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Nate, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
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Im a staff nurse at a nursing home in Florida. We had a patient

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I'm a staff nurse at a nursing home in Florida. We had a patient admitted last week who is making violent threats against the facility. He has threatened that he will go get his gun and shoot me in the face on multiple occasions. He has stated that he is going to leave the facility, build a bomb, and come back and blow up the building. There are 180 other people living in the building. This person does not have dementia. He is a young man with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder who is at the facility for physical rehab after a motorcycle accident. The admissions director told the facility administrator that the patient was violent and should not be admitted, but the administrator insisted because our census is low and he has Medicare. There are "nurses notes" in the facility computer from five different nurses documenting the violent threats. The administrator called in the psychiatrist yesterday who wrote an order for a shot of Ativan as needed for "restlessness". By law, we are not allowed to restrain our patients, how are we supposed to give him a shot. After work this morning I looked up his name on Facebook and found his page with photos of him with guns. I saw he "liked" a group that looks like some kind of militia. It said on his page that he was from Nashville. I looked up public records in Nashville and found that he has had several convictions including aggravated assault. Can I go to the police? Do I have discouraging I am fired for going to th police? Did I violate HIPPA by searching for my patients name on Facebook?
My name isXXXXX have been a licensed attorney for over ten years and will be assisting you today.

First, you have not violated HIPAA by investigating on Facebook. Unless you posted medical information on his page or something of the sort, you have done nothing wrong.

Whether you go to the police or not depends on how real the threats actually are. More bipolar individuals are not violent, but this seems to be a potential exception.

Unfortunately, until he actually does something, or attempts something, there is not going to be anything the police can do.

I would suggest you first provide your findings to your supervisor and the administration. If they know they have a potentially violent individual on their hands with a violent criminal record and an obsession with firearms, they may change their mind about keeping him admitted.

If you have more questions please feel free to ask. I'll be happy to answer them. If you do not, please do remember to rate my service in assistance to you today.

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