleaners and patient transport people (that's me!). it's a mad, mad world, but somebody's got to keep up with the dirty work and these dirty patients. good night.