LEGAL QUESTION: Strike one, you're out

July 2006 
Volume 36  Number 7
Pages 29 - 29
  PDF Version Available!

I work in a long-term-care facility and think I've made a bad mistake. A resident who's sometimes confused and rather violent often grabs and pokes us when we're caring for her. Yesterday while I was flushing her peripherally inserted central catheter, she pinched me so hard at a critical moment that I slapped her hand and told her to knock it off. She stopped cold, then went off like a siren. I finished the procedure, apologized, and tried to explain that I couldn't do my work when she was hurting me and that stopping would have been dangerous. The next time her daughter visited, the resident apparently told her that “my nurse hit me!” I'm terrified the daughter will report me. What can I do?

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