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Mandated CPR On Inmates: Good Or Not So Good?

 

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Small 986654 maniac 12 posts

its mandated here. It has been ever since I started, almost 6 years ago. Not once in that time have I heard of a CO not starting CPR. Now I have heard several times on the radio, “housing unit# contact medical and have them respond immediately”. Our medical isnt the fastest responders. We are issues masks that have a one way valve, but there is also an inflateible sealing ring like the ambu-bag masks have. These masks can be attached to the bag if needed. but the little stem used to inflate the ring is easy to break. In about a year I have broken about 2 or 3. Not from use, but from general abuse from being on my duty belt. As for me personally. I think I would be one to start CPR. I know the risks involved, but I also know that I’m the kind of person that would HAVE to do something in that situation. Guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

 
Female user Kellie 14 posts

We are all CPR certified….we have done CPR on a numberof inmates….I will venture to say that staff will start CPR if there is an issue…..everyone spouts off that they will not do CPR, I have never seen anyone refuse. There are masks that you can carry with one way valves that protect you. I suggest that you get one and have it available. If you choose not to start CPR…you have live with yourself!!!

 
Female user blondeco 4 posts

Interesting convo. I work in a prison…..and all staff is trained in CPR….it is mandated here. We at first balked at having to save an Inmates life. Our version of CPR was, tap him a few times with our foot, and radio for medical to respond. But, everyone at the facility I work at, have come understand why we are mandated to give CPR. We have masks, and now that the Red Cross has changed the standards of CPR…..more chest compressions than mouth to mouth, it has made the idea of giving CPR easier for all of us to handle. Because, like everyone else, we went to work disease free, we want to leave the same way. We know the conditions we work in, yet we also have to accept the responsiblity of the position. To some people, its just a “job”, to others, it is a career choice. I have had to respond to many situations since I work in the “lock down” unit and suicide attempts run high there. I have had to save many Inmates lives. That is my job and my duty. Some die, some you save. This job is not for everyone. We know the risks we take every day when we walk into a prison. That main gate closes behind us and the ratio is basically 1 C/O to every 120-150 Inmates. Giving CPR is just another risk we take.

 
Female user PrisonRN 4 posts

Well, I don’t know what the RN’s make where you live, but that stinks! Honestly, you guys don’t get near the credit you’re deserved.

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

“And I’m sure you must make near what an RN makes! "- PrisonRN

Not really. About $5 less an hour than starting pay for an RN here.

 
Female user PrisonRN 4 posts

Really the only training we get is some self defense tactics, some gang related information and how Inmates can be manipulative, etc. I was there 3 years before they sent me to the training! So far I’ve been lucky and have had no problems. After being a staff nurse for 6 years, I an now a Nurse Manager, so I don’t deal too much with the Inmates like I used to. And the rules at our prison our CLEAR-any staff other than custody DOES NOT go anywhere near an altercation with an Inmate. That is for custody staff only. As a matter of fact, when they call a code for custody to respond, all civilian staff better get out of the way or they will bowl you over!! The only time they want medical around is after the area is secure if anyone needs medical attention. And I’m sure you must make near what an RN makes! LOL Our CO’s do pretty good depending on how long they’ve been in.

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

“With all due respect, the comment about medical standing around while there is a man down alarm bothered me. Unfortunately we are not trained to respond to those types of things but CO’s ARE trained to do CPR.” -PrisonRN

With all due respect, the nurses in our department recieve the exact same un-armed self defense classes that the CO’s do, annually, just like the CO’s. So it is disheartening to see medical stand around during a man-down alarm. And in a way I’m glad it bothered you. If you don’t have that training, how do you feel safe working around inmates? You should push for that training if you don’t get it now, it may save your or someone else’s life someday. And I’ll bargain with you, give me an Ambu Bag and I’ll be glad to give CPR to anyone as well. I don’t want a crappy disposable mask, give me the same equipment the medical staff is going to be using, and I wouldn’t have any problem with it. Upping me to RN’s pay would be great too. lol

 
Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

LOL! You ain’t rambling. It’s a treat to have a new post to read!

I agree that not everyone can grasp the concept of working in a prison. It’s totally different than working on the outside where you can just do your job and take a medical complaint at face value. Even I often have a “brown eyed” outlook when an inmate complains about something, but I’ll contact medical about his complaint. Sometimes he has a legitimate medical condition that I’m not aware of.

 
Female user PrisonRN 4 posts

Thank you for understanding what I was trying to get at. I certainly meant no disrespect toward CO’s. You guys have a very stressful job that I couldn’t do. It’s stressful enough working in medical with Inmates, although I do love my job. And I completely understand that security comes first. Life or death situation or not, medical is NOT allowed to enter any area that is not secure. Everyone that works in medical knows that and some nurses don’t stay at the job because they can’t understand that concept. However, no matter what, we have to remember we work in a prison with criminals (the majority of which have an infectious disease). I don’t judge them (hence my posting about CO’s at least starting CPR. After all, they are human beings), but I know their games and what some of them are capable of. I have been in corrections for 9 yrs and I have to say that in those 9 yrs, I have learned just as much from custody staff as I have from medical staff. You may not get much respect from the community (Ex: prison “guards”-which by the way I was corrected on that my first DAY at the prison! LOL), but you have respect from the majority of the medical staff. Thank you for protecting us and always ensuring our safety at work. Our job would certainly be a lot harder if we didn’t have your help and cooperation! I’m getting off of the subject here, so let me stop rambling!

 
Riot helmet Mick 307 posts

Like Mudflap has has already said the main thing for an Officer is their personal security. The first thing I would be on the look out for would be has the prisoner been used as a decoy to get an Officer in a vulnerable position ie: giving CPR. Most civilian medical staff would not even consider the possibility of an ambush while tending to a patient. Also the is the fact that the majority of inmates I deal with would be drug addicts. And so the possibility of a communicable disease is exponentially much higher than the likelihood of a member of staff.

 
Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

I agree with PrisonRN about doing SOMETHING, even if it’s compressions with no breaths. With that said, I wouldn’t start CPR before the area was secure, and medical staff would probably be there by then.

Depending on what’s going on, our medical staff will usually get out of the way if things go “bad”, and (personally) that’s how I prefer it. Medical staff shouldn’t get involved with security issues (when it isn’t necessary) because they have their hands full with medical issues… not to mention the extra paperwork if they’re involved in a use of force. But that’s an issue for a different thread.

With inmates being certified in CPR, it stands to reason they would be more apt to jump in when needed because they would be more confident about not getting blind sided, especially with their buddies (and even CO’s) there to protect their back.

I’m confident that, when the need arises, the custody staff at my institution will do what they need to do. The most necessary response often comes from the least likely source.

 
Female user PrisonRN 4 posts

Our CO’s are trained in CPR but will not perform it if needed. They are also trained in Blood Borne Pathogens and know how to protect themselves. I understand that CO’s and medical look at Inmates differently, but all the units would need to have available is a disposable mouth protector so that CPR can just be initiated until medical arrives. If one fo their fellow co-workers needed CPR, I’m sure they wouldn’t hesitate to do what needed to be done. But keep in mind, ANYONE can have HIV, Hepatitis or any number of infectious diseases, just as other health care workers can. You can’t assume that just because you work with the person or know them that they are not putting you at risk for infectious diseases in a case like that. You take the same precautions with everyone, regardless. For God’s sake, at least do chest compressions. With all due respect, the comment about medical standing around while there is a man down alarm bothered me. Unfortunately we are not trained to respond to those types of things but CO’s ARE trained to do CPR. Any lay person can be trained in CPR. You don’t have to be medically trained to learn these potentially lifesaving measures. And I will say that God forbid I ever saw a CO that I work with in a life threatening situation with an Inmate, believe me or not, I would do whatever I could to help him or her, even if it meant risking injury to myself. People help each other and try to save lives if they have to, Inmates or not. This is a tough field to work in and I have all respect for CO’s, but we need to work together .

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

Now if we can get them to let us do the compressions with our feet….

 
Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

We now have the option of CPR without giving breaths.

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

Wondered how long it would take for a medical person to pop in on this one. We DO have 24/7 medical at our institution, and they are tested all the time to have a <3 minute response time to any medical emergency. Yes we ARE at risk every day from all of the things you mentioned, as are you, but would you be jumping into any of those potentially dangerous situations without the proper protection or training? Not likely. I am not a medical professional, and have no desire to be, just like most medical has no desire to do the C/O’s job. A C/O should NOT be disciplined for not performing medical procedures on inmates, just as you will never see medical getting disciplined for not responding to a man down alarm, as they stand around while one is happening.

 
Female user JAILRN 3 posts

Our officers are CPR Certified. Whether they would actually take any action if the need arose is another question. I think they should be required to respond when medical personnel are not available. We do not have 24/7 medical here. Proper training is a must, and any officer who doesnt know how to reduce his/her risks should take a quick stroll to the medical department for answers. Mind you, as correctional officers you are at risk everyday of your employment to being exposed to HIV, AIDS, HEP, MRSA, Scabies….... Why is this so hard for most (not all) officers to understand. Education is key.

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

Must be nice. I guess that once a year training they give us makes us “trained medical responders”. So now they can discipline us for not helping. If Ohio was half as tough on the felons as they are on the Officers, it would be a great place to work.

 
Riot helmet Mick 307 posts

With us it is the opposite situation. If we as “Untrained Medical Staff” even attempted to get involved other than the most basic treatment we would get a severe bollixing from management for “Endangering the inmate”.

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

That’s what most of the officers argument in Ohio involved as well. We have medical staff who are professionals in dealing with these types of situations, and have the proper equipment. You will not find a nurse performing mouth to mouth, but rather using an Ambu bag, just like the officers have asked for. Instead they gave us disposable one way masks we are fully expected to use and they give us a CPR certification class in our inservice training once a year. They have drills all the time to show our nurses/medical staff can respond to these types of situations in a very timely manner, yet if we’re not jumping in and already have it going, we could face discipline. I don’t mind helping, I just want to be safe myself, give the officers the same type of protection you give the medical staff, that’s all.

 
Riot helmet Mick 307 posts

This is why we have Medical Officers. They are trained in the in the use of the portable Defibrillator’s and M.A.R.S. equipment (Mobile Artificial Respirator System). We have always at least 5 Medical staff in the prison at any time. So if there is a need for medical intervention they deal with it.

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

Where most Officers have a problem with this is exactly what Mick brought up. It is no secret HIV and Hepatitis are rampant within the correctional setting. A simple solution to this would be to provide the Officers with Ambu bags, just like are used when the medical professionals take over on the scene. I would have no problem performing the CPR using an Ambu bag instead of the normal mouth to mouth. Our institution provided officers with disposable CPR masks, but officers are still uncomfortable with this. The Ambu bags would eliminate the need for mouth to mouth of any kind, and most likely officers would be less hesitant about performing CPR in this manner. They are rather inexpensive and could be issued in every area of the institutions.

 
Riot helmet Mick 307 posts

Lets assume your are performing CPR on an inmate and are giving him mouth to mouth. Then due to what ever reason he coughs or spits blood into your mouth. Now most of the inmates that I work with have either HIV or one of the Hepatitis virus’s. How do you explain to your wife/girlfriend that you have either to wait for the all clear or that you now have one of the above because you wanted to play “Hero” and save a Dirt Bird. I would rather face a deceased inmates family rather than commit Biological Suicide.

 
Male user countyCO 1 post

WOW! I hope doctors and nurses in the ER don’t ever feel like that. Folks, isn’t it part of what we get paid for; because inmates/prisoners are the State, County, or Institutions (our employers) responsibility? Why do suicide watch on at-risk prisoners then, should we just let prisoners check on them too? Also, if we choose not to perform CPR on an inmate, how does one put into words to the family of the deceased how I as a Correctional Officer, stood by and chose to ensure their son or daughters death. Besides that, CPR is relying more and more heavily on chest compressions then giving breaths anyways (it’s getting simpler). I know this sounds very harsh, but if Corrections is going to get a good name in the public’s eye, it’s going to come from professionalism and doing one’s moral duty; not standing around and watching someone die cuz it “ain’t my job to save em”!

 
Lion Comfortably ... 154 posts

Personally believe it should be the individuals choice wether or not to perform CPR. Why not offer CPR certification to inmates? I’m sure more of them would be more likely to be willing to do CPR on a fellow inmate than any staff would.

 
Male user keyman 3 posts

We are “mandated here” almost anything mandated from the state cant be good.

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