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Funniest Nursing Stories
Brewing Up the Solution

I passed by a patient’s room and heard, “HEY! NURSE! HELP!” Mind you, everyone was nearby, but I was the only one who stopped what I was doing and came in the room to tend to his needs. Once I was in, I saw that the patient was out of bed, about 10 feet away, his IV tubes and lines were pulling, one was already out, and he left a trail of blood on the floor. I immediately spoke loudly in my calmest and motherly voice as possible and asked, “Hey, whatcha doin’ out of bed? Where you goin’? You need to go back or you will fall.” Usually this works, but he was the size of a football player and he was already fuming mad. He yelled, “No!” Then he threw the IV pole at me. I ducked and called for help. All the rest of the nursing staff came running in. One called the doctors and another called security for back up. The security came in holding the patient back in bed, while his nurse and I tried to calm him down and fix him up. The patient turned out to be mentally confused from all the medications overtime. He would not listen to reason until he got some beer. He kept yelling, “I WANT MY BEER!!!” The hospital is against restraining as possible. Next thing I know, a security officer came back with a bottle of beer. I went back to what I was doing. I walked by this room again and looked in. At the door frame, I was witnessing this patient chugging a bottle of beer as the nurse at his bedside was putting back in his IV. I thought to myself, “Why doesn’t the nurse just tie a tourniquet around his arm and inject Heroine for him?”

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10 Responses to “Brewing Up the Solution”

  1. Bonnie Says:

    I have to wonder how it is that security produced a beer so fast while in a hospital…

  2. Amanda Says:

    they serve beer to alcoholics… they have it in the hospital believe it or not.

  3. socretes3 Says:

    We had a patient once who had beer ordered by his doctor. They didn’t tell me at first though (I was a CNA) and I was shocked that the guys son kept bringing him tallboys from the

  4. Laura Says:

    We have it ordered sometimes, too, to prevent them from detoxing and going into DTs. We even get little medicine bottles from pharmacy with whiskey! Perhaps this man was confused because he was detoxing. Little old ladies can get confused violent like that, too, if they don’t get their daily cocktails — give her some alcohol and she’s back to sweet little grandma! However, just because a physician orders beer doesn’t mean family can keep bringing beer… just like family can’t bring his ativan from home and give him extra doses even if he’s getting it in the hospital.

    Good question about security producing beer so fast! Doesn’t an MD have to order that extra “dose”?

  5. Kelly Says:

    Maybe I am missing something, but this is not a “funniest nursing story.” Not only is this an increaingly common situation due to the number of patients that consume alcohol regularly to the point that they literally and unintentionally begin to detox while in the hospital, this is a very unsafe situation for both the patient and the staff. As an ED nurse for many years, I have seen almost everything and have a cynical side, however this is a classic example of a patient that is high risk for injury and complications. And that is no laughing matter.

  6. Mr Ian Says:

    Hang on.
    Is this a hospital we’re talking about or a prison?

    Did the patient give up some rights for being medically unwell?

    If he was an alcoholic in detox – didn’t he order up the best medicine for himself?

    The OP stated he was in a state of iatrogenic
    delirium – so he was already intoxicated.

    After getting the beer he settled down.
    What’s the problem?

    And who says you can’t bring your own Ativan in?
    It’s not advisable to take pills without telling the medical team. I don’t know of a law that precludes a patient from supplying their own legally permissible medications.
    I know hospitals make these conditions of entry – but on what real grounds?
    It’s just blanket bans that hospitals like to have – like no use of cell phones as it interferes with equipment. Baloney.
    Set visiting hours – because the patients need to rest. Tosh.

    Even in our secure psych unit if a patient wants to purchase and take supplements – we don’t stop them unless there’s a psychopharmocological reason not to.

    Yet in a normal open medical ward – a patient can’t have a beer cos it wasn’t ‘prescribed’?

    What happens at meal times?
    Does his mashed potato have to be prescribed?
    And what if he’s diabetic – is he allowed to ask his family to bring in cookies?

    Just because a physician doesn’t order something – doesn’t mean the patient is not allowed it.
    It just means the nurses can’t give it.
    Even if it’s a bad decision – that’s the patient’s prerogative.

  7. AmyJohnsonRN Says:

    I’m confused as to why its funny that he got a beer… doctors prescribe them all the time, I know I’d rather have my patient get a beer or two rather than go into detox and seize or something.

    Odd story, sounds dangerous that his nurse wasn’t watching him well enough to not know he was enragged, out of bed, and tearing out IV’s.

  8. Patti Says:

    I discovered a new use for vodka on the unit. It takes out the smell of vomit from anything! I wondered why it was in the peds unit. The head nurse explained the little ones can’t wait all night and day to get their favorite blanket or animal back. They hand wash them in diluted vodka, then soap, and a good rinsing out and there is no nasty smell. However, the bottle is locked away where it isn’t seen.

  9. MarineToRN Says:

    “I thought to myself, “Why doesn’t the nurse just tie a tourniquet around his arm and inject Heroine for him?””

    Good God. There’s a huge difference between a beer and mainlining heroin.

    I’ve had several patients prescribed “alcoholic beverage of choice”. Beats the heck out of getting an IV pole thrown at me.

    I’ve also had patient go through withdrawal (alochol, and xanax). It ain’t pretty. I’d much rather give ’em a shot.

  10. MARY Says:

    You know, after thirty five years in the nursing profession, I am still amazed by the lack of plain common sense and superior, “uppity” attitude by medical personel. If a beer helped, then a beer it is. Seems that Haldol is more preferable to most nurses’ sense of decorum to a plain ol’ beer.

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