Lawrence Memorial Hospital Health: Serious Allegations of Abuse
I worked for approximately a month within LMH Health as a security officer; I was tasked with any and all duties that would see to the safe operation of the hospital. These duties ranged from checking visitors in after standard operating hours, to getting into violent altercations with visitors, patients, and intruders alike. My experience here was absolutely egregious, and I'd sooner call this place a pit of despair than a partner for lifelong health. Should you feel I have broken HIPAA at any point within this article, please feel free to mention it in the comments so I may address it accordingly.
During my orientation into the hospital, which had nearly nothing to do with my job outside of hygiene and situational awareness standards, I became aware that the hospital was out for profit. Everything was about how to save money, avoiding incidents to avoid lawsuits, and any other possible standard to uphold so as to not cost the hospital any more money. I didn't think much of it, until I actually got onto the job site and began to hear stories from the nurses and other staff about their employer's treatment of them.
Walking through the halls of the hospital, they have poster boards plastered with hospital statistics for nurses and doctors to look over. These statistics weren't about productivity, patient wellness, nor anything relevant to our jobs within the hospital. No, these posters served as a constant reminder of how much money was being "wasted" within the hospital and how it was our jobs to reduce this "waste". As if reducing human suffering to a lower statistic of "waste" was the most important thing to do in the hospital. These standards would see patients moved in and out as fast as possible, most of the time without proper treatment.
Even worse than the constant reminders that humans are only as good as their ability to reduce hospital waste, regardless of whether or not they are actually performing their job duties, is the under-staffing. Under-staffing led to many of the nurses, doctors, and other employees not being able to leave their job for more than twenty-four hours.
They couldn't leave not because there were tons of patients to handle, no, but because the hospital refused to hire enough workers to cover all positions and shifts. More often than not, we'd have a patient in crisis and the entire emergency room would be vacant of staff to help other patients in need, and this really slowed down treatment times that the administration wanted reduced as much as possible.
Now, I will admit that the under-staffing meant more pay for us all, but, and this is a big but, on top of under-staffing they were also reducing staff capacity by eliminating jobs entirely! When I was still employed, their goal was to eliminate any position below the level of registered nurse.
When you are already under-staffed and your employees are running themselves into unhealthy work habits, then you make their jobs even harder by eliminating their assistants, can you really call yourself a lifelong partner for health?
In order to keep this short and simple, so as to avoid a lack of clarity, I'll make a concise list of all the patient abuse I witnessed from doctors, nurses, and other staff. Here it goes:
- Denying patients treatment, and even denying them entrance to the hospital sometimes, actively, because they were homeless and could not pay.
- Denying patients food, water, and interaction for extended periods of time because a nurse "didn't like their attitude".
- Goading patients into fights, verbal and physical.
- Enticing patients to react poorly, so as to garner certain responses.
- Forgoing bedside manner because they did not like the patient's attitude, taking part in tit-for-tat mentalities.
- Purposefully making patient paperwork take longer, often forgoing protocol to do so, to keep the restless patient in the hospital longer.
- Injecting patients with sedatives before proper authorization from a doctor or registered nurse is received, regardless of necessity.
- Denying patients reasonable requests so as to upset them, then ignoring them so as to cause an incident of verbal or physical altercation.
- Sharing personal information, and belongings, of patients with other individuals within the hospital.
- Sedating patients before following appropriate deescalation protocols.
- Lying to doctors in order to get approval for sedation of patients.
- Denying patients the ability to see the doctor upon request.
- Performing tests and procedures without proper consent and notification, regardless of necessity.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, people, and it is what I can recall from my own mind. All of this does not include the testimony I have been asked to keep private, and I wish that others would speak out about the experiences that the hospital wishes to keep swept under the rug.
Mind you these are my allegations against the hospital, and as such all of this is anecdotal. Please do not take this as staunch facts, because it is my recalling and retelling of events that I personally witnessed.
It is humiliating for me to discuss this, as a part of me enjoyed the attention I was receiving while another part of me was absolutely uncomfortable, but I was sexually harassed while working at LMH Health. Surprisingly, it was women offering their unwanted advances toward me and I'd like to recall this event for you now.
I had received a call to come stand in the emergency room, rather than checking in guests to the hospital, because we had three patients in crisis all throughout the emergency room that each required individual guards. The room I was tasked with overseeing was directly in front of a nurses' station with three women. Granted, I was attracted to these women, but I had a job to do and was doing my best to ignore the women for the sake of this patient in crisis.
As I stood there the three women began to discuss my physique, and how everything was fine "because Kyler is here to protect us". The first compliment was flattering as I watched on at the crisis patient's room, but they wouldn't stop as the compliments turned to innuendo.
"You'll protect us, won't you Kyler?" one asked on in a smooth voice.
Another remarked, "Kyler takes his job really seriously!"
The third said enticingly, "I bet he could protect all three of us at the same time!"
My face was clearly beginning to flush, or at least I could feel the heat in my face from being uncomfortable and I just smiled and nodded my head as they continued onward with their "compliments". These types of conversations became more and more frequent as I got more friendly with everyone, and more comfortable with my position, but nonetheless much of this was unwelcome.
As a man, especially a man in a job like this one I was in, I was meant to be the epitome of macho and charisma. I felt that if I had spoken out about these regular occurrences, things that happened to everyone, then I would quickly lose my job or be transferred like others had been from expressing their concerns. So, I remained silent, and admittedly I got over the harassment and began to take part in it myself.
I don't know whether to be ashamed, flattered, embarrassed, or all of the above. All I know is that environment really made me uncomfortable, and I still feel dirty.
Forced to Resign Because of Others
When I was first hired on to work at this hospital, under Whelan Security, we were going in fresh and green with no training, nor any post orders.
No training had occurred, though it was scheduled, and we literally were not supposed to be working without taking the safety courses. The safety courses were mandatory for all staff within the hospital, of all levels, and us security guards worked for over a month without it. Mind you, the classes were scheduled to occur but they let us work despite the rules.
When it finally came time to take my eight hour safety class, they expected me to do so after having worked a twelve hour shift. I was night shift, and I had been night shift all week before this, sometimes doing doubles, and they expected me to take a physical safety course coming out of a violent, exhausting, twelve hour shift. Exhausted is a misnomer for how tired I was at the time.
This class was being taught by a person who was oft referred to as "the one who gets beaten up more than anyone else in the hospital" so I was already questioning the reliability of this course to begin with. Having spent a month without training, getting into violent altercations, doing my job and learning through experience, I was absolutely irritated to be there.
It wasn't until we got to the active shooter section that I had enough of this safety course. The alleged certified teacher told us if all else fails to grab the slide of a firearm. "Grab the slide, because they'll only be able to get one more shot off and that is it! Don't let go!" and at that point I walked out to go get my blood drawn as required by the hospital to keep working and never went back.
It wasn't long after that I got a call from the VP of Whelan Security along with their head of HR, asking me why I abandoned my post. I told them about my work schedule, the contents of the ridiculous course, and that if the hospital is truly a partner for lifelong health then they can schedule an evening course for us night shift workers. They were going to fire me after my witty remark, so I brought up that they still failed to give us proper post orders before they could do so.
Yes, you heard me correctly for those of you who know what post orders are, they didn't give us any for the first month. Then when we finally got post orders it was copy/pasted from a cruise ship company and didn't apply to our job! No training, nor post orders for a whole month at a violent, hands-on post! I threw that in the VP's face, which led to a long silence, then he said "We are handling it, do you have anything else to add?" and at that point we ended the conversation with my notice of probable termination and a goodbye.
I promptly emailed them with a resignation letter so as to avoid termination, and to this day wish I had sued the pants off of them. Lesson learned, however, and a lot of insights gained into the public security industry.
Stand up for Yourself and Others
The moral of the story here, I suppose, is to stand up for yourself and others whenever you feel it is necessary. I decided to keep my mouth shut, to ignore wrongdoing, for money and my own comfort in the short-term. Keeping things swept under the rug as everyone continues to sweep more causes more long-term damage than the short-term comfort can relieve. Don't let evil slide by, because it may only get worse as others follow suit.
If you don't have what it takes to lead the charge, support those who will by sharing their sentiments and promoting their cause.
May we all get the justice we deserve!