Why Sadie's Daughter Almost Became A Patient


A middle aged woman walked up to the emergency department registration window and loudly announced that her mother was in the car and needed help.

Several people ran out to the car to assist the woman’s mother. It appeared that her mother was suffering from ATATPA. Unfortunately, she also weighed at least 300 pounds and … she was dressed in a nightgown.

The patient was awake and was looking around at everyone, but she wouldn’t get out of the car. We asked the daughter what was wrong with her and the daughter told us that her mother was moaning at home. Sadie, the patient, had suffered a previous stroke so she couldn’t talk to us, but she would moan and nod her head every once in a while. No matter what we said, Sadie wouldn’t get out of the car.

Sadie’s daughter had come back out to the car and loudly asked “Well? Isn’t someone going to help my mother?”

We couldn’t coax Sadie out of the car, so, after several minutes of trying to do so, one of the techs and one of the security guards grabbed Sadie by the arms, pulled her out of the car, and eased her onto the ground. Then we scooted her onto a backboard, lifted her onto a stretcher, and wheeled her into the emergency department.

Once Sadie was in the bed and her vital signs were taken, she moaned – just like the moan that she had while sitting in the car. Her daughter got up and stood next to her, rubbing her arm. Then she said,
“Can you believe that they dragged you onto the ground like that? How humiliating. Did that security guard hurt your arm? He did, didn’t he? I’ll have to have a talk with his supervisor.”

At that point, Sadie moaned again. This time I think it was from all the other people in the room simultaneously gritting their teeth.

I left a voice message with the security guard’s supervisor giving him a head’s up and letting him know that the security guard did everything right.

Still, the fact that we even have to worry about covering each others backs like this just goes to show you that sometimes you can’t win for losing.


  1. You’d get more feedback if you were a vet and were tending to a sick dog. I guess the next time she shows up, you could have an engine hoist on hand to lift her out of the car and rotate her giant self over onto a waiting gurney.

  2. When this happens we call 911 and the paramedics come (from across the street where the ambulance bay is) and they extract the patient.

    We are not covered by WorkSafe if we step outside the hospital so if I herniate a disc pulling someone out of a car then I am SOL.

    Only once have I actually pulled a guy out of a car and it was because he was in severe resp distress and I knew he was about to crash.

    Most of the time people like that are only suffering from the aptly termed ATATPA.

  3. So WC…. what was the outcome? Was there actually something acutely going on with her? Was it actually worth the risk of staff injury and the obvious complaint to administration, on top of the likely sounding lawsuit (err… truth seeking expedition that is)for the embarrassment and arm injury?
    Or was the family just wanting to have a night out unencumbered by having to take care of dear ole’ Mom? Please finish the story.. as best you can within HIPPA standards that is.
    I only ask as we see this ALL THE TIME.. and rarely is it anything in the end – other than ATATPA that is.

  4. Mama On A Budget on

    That pisses me off. Not you guys – the daughter.

    As the daughter of a (former – now passed-on) stroke patient, I could have found myself in the same situation. In fact, there were times where we’ve needed the help of a security guard to help get her out of a car or pulled back into her wheelchair if I hit a bump or something. The daughter was obviously confused… the correct call to the supervisor should have been, “Thank you.”

  5. If I were near, I would pat you guys on the back for doing what was best for the patient. Ignore the daughter’s chit-chat and know you did the right thing.

    @Albinoblackbear…we have similar worries as you. Sucks, doesn’t it?! When did our society let this happen?

  6. I worked at a place where we had a Hoyer lift and the staff could get most people out with one those. When they wheeled it out to the driveway, a lot of patients miraculously recovered because the thought of being lifted in that sling was just too embarrassing for them.

  7. I’m convinced America is trying to identify and surgically remove any and all reasons to find a career in medicine rewarding.

  8. when I was a resident in a big city, which will remain nameless, but think of car manufacturing, i had time to sit on the hospitals risk committee as part of my training. once we had a case where a security guard, who was an off duty cop, fired at and killed a patient relative in the parking lot because the relative had gotten into his car and tried to run down the doctor in the parking lot, then, being unsuccessful, tried to run down the security guards who were trying to apprehend him.

    Common sense to me indicates this is a good shooting. pat the guard on the back, say job well done, and everything goes on, right?

    Wrong. the guard was let go, disciplined by the hospital. the family filed a wrongful death suit (which is what i am sure brought on the guards termination). dont know the end result, but this speaks more for how lawyers are ruining america, aided by the entitlement culture that we have fostered

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