“This is not your business, don’t interfere.”
Were the last words I heard from a patient’s husband before he took a swing at a nurse with his sickle knife. Let’s call him B (for Bastard?). He didn’t hurt anyone and the ensuing melee with his friends resulted in my glasses getting broken and him needing stitches after he fell and hit his head (he had been drinking so in retrospect tackling him to the ground was a poor idea). The nurse was fine and basically went home for the day.
What was our business?
Well a woman came in on Thursday with a blow out fracture of the orbit, broken forearm and ribs. I figured she had fallen out of an autorickshaw because that’s what falling out of one looks like. I was a bit suspicious about the lack of road rash but I have treated patients from such falls without one. So we gave her a CT-Scan (head) and admitted her for a few days till we were sure about the skull injury. The woman herself gave no indication of what was to come.
The next day this man shows up and a fight ensues. He spends 3 hours being stalled by the nurses until the doctors in charge (me for admission, the rad and the ortho) show up. We talk to him as to why he was agitated and we try and calm him down. And then we realise what’s happened.
Her husband hit her and caused this. He was afraid she would tell us what had really happened. In his fear he lashed out at us. His friends quickly joined in. They quickly ran off after he fell over.
He is currently in custody but we don’t expect him to stay for long, but we are hoping she leaves him. What happened was that the nurse broke the cardinal rule of abuse. Don’t get in between an abuser and the abusee unless you have back up or else the situation can get dangerous. She was lucky we were near enough to respond. It sounds terrible but this is sound advice. If you see abuse, catalogue it and call the police. Interfering may get you hurt just as badly and leave two victims rather than just one. If you can interfere properly then do so but it is a job for the police.