November 4, 2011, 11:15 AM ET
by Ashby Jones
The amount of settlement counts:
"In recent days, reports of sexual-harassment lawsuits have dogged the until-now surprisingly successful Herman Cain presidential campaign. And Cain’s people have conceded that they haven’t handled the flare-up with great aplomb.
But let’s pause for a moment to take a look at the law surrounding sex-harassment. As Brent Kendall and I wrote in this WSJ story, people often have many different behaviors in mind when they talk about sexual harassment, and a brief primer on the topic might help clear up a few things.
For starters, in the legal arena, making a successful sex-harassment case often hinges on whether the conduct is pervasive or serious enough to disrupt an employee’s work . . . " Read More
Friday, March 25th 2011, 4:00 AM
"Gruesome photos of a battered 4-year-old girl. Autopsy reports showing she was drugged. Twine used to tie her to a bed.
Prosecutors seeking homicide convictions for the two child welfare workers assigned to protect Marchella Brett-Pierce have several pieces of dramatic evidence - but the most damning are a few bogus computer entries.
Experts say caseworker Damon Adams' alleged attempt to cover up his failure to monitor Marchella could be a silver bullet for prosecutors.
Adams, 36, is accused of never visiting Marchella's Brooklyn home despite glaring warning signs - and fudging computer records to show he checked in on her in the months before she died.
What authorities described as record tampering shows that Adams "had an understanding of the nature of his failure to act and the potential consequences for it," said Paul Gentile, a former Bronx prosecutor. "That takes the DA a significant distance to proving his case."
"The false entry indicates that he knew that he blew it," said Shapiro. "That's the key." Read More
by Kevin Pho, MD
"Last fall, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital was shot by the distraught son of a patient for whom he was caring. The man later killed his mother, then himself. A week earlier, a patient in a Long Island, N.Y., hospital beat his nurse with a leg from a broken chair, causing serious injuries. The following month, a psychiatric technician at a Napa, Calif., state hospital was fatally attacked on the job.
This snapshot of violence against health care workers reflects a disturbing trend. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis published last year, almost 60% of assaults in the workplace occurred in a health care setting. Nearly three-quarters of these assaults were by patients or residents of a health facility."
No longer havens
"Health care settings have been traditionally thought of as “safe havens,” open to anyone as a place to be protected and cared for. This is a trend worth watching. The Joint Commission, a national accrediting agency, soberly noted last year that “health care institutions today are confronting steadily increasing rates of crime, including violent crimes such as assault, rape and homicide.”Violence is most common in psychiatric facilities and emergency departments, but can also be seen in waiting rooms, long-term care centers and critical care units."
"Nurses are the most frequent targets. According to a 2010 survey from the Emergency Nurses Association, more than half of ER nurses were victims of physical violence and verbal abuse, including being spit on, shoved, or kicked; one in four reported being assaulted more than 20 times over the past three years. The survey noted that the violence seemed to be increasing at the same time the number of alcohol-, drug- and psychiatric-related patients was rising. . . " Read More
Good morning, readers! Lots of changes recently, as I've officially retired, after 36 years, from clinical nursing, and am now devoting myself full time to consulting.
Forensics Talk will still continue though. I'm currently working on future posts, including one on nursing and workplace bullying, long over due, that I promised to write for a colleague.
Bullying has been in the public eye a lot recently. As bad as it is for kids to bully each other, one would think that adult professionals would know better, especially in the field of Forensic Nursing.
Since we treat victims of violence, why would we behave in such a manner towards each other? And, according to experts, whether recognized by hospital administrators or not, workplace bullying and harassment is a part of workplace violence.
But, unfortunately, it does happen in our field, as it does in any other area of nursing. It's been long known that bullying and harassment is rampant in the medical field. There's an old saying that Nurses tend to eat their young.
Unfortunately, as almost any nurse can tell you, it's very true. And it's not just the young. These days, elder nurses are being targeted too. Why? I'll be disclosing some documented reasons in the article. Sadly, nurses are probably among the least protected of employees.
While I'm still working on this article, I invite any medical professional to write, anonymously if they wish, and share their story or feelings on this matter. Just write to my email address listed in this blog. I will do my best to include as many as I can in the article - which, at this point, looks to be a long one.
In California, after a transit cop and an unruly train passenger slammed against a wall during a struggle and shattered a station window last fall, video from a bystander's cell phone was all over the Internet before the window was fixed.
The same cell phones, surveillance cameras and other video equipment often used to assist police are also catching officers on tape, changing the nature of police work -- for better and worse.
Some say cameras are exposing behavior that police have gotten away with for years. But others contend the videos, which often show a snippet of an incident, turn officers into villains simply for doing their jobs, making them targets of lawsuits and discipline from bosses buckling to public pressure.
"We tell our officers all the time you've got to assume that everything you do is going to be videotaped," said Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis. "Everyone has a cell phone and almost every cell phone has a camera."
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said the video her office gave to the media on Tuesday shows police officer James Mandarino, from the Chicago suburb of Streamwood, hitting motorist Ronald Bell 15 times after a traffic stop last month. . ." Read More
Although the court cautioned that not all
disability-induced misconduct should be seen as protected, it ruled
that the law protects "manifestations" of a mental or physical
disability just as it protects the disability itself (Gambini v. Total Renal Care, opinion in PDF format; HR.BLR.com, Jun. 11; Workplace Law Prof, Jun. 15).
For more on the Ninth Circuit and disabled-rights law, including some misconduct cases, see Oct. 7 and Oct. 14, 2003; Oct. 12 and Dec. 6, 2006, Mar. 23, 2007. For a contrasting Massachusetts case, see Jun. 28, 2006.
The pattern of injuries involved with domestic violence (DV) or interpersonal violence (IPV) typically involve facial injuries as the most common site of injury. A study in the Journal Of The Royal Society of Medicine showed that out of 539 adult victims of assault, 83% of all fractures, 66% of all lacerations and 53% of all hematomas were facial.
were the next most common sites of injury. Punching (72%) and kicking
(42%) were the most common methods of assault. Only six percent
involved any use of weapons. Out of all the types of inuries, those who
were kicked required the most hospitalizations. The numbers are very
similar to those found here in the U.S. as well.
This is what you're generally going to see when IPV is involved. Punching, beating, kicking and choking are classic mechanisms of injury found in domestic violence. It is mostly male against female, although females can be abusive as well.
However, the guys are bigger and stronger and when they hit, they tend to go for the face first. The face doesn't have the underlying fat and tissue to help protect it, like the rest of the body, so the injuries tend to show up quicker(and be bloodier). What we would expect to see is any of the following:
Gripping and punching of the arms is next. If bruises aren't
apparent yet, there are usually red marks showing on the upper arms.
There are often imprint marks from the fingers gripping the victim's
Kicking is usually done while the victim is down. Bruising, abrasions, red marks or pattern marks from the shoe are usually observable.
Strangulation is characterized by closing off either the blood vessels to the brain or the airway or both. In DV situations, strangulation is usually from the front, done by gripping the victim's throat. On the other hand, a choke hold is done from behind with one arm going across the victim's anterior throat, compressing the carotid arteries and veins.
The usual purpose of a choke hold is to render the opponent unconscious. It's usually committed by males against other males. It's not commonly used against females, except in domestic violence situations.
"Choking is a form of power and control. When batterers attempt to strangle their victims, they are taking away their voice and preventing them from screaming for help."-- Casey Gwinn, San Diego, City Attorney.**
The choke hold frequently leaves no visible injuries. In fact, often the visible injuries are on the batterers arms, from the victim trying to break the hold by digging deeply into his arms with her fingernails.
There are four mechanisms involved with injuries from a choke hold:
It takes only 11lbs. of pressure, held bilaterally for 10 seconds, to cause the victim to become unconscious.
If applied to a person under stress during a struggle, a
strangle may make the person unconscious almost immediately, while it may take
several seconds for a calm person to pass out.**
If released, consciousness returns in about 10-20 seconds.
If held for 50 seconds, damage is usually irreversible.
Death occurs at 1-2 minutes.
Policemen are no longer allowed to use this type of restraint against a strong, violent male prisoner due to the deaths that have occurred as a result of the compression on the airway.
It takes only 4 lbs. of pressure to obstruct the jugular veins.
To make a comparison:
It takes 6 lbs. of pressure to pull the trigger of a gun.
It takes 20lbs. of pressure to pull the tab on a soda can.
This is one of the biggest problems I had with the Duke accuser's original complaint. What was the purpose? We're talking about a 150 lb. impaired woman being held in a choke hold by a very tall, athletic player weighing in at around the 200lb. mark. The alcohol is a central nervous system* depressant. The Felxeril is a central nervous system* depressant.
CNS depressants can cause respiratory depression. The compression from the choke hold not only can cause unconsciousness in about 10 seconds, but can also cause respiratory depression. She said she was fighting and it was hard for her to breathe. For how long? Logically, in my opinion, she should have fallen unconscious even before she could have been fighting.
While the choke hold may not cause visible injuries, it can cause non-visible injuries such as laryngeal injuries and swelling, Hyoid bone fractures, a hoarse or raspy voice, and trouble swallowing. Since the accuser's complaints were in the initial police report, a strangulation form should have been filled out by the SANE nurse stating what injuries were noted. This is required for all complaints of strangulation / choking if evidence is found*. I would also have expected xrays to be done to check for internal injuries.
What I find interesting is not only the accuser's complaints so closely resembling those usually found in Domestic violence, rather than in this type of rape, but also the fact that there doesn't appear to be any such injuries anyway. At least, I haven't read of any so far.
No bruises, abrasions, tears, split lips, black eyes, pattern marks, hoarse voice, trouble swallowing....the list goes on. I have read of neck and back pain. I've also read that she has a chronic pre-existing condition involving neck and back pain.
Too many questions. Not enough answers.
I am re-printing one of my first blog posts concerning the Duke Lacrosse case. This is originally from my Xanga site before I switched to Typepad.The views presented below were my first impressions I got from reading the copy of the police report on the Smoking Gun site.
After reading that report, alot of questions were popping up in my head. Things just didn't add up. The whole thing just didn't seem to make any sense. Many changes have occurred in the months since that post, yet my initial reaction - that gut feeling that tells you that something just isn't right, hasn't changed.
On the surface, the Duke Lacrosse case may appear similar to all the other gang rape situations on campuses across the country. The fraternities and privileged athletic teams, the arrogance, the sense of entitlement - all of which appear to be involved in campus rapes.
This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed and those who commit the crimes should be held accountable, no question.
However, looking below the surface, I believe there are too many differences in this particular case and too many things that just don't add up.
Certified Forensics Nurse Examiner and Independent Consultant