Alex Teach on the beatalex teach on the beat
Officer Alex recalls a time when risk management involved a lot of risk—as well as bodily functions.
As soon as the elevator door slid open the smell of shit hit me like I was being mauled by a bear. Sure, it could have been worse; in contrast, the sudden scent of rotting flesh was reminiscent of being stabbed up the nostrils with a steel grilling fork…but feces?
Human poo, in particular, always felt like a firm rancid pillow being tied around your head in a gordian knot that held you there as if by an older sibling, grinning and drooling as he watched you struggle helplessly against a wall of moist and putrid filth with little hope of escape until puberty gave you the strength to break free…and puberty was always years away. The smell of the hallway was that of a hospital, so it also had the scent of cleaners and attempts of sterility only matched in the smell of the homes of the terminally ill. It was a nasty predicament form the start. I was cool, though. I was being paid by “taxpayers”, after all.
Dominique Hirsh had been a patient in the local healthcare system and therefore a “victim” by all associated rights and privileges. Admitted to the local mental health care system, he had been drugged to the point of rehabilitation , and therefore release with a bottle of 30 Dilantin in his pocket, one for each day of January until the day before February. That’s why I was by no means surprised that on January 3, Dominique had been on his own for two days with less than 10 Dilantin pills remaining on his person. And that, my Constant Readers, is where I came in.
Dominique Hirsh had tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and was HIV positive. He became irate when he “came to” in the hospital from his preceding bender and found himself anywhere but the living room he had passed out in, and the ensuing jostling of his known reality pushed him over the edge. He clearly felt he needed space because he flung his legs over the edge of his bed and began throwing every fixed and free object in his grasp out the doorway, and this didn’t stop until hospital security blocked his door with their shoulders. They decided to wait him out until he ran out of things to throw before they entered and subdued him.
Dominique must have picked up on this at some point, but was not deterred in the least. You see, magazines and empty cups were not all that were left. Dominique was working in concert with an ally none would expect—and that ally was, unfortunately, his lower gastrointestinal system and its filthy, filthy products. Dominique would never run out of extra things to throw so long as his lower intestines functioned, and by all accounts, they were just peachy.
Dominique Hirsh began throwing his feces around like a freshly caged chimpanzee around 5:30 p.m., and by 5:31 p.m. staffers began calling the hospital’s risk manager. The risk manager was apparently more important than local EMTs and paramedics because he/she was the first call anytime, every time…and for good reason. Without the risk manager’s consent, the staff wouldn’t have been the only persons eligible to sue the corporation when they decided to allow the local police, fire and EMS, and them only, to deal with their unruly guest, knowing his/her laundry list of maladies.
At first, only their own staff was relegated to dealing with such a patient, but thanks to the risk manager, at least nine other outside people would be eligible to sue them, whereas their own staff would not have been given the chance due to the structure of the risk manager’s policies and practices.
As I arrived, Dominique bolted from his room to that of an 80-year-old female heart patient, and when he ran from her room in turn, the sound of medical alarms were enough to draw Quasimodo from his bell-ringing grave. Chairs were in the emergency room hallway, as were magazines, end tables, love seats, and chairs. Patient X (Dominique) had been in such a frenzy, everything in his room had been cast out, and in the confusion only I was left.
The staff had been correct. When he ran out of projectiles, the poo had indeed been flung, and civilized folks were left to deal with it. Dominique sensed his reign in Room 8 coming to an end as I arrived and ducked across the hall to Room 7 to wait me out, when he was caught. You see…furtive movements from the wanted are not welcome and in fact specifically prohibited, but when he flouted these rules, he paid a steep price. The staff’s plan of attacking him once he was out of ammo was sound, but that had never been my option. So as he ran, he was struck with the barbs of a taser and during the resulting fall he struck his head on a table before lying prostrate before his captors.
Now, thanks to risk management, the TB/HepC/HIV patient was breathing, bleeding and screaming at-and-on local fire and police personnel, whereas only staffers would have been exposed before. Dominique Hirsh was contained until his next release—but what about the responders?
I handled the paperwork and charges and left, confident. I was on the taxpayers’ bankroll after all, and anyone would have done the same. Wouldn’t they? But here I was, wondering if I had earned the taxpayers' right to say I had contacted folks with TB, hepatitis C, and HIV. It was enough for another assignment, wasn’t it?
So much to think about, so little time, but the door flung open and I was hit again by the fresh air of the outside.
It was bound to be good, because it didn’t smell like shit. And that was where the bar was held.
I just wanted everyone to be happy.