Violence Against Health Care Workers a Growing Concern

Violence Against Health Care Workers a Growing Concern

The News-Times

March 29, 2010

Here is some of the on-the-job training Tyrne Wade has learned while working as a nurse at Danbury Hospital.

When you’re trying to restrain a patient who is already at the flailing stage, keep your guard up.

“I’ve been punched,” Wade said.

Not a serious injury, she said, but a punch.

Don’t wear a necklace that hangs outside your uniform. Don’t wear dangling earrings.

“You’d lose your earlobes in a heartbeat,” Wade, 33, of New Milford, who is a nurse on the hospital’s 10th floor, said of some patients’ predilection for yanking hard on anything they can grab.

Also, she related, you learn to sort out the serious incidents of violence — getting slapped or punched, getting threatened — that need reporting, from the daily bits of abuse.

“If I wrote a report about every time a patient spat food at me, I’d be writing reports all day,” she said.

According to nurses at other Connecticut hospitals, Wade’s experiences at Danbury Hospital aren’t any different from what they put up with on a regular basis.

A shooting incident at Danbury Hospital on March 2 received national attention — and put a national spotlight on violence and security issues in American hospitals.

In that incident, 85-year old Stanley Lupienski of Brookfield, a patient at the hospital, allegedly pulled out a revolver and started shooting without warning, wounding Andy Hull, a male nurse who is recuperating at his home in Bethel.

Charges have been filed against Lupienski in the matter.

According to Leslie Gianelli, spokeswoman for the 29-member Connecticut Hospital Association, that’s the first time in recent memory that anyone has been shot in a Connecticut hospital.

Hospital leaders acknowledge that the number of incidents of violence in hospitals are rising.

“Without question,” said Danbury Hospital President Frank Kelly said in an interview this week.

Kelly noted that the largest number of attacks are made by the growing elderly population, particularly those suffering from dementia.

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