A trial in Springfield, Missouri, that began yesterday underscores the dangers, sometimes deadly, that hospital staff and security face regularly in the emergency room.
On August 2, Jeffrey Bolden was taken to Cox North hospital after sustaining a bite from a police dog, reports the Springfield News-Leader. Police had been chasing Bolden on foot after they received a domestic disturbance call. Inside the ambulance and the hospital, Bolden acted aggressively and erratically toward paramedics and hospital staff, including masturbating at one point.
But Bolden then "zeroed in" on hospital security guard Monte Ruby when he entered the area, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and a "Benedict Arnold." According to the paper, Bolden knew Ruby and made comments about his daughter's suicide in 1999.
Events turned physical when Ruby tried to restrain Bolden.
Bolden had been handcuffed to the sides of his hospital bed, and Price said Ruby restrained Bolden by pressing the side of Bolden's head into the pillow -- a move Price said she didn't consider abusive.
When Ruby moved away, Price said Bolden kicked Ruby in the back of the head with his injured right leg.
Officers swarmed to restrain Bolden, Price testified. Ruby returned and applied a "pressure point" technique to control Bolden but then collapsed into the arms of two nurses as he tried to leave the emergency room.
Ruby, 62, was transported to Cox South with injuries to the spine and brain stem. He died Aug. 6.
Bolden is currently on trial for second-degree murder and assault. Defense attorney Clate Baker claims that Bolden acted in self-defense after police released a dog on him while he was hiding under a brush pile and that the pressure point tactic Ruby used on his client resulted in a scratch to his neck. Baker also argued that Ruby did not die from Bolden's kick but from the stress of Bolden's words, which led to a stroke.
The trial continues today.
For more on what hospitals can do to create a safe and secure emergency room, read Associate Editor Laura Spadanuta's June 2008 cover story, "Saving Lifes Securely."
♦ Photo by Rosser321/Flickr