Nursing Voices

Monday, September 11, 2006

Don't Mess with Emergency Room Nurses

I think this book was written about the nurse in this news story:

Nurse Strangles Intruder With Bare Hands By Associated Press Fri Sep 8, 3:27 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. - A nurse returning from work discovered an intruder armed with a hammer in her home and strangled him with her bare hands, police said.

Susan Kuhnhausen, 51, ran to a neighbor's house after the confrontation Wednesday night. Police found the body of Edward Dalton Haffey, 59, a convicted felon with a long police record.

Officer Katherine Kent said homicide detectives have determined that Kuhnhausen killed Haffey in self-defense. She said a prosecutor is investigating but that the case is not expected to go to a grand jury.

Police said there was no obvious sign of forced entry at the house when Kuhnhausen, an emergency room nurse at Providence Portland Medical Center, got home from work shortly after 6 p.m.

Under Oregon law people can use reasonable deadly force when defending themselves against an intruder or burglar in their homes. Kuhnhausen was treated and released for minor injuries at Providence.

Haffey, about 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, had convictions including conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, robbery, drug charges and possession of burglary tools. Neighbors said Kuhnhausen's size _ 5-foot-7 and 260 pounds _ may have given her an advantage.

"Everyone that I've talked to says 'Hurray for Susan,' said neighbor Annie Warnock, who called 911. "You didn't need to calm her. She's an emergency room nurse. She's used to dealing with crisis."

After reading the story my first thought was, “She sure was loaded with adrenaline. I bet she had a bad night at work.” Afterall, there are days when I feel like killing something after I've had a stressful shift. Then I did a Google search and found that this is not the first time Kuhnhausen has been in the news. The Portland Business Journal published a story in 2005 about Kuhnhausen and an Oregon bill she tried to get passed that would have protected nurses from violence in the workplace. Kuhnhausen stated in the article that while working at Providence Portland emergency department, she had been punched in the face and bitten by patients, and once watched an enraged motorist drive his car though the wall of the hospital into the emergency department after his girlfriend opted not to leave the hospital with him.

Maybe that explains why she killed the guy. She was determined she wasn’t going to be a victim of violence in her own home, and prehaps pent up rage gave her the strength to defend herself. Thank God she wasn’t the one the police carried out in the body bag.


Blogger kario said...

Perhaps martial arts training ought to be part of the nurse's standard curriculum, eh? Seems to me they take the brunt of the abuse by patients and doctors alike. Thank goodness you are all still willing to do what you do.

11:28 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

Hell hath no fury like a nurse invaded.....

3:56 PM  
Blogger RX850 said...

Nurses are on the receiving end of abuse every day at work. I can understand how angry she must have been finding it play out in her own home as well. Kudos to her for fighting back!

12:19 PM  
Anonymous may said...

i am a nurse, and i sure have the burst of adrenaline when necessary, but i don't think i have the same courage as she had...

8:45 PM  
Blogger kt said...

I read that story on monday!! I thought the same thing, he messed with her after a bad shift!!!

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Heather said...

Criminals should take a lesson from this: Don't mess with nurses! They'll jack you up!

6:22 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

LOL Heather.....

9:58 PM  
Anonymous MattM said...

As a follow-up - It turns out that the man had been hired by her husband, to kill her.

Big mistake.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:55 AM  

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