hospital as safe place? : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

The stabbing episode is still haunting me... and I think I may have finally come up with a reason why. Most episodes, including the recent one with the baby dying, haven't upset me quite as much as the stabbing episode. Unfortunately, babies do sometimes die in real situations, even at the hands of their parents, and it is sad. However, it is not as often in real situations that you see or read of a physician or hospital personnel personally involved in violence in a hospital environment. I always thought of a hospital as a "safe place," as somewhere you could go and someone would try to help you- a place where you didn't have to worry about violence. When I saw the episode in which Carter and Lucy were stabbed (and also when Dr. Greene was beaten), the "safe place" belief came into question, and I think that was what left me so disturbed. I've come to expect the doctors on ER to help fix up the wounds of people as a result of outside violence, not trying to survive wounds inflicted by patients while on duty in the ER. Just some musings... feel free to contribute, as I enjoy reading others' responses!

-- Sarah (, March 28, 2000


I agree, the violation of the "safe place" notion makes any injuries incurred there all the more disturbing...imagine if Carter had simply been in a car accident and had internal injuries or something...not as dramatic at all! I also agree, we like to see the doctors in the role of fixer, so when they become the fixee, it's hard.

Unfortunately, it seems that the writers have to resort to making doctors/nurses the patients to keep things interesting these days...there once was a time when it was the norm to care deeply about the patients who came in...the Herlihy baby who was in the car accident, the young athlete guy who had testicular cancer, the girl with Crohn's disease that Carter treated...I cared about these people (and others) more than anyone who's been in the ER lately.

(I just remembered that sometimes the doc-as-patient setup is sometimes used for tremendous comic relief, as when Carter took out Benton't appendix. Just a thought.)

-- nancy (, March 28, 2000.

sadly statistics show that violence in hospitals, on hospital staff is more common than people think. And I totally agree that the idea of a safe working environment was shattered with the stabbing, however i think it highlighted the fact that doctors can sometimes become patients because of the people they are trying to help.

-- laura (, March 28, 2000.

I agree with all of your comments. I still get freaked out when I watch it, even though by now I've seen the stabbing epi too many times to count! :) Here's something scary... A friend of mine works in a hospital, and a week or so ago hospital security came down (she was working late) and asked if she had seen a certain person. They described him, and my friend hadn't seen him. She asked why they were looking for him, and they said, "He's a psych patient, crazy as all get out, and he could be dangerous!" Of course, she had seen the stabbing epi, and was a tad freaked out. The next day, she had to go to the lounge to get a knife to cut a cake she had brought, and guess what the only knife she could find was? She was a little paranoid, and got the knife back as quickly as possible. I know "ER" is just a show, but how realistic, eh?

-- kristal (, March 28, 2000.

The points you made Sarah were all valid. The violence that's been going on in outside world is now making it's way into our "safe places"...our schools, hospitals, churches, whatever. It's is a sad fact, but it is real and it is disturbing.

-- Joy (, March 29, 2000.

Just an interesting note. We take for granted that a hospital is a "safe" place and put tremendous trust in drs. There is a theory that the trust we once placed in religion, we as a society have transfered to the medical system (know how we "beleive in" our dr.?). However, the reality is that mistakes and damage occur ALL THE TIME, in hospitals. The reality is that drs. are human, often times they are playing a guessing game trying to figure out what is wrong with a person. I recently saw stats that said something like 30% of all people who die in hospital turn out on autopsy to have had a wrong diagnosis (in other words, they missed what was wrong). Even with the best of intention, stuff happens. On any given day in the hospital, you see wrong meds. given, wrong charts taken, wrong pts. treated - it's frighteningly common. The best advice I have is - if you don't need to be in the hospital - DON'T.

-- Chava (, March 29, 2000.

people seem to think that medicine is an exact science IT ISN'T!! as mentioned above it is mostly a guessing game. Doctors rule out a diagnosis/ or rule one in by looking at symptoms. and the sad truth is that many illnesses have similar symptoms so doctors can only do there best.

-- laura (, March 30, 2000.

There has been increasing concern in Britain about attacks on hospital staff, even suggesting refusing to treat patients with a history of violence against staff without confining them. The British series Casualty (which has been running for about 10 years) has had so many attacks on staff I can't remember half of them. A nurse was raped, another shot, another stabbed, and another pushed off a balconey, all in the hospital. Indeed, the whole place was burned down once, and a doctor blown up!

-- Steph (, April 09, 2000.

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