When I got a Bachelor’s Degree in EMS administration, my capstone research project was about violence against healthcare workers. Emergency medical workers are the victims of workplace violence more often than any other profession: more than police, prison guards, and convenience store clerks. I don’t know why, but people generally have no problem attacking EMS and emergency room workers. Scenes like the one in this post are actually more common than you would think.

I have always taken the position that no one should have to be a complacent target of someone else’s misplaced intoxicated rage. Many employers view self defense as a form of violence. I have even had coworkers (nurses, EMTs, and paramedics) tell me that “we are held to a higher standard, and shouldn’t succumb to the instinct of defending ourselves.”


I don’t care what profession I am in- I should not have to be, and refuse to be, someone’s punching bag. That doesn’t mean that my response shouldn’t be proportional to the level of the attack. A woman hitting me like that is going to be put in a wrist lock. If you have an effective wrist lock, you can work against the joint just a bit to cause pain compliance. If they struggle more, twist a bit harder, and they will bend away from you. It’s an amazingly effective technique in controlling a violent patient without causing injury. Just don’t overdo it, or you will wind up having to explain and treat a broken bone.

If you couple it with pressure on the ulnar nerve, forcing it to be compressed between your fingers and the olecranon, it causes a good bit of pain without causing permanent injury. It’s essentially compressing “the funny bone” and, properly applied causes the same sort of pain you feel when you hit your elbow and feel the fire sensation running down your arm.

It’s a skill worth learning to subdue people without permanently hurting them.

Categories: Self Defense


Boneman · November 15, 2023 at 4:24 am

I like your approach. Truth be told it’s truly an example of exercising SELF restraint and by that I mean taking your approach vs dealing with them in kind by knocking them flat. You’re correct… nobody should be anyone’s punching bag on the job. UNLESS… you’re a pugilist.

Aesop · November 15, 2023 at 5:23 am

Nevada does it mostly right: if you have any weapon (gun, knife, cane, bottle, etc.) on your person, and threaten a health care worker, it’s felony ADW simply because you had the present ability to use it. Fists and feet continue as misdemeanors, but at least they have their hearts in the right place with that statute, even if it doesn’t go far enough.

Assaults or battery on anyone in medical care, from the EMTs or Good Samaritans who stop at an accident, to anyone in the hospital, from doctors to custodial staff and clerks, should be a felony treated like spousal abuse, with mandatory felony prosecution and 24 hours in jail, non-negotiable, in 50 states and 7 territories. It should also constitute grounds for lifetime barring you from that facility regardless of your future circumstances. Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing. Stupid should hurt.

In reality, most D.A.s and city attorneys won’t even prosecute the bastards at all, even as misdemeanors. Which is why those legal @$$holes suck balls, and should be left in the waiting room for anything short of needing actual CPR. Maybe even then too.

Heath care workers get battered on average 2-3x more than cops and prison guards, but without benefit of kevlar vests, tasers, saps, knuckle gloves, batons, or guns. And that stat is with grossly unreported acts of physical violence among medical workers (something like 95% go unreported to anyone but co-workers; management couldn’t give a flying fuck, and as you noted, is more inclined to discipline staff than commend them for defending their own lives and persons).

There’s no one working in the ED for 5 years who hasn’t been the target of multiple batteries anywhere I know or have ever been. I expect 2-3@yr personally, minimum, and I haven’t been disappointed once in nearly 30 years, with most years being several times that number. In just one brief summer, I did six takedowns of patients beating on other staff members or in the process of trying it, and that was at a hospital that had already experienced three doctors shot in the ED the previous year, and with sworn officers on staff for security.
As I work full-time for only 3 shifts/week since ever, it’s more than twice as bad as I’ve seen firsthand. If we had a board that recorded how many days since a staff member was assaulted/battered, we wouldn’t need a counter that went above 20.

And when I tell people we know where to hurt you to get your attention, it’s not an idle boast.

If you want a safer job, train lions and bears.

    Vlad · November 16, 2023 at 2:04 am

    “Heath care workers get battered on average 2-3x more than cops and prison guards, but without benefit of kevlar vests, tasers, saps, knuckle gloves, batons, or guns.”

    And ^^that^^ dear readers is the TRUTH.
    We (Fire Dept EMTs and Medics) used to gang tackle unruly patients. Everyone grab a limb, stay away from the teeth, and hold them in place without hurting them.
    (I call minor bruises and abrasions “not hurting them” as opposed to the throat punch, broken bones and TBI they deserved)
    Watch a 1000 videos of cops trying to do the same thing.
    Monkey meet football – get your rocks off.

Kentucky Headhunter · November 15, 2023 at 8:04 am

With your background I’m sure you’re familiar with the joke that is SCM, Safe Crisis Management, where healthcare employees are instructed in complelety non-effective ways to “safely manage” people “in crisis” while putting hemselves at great risk of physical harm for ridicuously low rewards.

D · November 15, 2023 at 9:17 am

> “we are held to a higher standard, and shouldn’t succumb to the instinct of defending ourselves.”

I heard that too.

Unfortunately our director was a black belt in Judo or something. He taught us all “pain points” and it sorta seemed like his idea of us defending ourselves was straight out of Star Trek. Patient gets violent? Just calmly give him a Vulcan nerve pinch while showing no emotion (fear, anger, or whatnot) and go on treating patients.

Then one day a patient stabbed him. He managed to pivot and throw the patient through a table and a window. While he didn’t die from his injuries, it prevented him from working as a medic anymore.

After that, soft-shelled “stab armor” was available to staff who requested it…but strangely, we still weren’t allowed to carry any sort of weapon to defend ourselves.

Although I will admit a standard EMS clipboard comes in handy. A few years later a *very* drunk guy started landing punches on my partner in the back of the rig. As I was stopping to go back and help restrain the guy, I hear a pretty hollow metal smack. I opened the doors to see a blood-stained clipboard and the patient’s chest covered with blood from a newly-discovered nose bleed that we must have missed during our initial head-to-toe.

The paperwork on that was a complete fucking nightmare.

Jonesy · November 15, 2023 at 11:50 am

Both techniques you describe are taught in basic Hapkido and some other martial arts. Its about control and direction. Control/compliance through pain, and then you can direct that person where you want them. And as you mentioned, do the technique too hard (or incorrectly) and you can break something. Snapping bones and disloacting joints is actually the goal in Hapkido as a defensive combative application, but I like that you can adjust up or down based on the situation.

Gerry · November 15, 2023 at 1:04 pm

From yesterday’s Bowling Green Daily News.

A plea agreement has been reached in a case involving a Bowling Green man who was arrested following a 2020 incident in which two Medical Center employees were struck by gunfire.

Jeffrey Fields, 45, pleaded guilty but mentally ill on Monday in Warren Circuit Court to charges of second-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment.

Fields, who is represented by attorney Steve Romines, entered an Alford plea in which he denied wrongdoing but acknowledged there was enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty of the assault and wanton endangerment counts.

The criminal charges stemmed from a March 18, 2020, incident at the hospital, where Fields was brought after emergency personnel found him unclothed on Cemetery Road.

Appearing over video on Monday, Romines said that Fields was experiencing a mental health episode related to a bipolar diagnosis when he was taken to the hospital.

“(Hospital personnel) were attempting to catheterize him, Mr. Fields resisted, a firearm went off and two people were shot,” Romines said when asked by Warren Circuit Judge J.B. Hines to summarize the facts that would support assault and wanton endangerment charges.

According to court records, Fields stripped off his hospital gown and threatened employees after picking up a stool, and then reached for a gun belonging to one of the security guards attempting to restrain him.

Emily Roderick, a certified medical assistant at The Medical Center, was struck in the leg by a gunshot as she was preparing a bed for Fields, court records show.

The Art Of Self-Defense · November 15, 2023 at 2:12 pm

If someone attempts to harm you, make sure they never forget that error.
Leaving scars is always an option.
If they don’t survive it, well that’s just too damn bad.

Stealth Spaniel · November 15, 2023 at 4:50 pm

Just more BS from a Negress who considers herself “special, without any blame, and catered to” cuz we was kings and shitz…..Wakanda is calling her. No person deserves to be hit, beat, slashed, or 12,000 other despicable things these imbeciles unleash on folks trying to help them. IMHO, like druggies, let the crazy bastards die right there and then. It’s not like we are saving a person of refinement, culture, or smart-s.

JimmyPx · November 15, 2023 at 9:08 pm

I work in a large hospital not far from DM. We just announced that our hospital security staff will ALL be wearing light body armor and will have enhanced self defense training.
In addition, the local police have officers permanently staffing the Emergency Room.
Yes, it has gotten that bad !

The problem is and I hate to say this but the refuse of society all end up in the ER many nights and these people have no self control or manners and many have serious mental illnesses.

All ER patients are first pee tested now because 90% lie about being on substances even though they are told a million times that they won’t call the police on them for that. For medical reasons though it is critical that the nurses and doctors know what substances are in your system.
In the past they would lie and by the time the docs figured out they were lying, several people had bad outcomes which of course their scumbag families sued.

God bless DM and the ER docs and nurses, I don’t know how they put up with the BS that they do and still come to work every day.

C · November 16, 2023 at 7:48 am

Local hospital had the private police pulled from the campus by the admin as a cost saving measure. Hardly any of the nurses would speak up even though it made all of them uncomfortable. The number of security guards was cut as well. Nevermind they’re not much better than Walmart greeters. Scraping the bottom of the barrel for talent since they make less than Walmart greeters in our town. Nevermind their asinine use of force rules and the retarded “Nonviolent Crisis Intervention” training all staff are restricted to. Whoever came up with that stupid shit should be held down and junk punched for a whole day at minimum.

Stealth Spaniel · November 16, 2023 at 11:43 am

New developments in the controversy over the Clayton County commissioner who claims she was drugged. The board has appointed a new vice chair. The spot was vacant because commissioners recently voted for Felicia Franklin to be removed. A police camera video showed her apparently passed out on the ground outside a sports bar.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. – The Clayton County Board of Commissioners have appointed a new vice chair. The move comes after commissioners recently voted to remove Felicia Franklin after she was caught on video seemingly passed out on the ground outside a sports bar. The board appointed DeMont Davis as the new vice chair.

Commissioner Franklin quickly walked out of the board meeting and would not answer questions from FOX 5. She has said that she will now run for chairwoman. Can’t keep a Wakanda Resident down.

Bear Claw · November 16, 2023 at 3:03 pm

Bwahahaha she’s so proud of it these days, probably.

Stephen · November 16, 2023 at 4:40 pm

To your point

Recovering firefighter · November 16, 2023 at 7:27 pm

When I was on the job, we had a frequent flier we called Bronco Billy because he was always belligerent. We always sent one or two firefighters along in the contract ambulance to help “manage” Billy. One memorable day, Billy was particularly agitated and the cops handcuffed him to the pram. When we arrived at the ER, the head nurse got all bothered that Billy was handcuffed and demanded that the cuffs be removed. We tried to tell her that wasn’t a good idea, but by God, that was her ER and patients were not to be treated like common criminals yada yada yada. So the cop who had followed us to the ER remove the cuffs, whereupon Billy delivered a beautiful right jab to head nurse’s snot locker, breaking it and moving her into the unconscious classification. I have to admit I was guilty of experiencing epicaricy.

Georgiaboy61 · November 17, 2023 at 3:14 am

My older brother is a physician who has worked along the way in some very tough places, big level-IV trauma centers and public hospitals. As an intern he learned to suture on a guy who came into the ER after being drunk and in a razor fight. The guy was so bombed that he didn’t even complain about the pain of the sutures being put in, all three-hundred of them. By the time it was done, my brother was darned near an expert.

Far as violent patients go, Grady Memorial in Atlanta is famous in that city as a rough ER. In the old days, they still hadn’t learned to segregate rival gangs into different EDs when casuatlies from a gang fight came in. Well, they learned the hard way: The rival gangs started going at it again inside the hospital.

My older brother the doc is a black-belt level martial artist, and once used a pressure point technique to settle down a guy nuts on PCP or something like that. It was taking four full-grown men to struggle with the dude, and my brother said that it worked like a charm. Settled the guy right the heck down. Hapkido is also great for that; joint locks properly applied hurt like a mo-fo especially if you aren’t used to them.

Think working an ER/ED is tough? I’m sure it is, but try being a high-school teacher in an inner city school. You’ll be lucky to get out of there with your skin. Ask me how I know…

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