December 14, 2015


I wish to ask a question about an incident which happened to my husband a few months ago in a NYC hospital. He had been out with friends and unfortunately was rather intoxicated at the end of the night and tripped getting into a taxi and gashed his head badly. His friends called an EMT who took him to a public hospital in the city. By the time I arrived there he had been sedated because they wanted to do a head CT scan (ok). This was all clear and whilst waiting for him to wake up a nurse arrived to suture his head wound. She commenced immediately & as he was confused on waking - were am i? - what are you doing to my head? instead of explaining to him she immediately re-sedated him so she could carry on suturing uninterrupted. Whilst i now live in America, I am a British trained nurse and I am all too aware that giving benzodiazapines to a heavily intoxicated person is highly dangerous and potentially fatal. There appeared to be no clinical indication for sedating him. in my opinion she should have simply spoken to him to explain what she was doing and then given him lidocaine to anesthetize the wound while suturing. I gave my opinion & was forcibly removed so she could continue


I believe it is standard practice to do a BAC when a patient is brought into the ER with an alcohol-related injury. Given that he was not harmed as a result of sedation, there would be no point in pursuing a malpractice case, however, It would have been better to speak with the attending physician who wrote the order, instead of the nurse who was just carrying it out. Was your husband also receiving IV fluids? I can understand your concern, but before you make a formal complaint, you should probably obtain a copy of the chart and see all that was done. There are situations where benzodiazepines are actually used to treat alcohol withdrawal.

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