Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Suggestions for Those Placed Under Arrest

I had a fine young citizen brought in by the police recently for "clearance for jail". He had a little laceration on his brow delivered either by the arresting officer or the ground, and had been pepper-sprayed. He was, well, a little drunk. Funny how those things seem to go together, drinking and trouble with the law, someone should do a study.

"Bill" had been down at the Kwik-Mart causing a disturbance and the police had arrived and tried to shoo him away. He was more interested in running his mouth and threatening the officers though, so they arrested him. Here's where the lesson begins.

Rule #1: If asked by a policed officers to 'go home' or 'go away' do not respond with, "Fu** you you f**king pigs", and do not spit on them.

Rule #2: When handcuffed and placed in the back of the squad car do not bang your head against the safety screen or kick your feet against the windows. I know it's hard to believe, but this will not cause the police to stop the car and let you go. Instead you will get your legs cuffed and a nasty dose of pepper spray to the face.

It was at this point that I met "Bill" last night. The whole ED heard him come through the door dropping the F-bomb and threatening to have all of us arrested (citizen's arrest of course). He was also threatening to sue us all, huge surprise. He was all red in the face and was crying like a nine-year-old. He also smelled like a still.

Me: "Hello sir, how may I help you."

Patient: "Get these f**kers off of me!! I want to press charges NOW!!! SOMEONE LET ME PRESS CHARGES NOW!!"

Me: "Uh, someone get this guy a phone," (wink to my nurse), "Sir I have to fix this cut on your head."

Patient: "How could this happen to me?" (blubber, whimper) "How can he arrest me? I want to press charges! (kick, spit, kick)."

At this point I called for the haldol and ativan as this guy was flailing around, causing a disturbance for the whole ED (lots of kids there), and requiring four nurses and myself to keep him from face-planting off the gurney. As drunk as he was he did not have the right to refuse the laceration repair or the chemical restraint. Soon after the haldol and ativan he was nice and asleep.

We then had a "BAL Lottery" which I won (that's four dollars to the plus side for me). Guesses were from the low 200s to 299 (my guess). The guy clocked in at 309, not bad for a 26 year old. I'd give him another three years and if he keeps in practice he might be able to top-out over four-hundred and still be able to curse, spit, and walk.

I sewed his laceration and told the officer that as soon as the guy could put one foot in front of the other that he could go to jail. I had done a CT of his head to make sure he had not been badly injured with the blow and it was fine. He wont remember any of it but he will wake up in jail with a pounding headache, blood all caked in his nose, and urine soaked pants. King me!


  1. How do you get an unconscious, urine-soaked man into the tube for a CT scan?

  2. lengthwise.

    hahahaha, couldn't resist. the coil for the scanner is more of a doughnut. you are thinking of an MRI which would have been hard with this guy. as it was we only had to "buzz his head".

  3. I love it when guys like this threaten to call their attorney, Johnnie Cochran. I guess most drunks don't read the papers. If they did, they would know that Mr. Cochran passed away.

  4. When I was in college I had a breathalizer test done on me with the blow tube thing and they told me it was .38. I remember every minute of it including when the police officer carried me up to my dorm room and I begged him over and over not to tell my parents. The "benefit" of going to a private college is the only reason I can think of to explain why I was not arrested since I was underage at the time. Luckily I was smart enough not to try to keep up drink for drink with two over 6 foot tall large college guys ever again. I'm not proud of that experience, but it sure taught me a lesson I will never forget! That is also one of the main reasons I don't drink now...that and the fact that I get a little too friendly when I am tipsy.

  5. .38? WOW! i wonder if you remember the numbers correctly... you would probably have to have had 12 beers in a couple of hours. i'm legless at 200.

    i wonder, dear friend, if you find that your husband is strangely fond of handing you a glass of wine or two?


  6. I'm pretty sure the numbers I remember are accurate. I couldn't stand up or move myself, which is why I stayed on the ground outside the guy's dorm exactly where the RA placed me when he saw how drunk I was and wanted no part of the responsibility of me and called the police. I also couldn't see.

    Two football player friends of mine and I decided to drink a huge bottle (not the regular size bottle, the really large one) of Jack Daniel's together. We finished the bottle and I matched them shot for shot. I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to do that! I am very lucky that they were good decent guys, or who knows what could have happened.

    My husband doesn't hand me drinks because now that we have four kids, I am so tired I would just fall asleep if I drank. He has much better odds if I have no alcohol in my system.

  7. yep. old jack would do it. glad you were with friends.

    your story re kids and the effect that alcohol has on you now is eerily similar to my situation. in fact, i can't seem to find anything that works reliably with my better half with a brood of ankle-biters taking up 100% of her time.

    such is life.

  8. 911doc,

    "...delivered either by the arresting officer or the ground..."

    That's funny stuff!

    You've got a career writing satire if this medicine thing doesn't work out!

  9. dear mr. coupal,
    i am ready to be employed in that capacity if you have a job to offer. this medicine stuff is bad for my health. thank you for your kind comments.

  10. This guy could be cloned and place in every single ED in the country. This would never happen to me, as ETOH, as 911 can testify, has no effect on me, and I would never ingest any other intoxicants or mind altering substances. My wife enjoys your prose too, so keep up the good work. Now let me get back to finishing all these model airplanes. I just keep running out of glue for some reason.

  11. the clones are everywhere. careful with all that glue pal, i hear it can get people high, i hear silver or gold pain may even be better, or course then you look like the tin man, but i digress.

  12. Hmm. I think I met this guy on my first ED rotation.

    I was trying to sew up the lac to his chin and clean the dog bite to his butt when things kicked off. Why do you guys (ED staff) DO these things to med students?

    (...for the entertainment value, I expect)

  13. When oh, WHEN will television finally get around to portraying REAL life in the ER!?

  14. We need to get the cops to carry something like this along with their Tasers.

    Load 'em up with some Ativan and Haldol and they'll be good to go....

  15. "When oh, WHEN will television finally get around to portraying REAL life in the ER!?"

    Oh, how true. I'm not a doc, but I spend many hours writing about them, and even I wince at the drivel on TV. Hollyweird has docs doing everybody at any time of the day, and anywhere. It'd be interesting to have 911Doc's scene on ABC, wouldn't you say?

  16. I'll never forget one episode of ER where 2 patients presented with pool balls lodged into their mouths. The 1st gentleman wanted to prove that he could fit it in his mouth, and when he couldn't REMOVE the pool ball- the 2nd gentleman put a pool ball in his mouth so as to demonstrate how to remove it...

  17. John, you'll never leave the medical profession unless it's to get back into the Navy jets. Where else can you get that adrenaline rush? Good stuff!

    Tom Maloney

  18. who the hell is tom maloney?