DILEMMAS IN DAY-TO-DAY CARE
Drug-related behavioral outbursts pose health risk to providers
By Christine McGuire-Wolfe, PhD, CIC, CPH, EMT-P
You and your partner are dispatched to a restroom in a public park for a 26-year-old unresponsive male.
Bystanders had called 9-1-1 after finding
On arrival, you initially find “Patient A”
obtunded, but he begins to respond as he’s
moved, so you and your partner can provide
As he becomes more alert, the patient
becomes increasingly agitated and aggressive. He begins to intentionally strike his head
on the floor, causing his upper lip and mouth
Attempting to load him onto the stretcher,
he bites your partner’s finger, causing a rip in
his glove and breaking the skin on the finger.
You arrive in response to a request by law
enforcement officers to treat a 23-year-old
male who’s in custody and has multiple abrasions from running through the brush, including facial injuries that are actively bleeding.
One of the deputies tells you that they’d
been called to a domestic disturbance because
the patient was aggressive and refusing to leave.
“Patient B” was known to regularly smoke spice
and had been smoking an unknown substance
shortly before 9-1-1 was called. The patient
had initially fled from law enforcement and
then resisted arrest when he was found in
As you and your partner attempt to render
aid, Patient B is still actively shouting, writhing and attempting to break free from his
handcuffs. As your partner attempts to assess
him, the patient spits bloody saliva into your
These cases were actual calls in the last quarter of 2016, and two Pasco County (Fla.)
Fire Rescue (PCFR) employees were potentially exposed to Hepatitis C while providing
Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid known to cause
agitation, confusion and violent behavior.
AP Photo/LM Otero