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Stunned Guns and Patient Care?

The Allentown Morning Call reported Federal and State authorities are investigating Lehigh Valley Hospital’s use stun guns against patients under their care. The Lehigh Valley Hospital board approved the use of stun guns in 2007. Their rationale was to protect the health and safety of everyone on hospital property. Since 2008, stun guns were used on four patients-one was agitated patient, who had received medication for anxiety and psychosis, and was stunned by an approaching security person for refusing to remain in his room. The Pennsylvania Department of State’s report also noted that “no documented evidence that restraints or seclusion were implemented prior to the use of the Taser.” Not surprisingly-they didn’t tell their families!

The Pennsylvania Department Health concluded that "The use of Taser, stun gun or like weapons against patients is not permitted." CMS spokeswoman Lorraine Ryan, was quoted as saying "By using a Taser, a weapon, you are basically denying a patient’s safety and their rights." The Morning Call reported that Lehigh Valley Hospital “plans to discuss the use of stun guns with state officials, with the hope of being able to resume use of the weapons when appropriate.”

As both a nurse and a human being, I find this outrageous. Hospital safety also includes that of all their patients, including unruly ones. Patient’s Rights always need to be protected.

See the full story at :,0,330251,full.story

A copy of the Department of State’s report can be found at their website.

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