22 October 2011

Locked doors and what they mean...

So, I work in security. Specifically, I'm in Hospital Security, which is much like any other type of security, plus we get to deal with psych patients.

Every "Code" that's called, Security has to respond to. Each code corresponds with a color, and we have codes for just about everything. Fire, Security Needed (usually for a physically violent or aggressive patient), Bomb Threats, Bio Terrorism Attacks, Disasters (hurricanes [which will never be called as a disaster, since they're entirely too common down here], mass casualty incidents, tornadoes [which we don't get], earthquakes [which we don't get], decontamination situations) Chemical Spills, Active Shooters, Infant Abductions, and Cardio Pulmonary Arrest.

Now, I get the first eight, and why Security should be there, but the last one throws me. Cardio Pulmonary Arrest. I am (or was, until I let my certification expire) an EMT-Intermediate here in the state of Texas, but as far as my job at the hospital goes, I'm not allowed to do anything that could be termed "patient care", for obvious liability reasons.

The reason they give us for needing to show up to a Code Blue (which is Cardio Pulmonary Arrest), is that we need to be there for "crowd control". Now, when a Code Blue is called, nurses, doctors, patient care techs, unit secretaries, EKG techs, and respiratory techs from all over the hospital show up. There's no such thing as crowd control. The bed that the patient is in becomes the center of a hive of frenetic activity. People running around and doing stuff (which I won't detail) and shouting things and freaking out (in a controlled way, of course). They're there to make sure that the patient doesn't die, which is a good thing. A great thing, really.

When Security shows up to a Code Blue, 999 times out of 1000 we show up and stand around for a few minutes (out of the way, because nurses WILL shove you) and then take off. Every once in a few years we'll get a family member who's freaking out and needs to be controlled, but for the most part, we're just there for looks.

Now, on to the locked door thing mentioned in the title.

I showed up to a Code Blue yesterday, in a secure unit that has doors that automatically open when you scan your badge. The motors to the door opening mechanisms (and the locks) are electric, and they don't like being pulled on. Actually, they hate it. Let's go over the steps of what happens when someone pulls on the door.

1. Door is pulled from the outside. Door goes clunk, locked.
2. Door freaks out. It won't open unless you use your scan badge, or the emergency push bar inside.
3. Someone badges in properly, or pushes the "Door Open" button inside.
4. The door unlocks and opens just a little bit, and then hangs there for five seconds.
5. Both doors slowly open as the motors and sensors reset themselves, and then slowly close.

If this process is interrupted, it starts over. So when the door pops open and hangs for five seconds and someone yanks the door open, the system freaks out and starts over.

I was inside the unit yesterday for a Code Blue, and someone pulled the door, despite the hot pink sign just above the handle that says "DO NOT PULL ON THIS DOOR. USE THE BADGE READER.". The door clunked, like it's supposed to, and didn't open.

This is a good thing.

So I pressed the "Door Open" button from the inside, and the door popped open just a little bit, just like it's supposed to. A tech from the EKG department yanked the door open, and then stood there with her foot in front of the door so that it wouldn't close. She'd let it go, and then yank it open again at the last second to let someone else into the unit.

This makes my door (that Security is responsible for keeping locked and operational) sad. If someone does this enough, the electric motors that control the door openers will burn out, and then the doors won't open automatically at all. They'll have to order the parts, and the door will be on "manual operation" for at least a few days, if not weeks (which the nurses and doctors don't seem to understand). I get calls daily, sometimes hourly, asking why the doors aren't working, why we don't have the parts (we don't handle the physical maintenance of the doors, as it's done by a contract company), and why we don't just go buy the parts and fix it ourselves.

Needless to say, I was not happy.

So I told this tech to stop pulling on the door, to just let it close, that she was going to burn out the electric motors. She snapped at me, "I just held it because the patient's doctor is coming. You don't have to be all bitchy about it.".

Now...I understand that the patient's doctor was coming. I get that. The only problem with that, is that the EKG tech doesn't know every patient's doctor, and even if she did, I'd seen three doctors get turned away, because there was such an excess already.

What bothers me is that I explained what I needed her to do (or not do, in this case), and why. I didn't say "Take your god damned hands of my mother fucking door.", no. I just explained what I needed, and why I needed it.

If I said something like "You don't have to be all bitchy about it." to any person in this hospital with the possible exceptions of my fellow Security Officers, our Engineers, or some of the Emergency Room doctors and nurses (Hug an ER doc or nurse next time you see them, for they are awesome), I'd be written up and very probably fired.

I'm Security, so it's my job to be the bad guy and tell people no. When a patient wants to smoke in the room and the nurses can't convince them not to, I get the joyful task of taking their smoking items away. When someone wants to leave, but can't because they're on a psych hold, and they start getting violent, I get the job of helping to tie them to the bed. I step in and take the hits, I get complaints heaped upon my head because I'm the "bad guy", and I honestly don't mind these things. I kinda enjoy it, honestly. If I'm not getting complained on by patients and visitors, I'm probably not doing my job right.

What bothers me is that when I tell a staff member, who should know better than to pull on a door that SAYS IN LARGE BLACK LETTERS ON HOT PINK PAPER "DO NOT PULL ON THIS DOOR", not to pull on the door, because I'm trying to save her from having problems later on, I'm still the bad guy.




Also, we've got an entrance to the hospital that's locked on the weekends. The automatic opener on the sliding glass doors shuts down from the outside, unless you have a badge. On both of the doors, in fairly large print, are the hours for these doors. Under "Saturday and Sunday", there's a line that reads "Badge Access Only". These words are right at eye level, and there are signs posted at both entries of the parking lot to that effect, and yet people insist on walking up to the doors, staring at them like idiots, waving their hands at the sensor, and then pulling the doors open.

Then I get calls that the door is broken, as it won't open from the outside. When I explain that those particular doors aren't supposed to open from the outside, I get yelled at, because "That's a stupid rule." and "Who came up with that?" and "Well, I parked over there, and so I'm just going to use that entrance.".

And once again, because someone else did something stupid, I'm the bad guy.

I hate people sometimes...

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