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Citizen journalism - trial by social media

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by FragileGlass, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. FragileGlass

    FragileGlass Active Member

    For the past week I have been stressed to the max, pouring over Facebook, Twitter and local news outlets in absolute fear that someone posted a captured video of a violent exchange between a patient and I. Before the interaction occurred I had to warn people in the Emergency Room of hospital policy to not use camera phones due to Privacy and Confidentiality act of our Health Care system. There were half a dozen phones aimed towards the room.

    After the situation was finally under control. I noticed someone was still videotaping the situation and had no context of my patients behaviour in the previous 5 days. It was Day Number 6 of a psychiatric hold in a secured room for this person. The man is a PTSD sufferer with dementia. It's a violently explosive and emotionally exhaustive combination.

    From the outset, I am a physically fit 43 year old male, strong with a commanding presence. My patient 72 year old male with tendency to self harm or hurt others. I'm aware that it looks terrible and unfair to the patient.

    I would not hold up emotionally to being labelled a violent bully to this man by arm chair critics and Trial by Social Media as I already feel horrible. There have been so many interactions, almost every half hour or more. Because of the repeated interactions, I can feel that my interactions are emotionally tearing this man down. It's not a good feeling to know you're breaking a fellow humans sense of strength and spirit.

    I despise that I have to control this patient the way I do. I hate even more now that I'm hesitating in my job because I now have to be careful of who could be recording my interactions. I'm so worried of this videos existence, it's causing me to revisit these violent escalations over and over again rather than just letting it go.
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  3. Muted

    Muted I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I think this is becoming a huge problem. On one hand you have to have practically recorded evidence to convict a criminal, yet our rights to privacy are virtually no longer existent.
    blackemerald1 likes this.
  4. FragileGlass

    FragileGlass Active Member

    Don't get me wrong I would never be one to censor freedom of speech. I just believe that Social Media outlets have a responsibility to provide questions during the video upload process. If it would stop even one person from uploading harmful uninformed videos it would take a step in the right direction.

    Questions such as

    Is this video potentially controversial?

    Does the video provide accurate beforehand footage of what escalated the situation?

    Were you on private property when filming? Did you have permission to film?

    Is the confidentiality of the people involved compromised?
    blackemerald1 likes this.
  5. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

    @FragileGlass My officers are going through this very thing on a regular basis and it's horrible. This thing with people filming 25 seconds of a 10 or 15 minute stand off and then the backlash on social media is utter crap. And you are right - it's going to lead to more responders getting hurt or killed because they hesitate out of fear of how they will be judged.

    In a perfect world we would have way to help these people without using force, but the reality is we don't. Their illnesses are more than we are equipped to handle and it falls on those few to protect the rest from what is a very dangerous situation. Sadly, Joe Blow Citizen has no idea how hard it is to find that balance and that sometimes it is impossible.

    You have a tough job -- but (and this is not always a popular sentiment) you have the right to go home to your family and friends without being injured or killed doing it. DO NOT hesitate. Your life is more valuable than some stupid person's response on social media. Unless they have been where you are or do what you do they have no idea what is really going on. If they don't like how you handled something tough. They can fuss and moan about what a horrible and violent person you are as much as they want. The reality is you kept the patient, the staff and yourself safe with the tools you have. If those arm chair quarterbacks really gave a damn they would be supporting funding and research into how to help these people rather than condemning those who have to try to control them so they don't hurt themselves and others.

    And stay off social media! Or if you are on it stay where people will support you -- not where the clueless are going to tear you down.
  6. FragileGlass

    FragileGlass Active Member


    Thank you! I do still maintain my ME FIRST attitude. I absolutely feel for you and your officers having to go through this. Its unfortunate but I truly believe Social Media and the real time need reporting has become a huge stress trigger to Emergency Services personnel.

    I miss the old days of Evening and Late Night news. This up to the minute need to know now culture is damaging.
    blackemerald1 and Freida like this.
  7. Neverthesame

    Neverthesame A Mind The Dead Have Ravaged Premium Member Donated

    @Freida Bingo.

    The public has always in one way or another, been there to criticise how a patient is treated.
    Whether it be from the next partition over, or 4 cars down the line, or now from Twitter.

    f*ck it. All you can do is your job.
    Sometimes it will look bad from the rubberneckers perspective. You don't answer to them. You answer to your supervisor, or attending.
    Forget the cameras, watch the PT. They deserve your full attention, for both your safety and theirs.

    Joe Blow wants to help dictate your job to you? He/she can go to school and become a Nurse, Paramedic or Police Officer.
    If they aren't that, they need to clear the scene and stay out of your way.

    f*ck Twitter.
  8. brokenEMT

    brokenEMT Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry that you're going through this. Does your employer or union have supports in place? Do you have debriefings?

    Hard to do, but don't torture yourself by searching for negative videos.... if someone has recorded and posted one after an incident, you'll hear about it anyway, and it won't ever be an objective view of what happened, just the juiciest and most controversial 30 seconds. Those videos are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    Have confidence in yourself, your skills, and your training. You do a difficult and challenging job that most don't understand, and can't imagine.
  9. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    So sorry this has happened to you!

    In my town there was a case where the cops were being raked over the coals for their treatment of a person who was out of control.....as you would guess, the phones recorded the interaction only when the cops stepped up their actions.....what wasn't seen was all the violent shit that the person was doing TO the cops. Fortunately the cops were wearing body cams and the truth finally came out.....but of course, only AFTER the social media shit-storm defending the perp. Its a crazy world we live in, and it sucks that we've come to this! Cameras never tell the whole story unless its from the very beginning and every possible angle/interaction has been recorded. (An impossibility.)
    blackemerald1, Flip flop and Freida like this.
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