Two emergencies, lives saved at St. Clair Correctional Facility

Two emergencies, lives saved at St. Clair Correctional FacilityIt could be the nightmare of every manager to be woken up by a phone call telling you that a correctional officer (CO) at your facility has been stabbed several times. As the Health Services Administrator (HSA) for St. Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF) in Alabama, the first thing that rushed through my mind was, “Is my medical staff okay? Has anyone been injured?” In the middle of my ensuing rush to get to the facility, I was able to reach the night shift registered nurse (RN) on duty, who assured me that the medical staff was unharmed. When I arrived at the facility, I sat and listened in shock as two of my nurses described being locked in pill call while listening to the attack on the CO on the other side of the door. They had felt helpless. They told me that after the area had been secured, they were released from pill call and were escorted to where the critically injured officer lay bleeding. They immediately placed the CO on a backboard and rushed him to the infirmary, where EMS was activated. While the team waited for the ambulance to arrive, officers and medical staff worked together to save the life of the officer-turned-patient.

Shortly after, on the same day, a fight broke out in one of the blocks and several inmates were subsequently injured. All non-essential staff was cleared from the medical area, and the remaining healthcare staff members were all gloved, gowned, masked and shoes covered in preparation for the incoming inmate patients. From about 9:30 that morning until around 2:30 that afternoon, every healthcare professional on site worked diligently to stop bleeding wounds, assist in suturing or stapling lacerations, assess neurological status on every victim, make sure tetanus shots were given, ensure vital signs were stable and set up peripheral IV access for those patients who needed it.

After all was said and done, a total of twelve injured inmates were seen and treated. Every staff member gave it their all, from physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to registered nurses and licensed practical nurses – even the dental staff pitched in to help where needed. Every one of these team members deserve recognition for excellence in nursing, excellence in quick response to a potentially dangerous emergency situation, excellence in patient assessment and triage, and excellence in saving lives. I have never been more proud and thankful for the amazing team of healthcare professionals taking care of our patients at SCCF – a team who is a true picture of the Corizon Health Vision, Mission and SMART Values.

Submitted by Edwina Hamby, Health Services Administrator, St. Clair Correctional Facility