Up For Grabs
Eileen worked in the computer room on the night shift. She would always amble down to the emergency room to buy a cup of coffee before the beginning of her shift. She was the only person in the I. T. area and didn’t like to make a pot of coffee for just herself. She would chat for a few minutes until her shift started before reporting to work.
The coffee pot in the emergency department sat on a stand at the end of long, narrow nurse’s lounge.
I got a page from the emergency room. When I answered, the nurse asked if I could come down, not explaining exactly why I was needed. She pointed to an exam room with the door closed. I gave her a look and she pointed again. “Eileen needs to talk to you.”
When I entered, Eileen was crying. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m gonna get fired!” she wailed. “They’re going to fire me.”
“Wait! Wait! What do you mean you’re going to get fired?” I asked. “What in the world happened?” Eileen was the most meek and timid person that I knew at the hospital. I could not imagine anything that she could have done to get herself fired.
She said, “I hit the Dr. Allen.”
“Okay?” And I paused. I didn’t know what else to say to her. I needed to hear more. I wanted to hear the details before I aid anymore.
She began to explain between her sobs, “I walked into the nurse’s lounge to get a cup of coffee. The doctor was sitting on a chair at the side of the room. He was the same doctor who brought his girlfriend in to visit at night. As I walked by him, he grabbed my leg behind my knee and I hit him on the top of his head with my coffee cup.” She had the two pieces of the cup in her hands. The coffee mug was one that had a cup nestled inside the other to make it insulated.
She explained that she was ex-army and any sudden noise, unexpected moves, or if she was touched when she wasn’t expecting it, she lashed out.
I chuckled and then explained, “You’re not in trouble. If anyone’s in trouble, he is. If he says anything, he could be accused of sexual harassment. He had no right to touch you in any way. You could even have him arrested for assault if he wants to complain. He’s not going to do anything. Dry your eyes and get back to work.”
Eileen thanked me later that night. She said, “I was so worked up and I was so afraid I would lose my job.”
The funny thing about the whole incident was the doctor walked around for several days with a reddened area across his scalp and a scrape on the top of his bald head. I wonder how he explained that to his girlfriend.
Several other odd occurrences in the hospital were traced back to him. It was found out later that this physician had bouts of manic depression and that explained why he would occasionally dial into the overhead paging system, flush the commode, and laugh hysterically before hanging up.