Parkland nurse helps patient escape domestic violence
DALLAS — Parkland Memorial Hospital nurse LaShana Greene was concerned when she realized that her patient, a pleasant, soft-spoken woman she had treated many times before, had left the hospital without her prescriptions. When she called to inform her, Greene was startled by the eerily-familiar noises in the background of the call that triggered memories of abuse in her past.
“Is everything okay?” Greene asked tensely.
“Don’t put your hands on me!”
Greene heard her patient shout. Sounds of struggle continued, and then suddenly the call was lost.
“I knew I had to call her back,” Greene said later. “After growing up in an environment where I was exposed to domestic violence, I knew without a doubt that something was not right.”
Greene urgently consulted with her supervisor about guidelines for taking action since the patient had already been discharged from the hospital. After receiving approval to call her back, Greene did so immediately and was relieved to hear the patient’s voice again.
“Do you want me to call the police?” Greene asked bluntly.
“Okay, can you just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”
There was a long pause.
“Yes,” the woman finally mumbled.
Greene swiftly hung up then dialed 9-1-1 to notify the police.
“I still viewed this woman as a patient who was in my care and I just did what I thought I needed to in order to keep her safe,” Greene explained. “That’s why I became a nurse—to help people.”
A native Dallas resident who was born at Parkland, Greene said that after growing up in an abusive household, she could never be silent if she saw someone in the same situation.
“I would hope most people would do what they could to help someone else. That’s what we do here at Parkland,” Greene said.
A few weeks later, the patient returned to Parkland for treatment. Greene greeted her warmly and asked her how she was doing.
“That situation is done,” the patient stated firmly.
With Greene’s assistance, the abused woman had found the strength to break the cycle of abuse and live a safer, healthier life. According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, leaving a violent relationship is a process, not an event, for many victims, who cannot simply “pick up and go” because they have many factors to consider. In these situations, health care and legal professionals could be vital systems of support in helping victims of domestic violence leave the abusive situation that endangers them and their children.
At Parkland, every person who walks in the door is screened for abuse. In 2011 alone, there were 23,472 cases of family violence reported in Dallas County, an increase of 4.313 cases since 2009. Abuse is not only defined as physical, but it can be sexual and emotional as well. Parkland’s Victim Intervention Program (VIP) /Rape Crisis Center offers support to children, teens, adults and families who have experienced abuse by providing free counseling, 24 hour response for victims seen at Parkland facilities, assistance with finding emergency shelters, legal assistance and other services. Spanish-speaking staff is available and services in other languages are offered through interpreters. If you or a loved one is in an abusive situation and needs immediate assistance, call the Crisis Line at 214.590.0430. To make an appointment with a counselor or find out more information about our services, please call the VIP/Rape Crisis Center at 214.590.2926.