A Good Catch — Assumptions

January 2nd, 2018

Jan. 2, 2018 — The middle-aged man had been found down on the street, incoherent and incontinent, and was brought by police to the Psychiatric Emergency Center based on certain assumptions. On duty that day was Behavioral Health Specialist Elizabeth Wasonga, who was about to be reminded how dangerous assumptions can be.

Elizabeth Wasonga

“When I was doing my assessment, something was off,” she recalled. The patient was indeed unable to say where he was or how he got there, telling Wasonga the year was 1979 and the president was Reagan. Uncharacteristically, though, he was unable to control just one side of his body, and his medical record included no trace of mental health history.

She took her concerns to the unit’s attending physician and the patient was soon on the way to the emergency room, where Wasonga’s suspicion was confirmed: Neither homeless nor inebriated, the man was having a stroke.

“You can never make assumptions based on how a patient looks or who you think he is,” said Wasonga.

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Good Catches happen when JPS team members act or speak up about a process or situation that could result in potential harm. To share a Good Catch, click on the Midas tab on the intranet home page.

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