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Assault Is Not Just Part of the job in Healthcare

Posted On July 16, 2018

Assault should not be just part of the job for any employee, but healthcare providers are routinely assaulted, getting punched, scratched, kicked and even stabbed by patients, co-workers, visitors and others. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers need to be aware of their rights as they head to the workplace, including the right to work safely without fear of assault.

Police Assault on Nurse Draws National Attention

In July 2017, a nurse in Utah was physically assaulted by a Salt Lake City detective when she refused to allow the detective to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient because the patient was unable to give consent. Though she was protecting the patient’s legal rights, she was violently arrested.

While brutality from police is not the norm in healthcare, this assault drew attention to what nurses and other healthcare providers go through whenever they head to work. It is not uncommon for nurses to be hit, kicked, yelled at and otherwise abused by their patients, even while trying to save lives. Families of sick or injured loved ones can be just as abusive.

Workplace Violence a Serious Risk for Healthcare Professionals

Nurses actually face a workplace violence rate that is higher than any other industry and the rates continue to rise. About 75 percent of nurses in a recent survey said that had been physically or emotionally assaulted. With rates 5 to 12 times higher than other workers, assaults on healthcare providers are seen around the nation.

In 2010, a nurse was fatally injured when she was hit in the head by a patient with a lamp. In 2017, a nurse was pushed down a flight of stairs by an angry man who was arguing with medical staff. An emergency room nurse in Southbridge, Massachusetts was stabbed multiple times by a patient who was unhappy with his medical care, and two other nurses in Geneva, Illinois were taken hostage, beaten and sexually assaulted at gunpoint.

Many healthcare professionals take the abuse and move on, chalking it up as just part of the job. However, taking a job in healthcare does not mean that a professional should be abused. Workers compensation attorneys often help healthcare workers get compensation after injuries happen because of an assault. Those who are assaulted while working in healthcare have the right to report their injuries, hold others accountable for their actions, and seek compensations for any injuries sustained.

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