Don’t Tase ’em, bro
When all else fails, sedate them by reading from the policy manual.
That appears to be the conclusion of a 55-page report issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health after it reviewed four incidents with Tasers that occurred at Lehigh Valley Hospital. ( Outliers is assuming it’s a conclusion, as the word “conclusion” never appears in the report.)
After the report was issued Oct. 14, Lehigh Valley security guards turned in their Tasers on Oct. 15 and await further orders from the Code Orange Task Force, which is working with the Restraint Management Committee and Network Safety Council on policies and procedures on how to handle patients having “a behavior dyscontrol event.”
The incidents—recorded as taking place in 2008, 2009 and 2010—violated CMS guidance against using weapons in hospitals, the state report said. They involved an “agitated” patient who had remained agitated despite being medicated three times with Ativan, along with Haldol and Valium; a patient “using an IV pole as a weapon,” and others who allegedly threw punches and/or attempted to barricade themselves in rooms.
A Lehigh representative was not available to speak with Outliers, though a hospital statement published elsewhere noted that it does not complete- ly agree with the report findings, but agreed to stop using Tasers while a dialogue continues with the state on when they would be appropriate.
No mentions of the report or the incidents are readily apparent on the Lehigh Valley website, but examples of irony include a Feb. 15 post of a local report from WFMZ television in which the Lehigh Valley security supervisor is interviewed on the subject of physical altercations and mentions how guards carry Tasers, pepper spray and handcuffs. “There’s a lot of stress in a hospital environment,” he says.
LeHigh Valley has holstered the Tasers for now.