Health Care


Majority against giving hospital employees the right to use force to subdue patients - 155 participants

Apr 19, 2016

In April, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed SB 323, a bill that will authorize employees of hospitals to use “non-deadly force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes it necessary to maintain decorum or safety.” Read more about this issue. On April 19, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should the state pass a law that explicitly gives hospital employees the right to use force to subdue patients?”

Should hospital employees be able to use force to subdue patients?

Hospital Use of Force NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 155 participants gave 296 responses.

A total of 90% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 10% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 296 responses from 155 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said

No: The majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 69%, opposed giving hospital employees the right to use force to subdue patients.

  • “This could be too easily abused and would honestly make me not want to go to the hospital for anything. It isn't right.”
  • “Use the laws that are already on the books. The hospitals have drugs available to them to calm a patient down and they can always call a security guard to help out. I can see seniors being harmed for no good reason, especially the dementia patients.”
  • “We don't need laws, but we do need more common sense. If they have to subdue the patient, it is because there is a good reason.”

Yes: A minority, at 31% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were in favor of giving hospital employees the right to use force to subdue patients.

  • "Hospital employees deal with violent patients chronically and hospital security cannot be everywhere at once—not to mention, security is generally understaffed.”
  • “In an ER situation, I can only suggest you visit one on a Friday or Saturday night and then understand where this is coming from. I do not see this as an abuse potential.”
  • “Obviously in certain situations, a hospital employee might need to protect himself or other patients against, for example, a patient who has run amok.”

Other: As noted above, 10% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Debating the need for legislation: “Are they a danger to others or just themselves? Unless the person is a child, consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want to themselves, as long as it doesn't affect others.”
  • Discussing broader implications related to the legislation: “If you can't walk out of a hospital on your own free will, it’s not a hospital---it's a jail.”
  • Expressing concern regarding staff training: “Are hospital personnel trained to make those judgment calls?”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 


Pamela Soucy
- Merrimack

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 3:19pm

Psychatric hospital need a cap on how long ot hold a perosn against their will, an not based on social workers /nurses staff or appointed guardians wrongfully, to make judgement on when/how a perosn is treated/diagnosised discharged............people have constitutional /civil rights an the state has no business violating ones liberty.... state needs more commnuity based programs/transportation for people in crisis..acivity is key to recovery not isolation/seclusion forced medicated is the time to remove the stigma against mental illnesss. Pamela soucy parent/advocate for Nicole soucy being held against her will since may 9,2016 ...... waiting for transitional living arrangement which doesn't exist

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Related Bill

SB 323 (2016)
Bill Status: Signed by Governor

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