Nurses who work in the hospital setting work very hard to provide skilled and compassionate care to a wide range of patients. Sometimes these patients are mentally ill, on drugs, or are convicted felons. When you have high-risk patients like this who are extremely stressed, in pain, confused, or angry, they often resort to physical violence. Unfortunately, in many cases, it is the nurses that are the victims of that violence, an issue which continues to grow in hospitals around the country.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of hospital employees injured on the job is significantly higher than employees in private industries. In 2015, the were 8.5 injuries per 10,000 full-time hospital workers, compared to 1.7 injuries in the private sector. From 2011 to 2014, the number of hospital workers injured rose steadily, dropping only slightly the following year. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guide on addressing violence in hospitals reported that nearly 75 percent of workplace assaults between 2011 and 2013 took place in health care settings.
One trauma nurse compared her job to being in an abusive relationship. Another reported that she was punched in the head multiple times by a large male patient until someone finally came to her aid. Despite feeling shook up, and suffering from a severe headache, she continued her shift. Another nurse, who was caring for an inmate who had been admitted to the hospital for medical treatment, was attacked, held at gunpoint, and assaulted until officers finally shot the inmate. Unfortunately, commented one nurse, the general attitude is that incidences like these are part of the job and must be accepted.
Hospitals Investigate Solutions
Melissa Granato, Associate Vice President of Security for Chicago-based Amita Health, expressed concern over this growing problem. After one particularly violent incident in their hospital, involving a man who stabbed his estranged wife in the bathroom, they have taken steps to improve their security procedures. Depending on the location, this could include drills, simulation training, and working closely with local law enforcement.
While some safety officials believe there should be a national standard for violence prevention, American Hospital Association President, Dr. Jay Bhatt questioned the effectiveness of this approach. Every facility is unique, he commented, and the security procedures should reflect that. Security experts agree that additional research is needed to determine the best way to ensure that patients and hospital staff are safe. After receiving feedback from a number of health and safety organizations, OSHA will contemplate updated hospital security regulations.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Hospital Violence
If you are a nurse or other healthcare worker and you have been physically assaulted while doing your job, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Your health and safety should not be jeopardized while taking care of a patient or interacting with a family member. Our experienced team will investigate the details of your case and fight to secure the maximum financial benefits you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.