Signs: My Story

By: Kip Teitsort

Signs: My Story from Kip Teitsort on Vimeo.

My name is Kip Teitsort. I am a husband, a father, a veteran paramedic and police officer. I am also the founder of DT4EMS. 
I founded DT4EMS to protect victims of workplace violence in medicine. This has not been easy. For nearly a decade I was ridiculed by my peers for claiming violence was an epidemic in medicine. No one wanted to listen about the need to change the culture.

No one, that is, until they were victimized by assault. No other profession accepts criminal assault as “part of the job” except medicine. I know this due to having my ambulance violently car-jacked while I was in the back with a “patient.”
After years of ridicule, persistent hard work has  led to me being named a subject matter expert on this important topic.  Our classes are being offered in hospitals, fire departments, colleges and EMS agencies across the country. DT4EMS’ EVE (“Escaping Violent Encounters”) course has also been named as “industry best practice” by risk management and safety consultants.
Gary and Ruth Namie define workplace bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work or some combination of the three.” Source  The National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)defines workplace violence as “violent acts directed toward persons at work or on duty.” Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting. Source

Notice that NIOSH did not say “unless you are on duty” or “if you are in health care”.

Why is violence against health care professionals an epidemic and no one cares?

In health care, we tend to think of everybody we are called to serve as “patients,” and we provide them with special treatment.  As we do so, we often forget that we treat patients with their consent, except in very narrow circumstances.  We haven’t made the connection – when a patient exerts purposeful violence toward a health care provider, they have expressly withdrawn their consent for treatment.  They have ceased to be a patient and have become an “attacker” – a criminal committing assault, batter, or worse.  We should back off – but we don’t.

Yes, there are some patients that exhibit “violent” behavior.  The purposeless flailing of a demented elderly person, the person suffering from hypoxia or profound hypoglycemia.  We call them “combative,” but they are not.  “Combative” by definition is purposeful behavior.  They are simply flailing around in distress – and those patients should be treated using appropriate techniques, including physical or chemical restraint.  Attackers – that’s another story.  Back off and “escape the violent encounter.”

In the health care community, lack of understanding the difference between a “patient” and an attacker causes:

1)Our failure to report incidents to law enforcement or supervisors.

2)A mistaken belief that being attacked on duty is “just part of the job.”  (It is not!)

3) Mocking or teasing of those who report violent encounters by senior andfellow health care providers.

4)  A reluctance to report these crimes to the appropriate authorities.

DT4EMS training provides staff the ability to recognize a change in a relationship. The critical thinking skills for when a person is no longer a patient. Read ABOUT US

You can help us make emergency medicine better, safer for those that follow us. Tell someone about DT4EMS and Escaping Violent Encounters!