Friday, June 24, 2005

Out of the mouths of prisoners

Occasionally at the hospital, we get people under arrest as patients. Sometimes they get hurt fighting, sometimes they suddenly get sick when the cuffs go on, and sometimes they're just drunk off their ass.

Regardless of the situation, by and large, they are an uncoopertive lot. This often amuses the hell out of me as the medical staff and police officers have a withering "seen it, not impressed" attitude with regards to the more surly of these patients. A few examples:

As part of my job, I put ID bands on patients. When I put one on this particular patient already in handcuffs, he turns to the arresting officer and says, "Now that's what I call loose."

Another part of my job is having patients sign paperwork. An intoxicated gentleman handcuffed to a gurney gamefully provides his info as he munches on a sandwich but when it comes time to sign, he balks, complaining about being cuffed to the bed. I have better things to do than argue with him (whether he signs or not, he's going to be treated and charged for it), so I leave. As I walk down the hall, I hear the arresting officer's voice fading out, "Why did you have to be so mean? These people are trying to help you and you just..."

It cracked me up because I knew the officer was just messing with the guy.

A nurse is asking a patient whose just been picked up on a warrant about his medical history.
"Do you have a history of heart disease?"
"You have all these things?" the nurse asks, incredulous.
"Yes, I'm very sick," the patient says calmly.
"Do you have gout?"
"What is it then?
Pause. "I don't know, but I got it!"

A young, trying-to-be-tough guy is sitting on a gurney waiting for his head to get stitched up. He's been monosyllabic and surly the whole time, and now an officer is quietly talking to him. In the course of my work, I walk by the bed many times and I notice the kid's ducking his head down. After a while, I walk by again and he's clearly been crying.

I never heard what the officer said, but from the look on his face, I like to think that he was doing his best to show the kid the error of his ways and the benefit of non-criminal behavior. Though, maybe he was scaring the hell out of him with tales of prison rape.

A ER tech that clearly works out often was having a disagreement with a substance abusing patient who offered this gem, "I might do crack, you big asshole, but you do steroids."

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