I am looking for the collective wisdom and experience of the group concerning prisoners in the Pediatric ED. Do you see prisoners in your Peds ED? If not, where are pediatric prisoners seen? Is there a dedicated facility to which adolescent prisoners are directed?
If you do see them, do you take specific steps to preserve their privacy and maintain the requirements of their custody (e.g., no visitors, no phone calls, etc). Do you have any problems with the corrections officers who accompany them?
Some of these adolescents can be pretty intimidating, particularly when they come in in orange jumpsuits, handcuffs, and leg shackles. We currently don't have an easy way of isolating such patients since we have only one entrance (due to change with a new hospital). Does anyone have any sort of policy about prisoners changing into scrubs, sweats, or go-to-court clothes for all except the true emergencies of the spurting blood, turning blue type?
Clearly adolescent prisoners have needs that we can meet. We are reviewing as an institution how best to meet those needs and meet the needs of our other patients and families. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
Allen R. Walker, MD, MBA
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Child Protection Team
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