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Old 12-04-2015, 01:31 AM
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Default Laws to protect healthcare workers?

A traveler at one of my jobs got her arm broken by a pt, plus others got hurt during the episode. I heard the pt was having a psych problem.

I remember the police telling me, after I and another nurse were assaulted in a less serious incident, that there was no point in filing charges because the prosecutor doesn't bother with thee things.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-04-2015, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Emergent View Post
A traveler at one of my jobs got her arm broken by a pt, plus others got hurt during the episode. I heard the pt was having a psych problem.

I remember the police telling me, after I and another nurse were assaulted in a less serious incident, that there was no point in filing charges because the prosecutor doesn't bother with thee things.

Thoughts?
Doesn't matter if the police think the prosecutor won't do anything, you still have to stand up for yourself.

Also, for legal reasons, sometimes you need the police report. (Maybe. Or is it that just car insurance?)

Anyway, if charges aren't filed then nothing will happen for sure.

I'm sorry that happened to your associate, and I hope she's doing OK.
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emergent View Post
A traveler at one of my jobs got her arm broken by a pt, plus others got hurt during the episode. I heard the pt was having a psych problem.

I remember the police telling me, after I and another nurse were assaulted in a less serious incident, that there was no point in filing charges because the prosecutor doesn't bother with thee things.

Thoughts?
While it was true in the past that filing charges in the case of a patient assault was a pretty futile endeavor, I think that climate is changing. A friend of mine was assaulted by a patient wielding a metal chair -- and the patient then pitched the chair through the fifth floor window. The police were called, charges were filed and although the court date was postponed a couple of times due to the patient's health issues (or so we're told), Connie got her day in court. The patient was found guilty of assault, although I don't know what the sentence was.

I'm wondering, as I write this, whether the outcome had anything to do with the fact that Connie is a physician. It may have been different had you or I filed charges.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:35 AM
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What I just wonder:

If I, for whatever could possess me, behaved like some of my patients and their families did toward me in any public place toward any other human being, I would be arrested on the spot, possibly charged with musdemeanor, and possibly lose my license. Why it is ok to do all that in a hospital, but not in any other place?

We have to deal with absolutely outrageous conglomerate of beings (sorry, cannot name them "human", for they behaved not like ones) with bosses irritated to the point that THEY want to do something. When one of those beings stripped his clothes in full view of everyone and peed in crash cart sharps container because restroom happened to be occupied, we called hospital security. They told us to pick up a rag and clean it up. We called city police; these guys came and arrested the man but refused to fill charges because "it was there, and it is your job to provide patient services". Same happened when one of tgem screamed racial obscenities, when they trade drugs stolen from PCA right then and there.
The famiky was, at last, thrown away by city police and a few were arrested when one of them brought a gun. Now i really think that there should be a law protecting health care workers. In Michigan, we have special law protection for road workers; why we are not similarly protected?
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:54 PM
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As far as I know here during orientation, it was said that if we were assaulted by a patient, the police are called asap. Regardless of whether said patient has psych history or not. The hospital's moto was we leave our shift in the same condition we came to work if at all possible.

As far as any laws I am not sure but I would think that with the right attorney, etc we ( nurses, medical professionals ) would still have the right to assume we will be in an environment free of harm. ( I probably did not say this right. Sounded better in my head )
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:00 PM
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As far as I know here during orientation, it was said that if we were assaulted by a patient, the police are called asap. Regardless of whether said patient has psych history or not. The hospital's moto was we leave our shift in the same condition we came to work if at all possible.

As far as any laws I am not sure but I would think that with the right attorney, etc we ( nurses, medical professionals ) would still have the right to assume we will be in an environment free of harm. ( I probably did not say this right. Sounded better in my head )
Most places I've worked say the same thing: if you're assaulted by a patient or family member, the police are called.

In most places, that's a lie.
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:53 PM
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Hospitals dont want police reports to substantiate a workers compensation claim and the related bad publicity.
I did not sign up to be the victim of a crime and I call the police whenever necessary. Mainly because I have seen too many male employees terminated for alleged use of excessive force when it was really self defense.
Violence against healthcare workers is a felony in many states. ENA should have that information.
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:33 PM
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The healthcare worker has the right to obtain a restraining order for any individual who poses a threat to her safety

I have never had a police officer refuse to help me at work. I have never been reprimanded for calling 911. My motto is act first, apologize later.

Last edited by icurnmaggie; 12-05-2015 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:57 PM
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The healthcare worker has the right to obtain a restraining order for any individual who poses a threat to her safety

I have never had a police officer refuse to help me at work. I have never been reprimanded for calling 911. My motto is act first, apologize later.
Or don't apologize, because the victim is not at fault.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:58 AM
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When I worked at the psychiatric hospital I had several co-workers who were injured, concussion, broken arm, split open head, back injury, bruises, just to name a few. I never heard anyone say but I think the unspoken thought was they were not prosecuting because they didn't want to lose their job. One psych tech did file a complaint with the police but as far as I know nothing ever came of it. Shortly after that she gave a 2 weeks notice.

How sad is it that you have to fear for your job? There were times I would not have filed a complaint for that reason but during the last year there, when my husband was working, yes I would have prosecuted.


When a nurse is injured by a patient, the nurse has legal recourse under criminal and civil law. This means, the nurse has the right to press criminal charges when threatened or intentionally harmed by a patient.

Once the situation has been defused, if you elect to press charges, notify the police as soon as possible after completing an incident report. Submit a detailed written report to your supervisor as soon as possible, even if you are not sure you need medical attention. The police will investigate and the district attorney will decide whether or not to prosecute the case.

In deciding to try a case, two factors are key:
  • Was the risk of harm foreseeable?
  • Is the patient mentally competent? Can someone under professional medical treatment control and understand the consequences of his behavior?
With the nature of our work, the risk of assault on nurses is recognized. You are expected to have the skills, knowledge, and resources to avoid injury. Healthcare workers should foresee a reasonable danger inherent in dealing with patients with dementia or institutionalized with mental disabilities.

Workers Compensation
Nurses are entitled to workers compensation for injuries sustained on their respective nursing jobs, whether inflicted intentionally or not. Workers compensation will help employees cover the cost of medical treatment and wages lost due to injuries, including injury caused by a patient, provided you were acting within the scope of your nursing practice at the time.
Agency, private duty, or per diem nurses typically are not covered. Worker’s compensation is “no fault” insurance. It does not matter if medical negligence of the nurse or employer contributed to the injury. You cannot be held accountable by the employer and you cannot sue the employer. You may, however, sue a third party such as the patient.
Workers compensation varies from state to state with a separate compensation for federal employees. Most states have a benefit for temporary disability. Permanent or partial disability usually is awarded a flat fee. If you are unable to return to work, the reward is based on the loss of earning power. There are no awards for pain and suffering with workers compensation.

If serious or permanent injury results in pain and suffering, a civil suit may be filed against the patient to seek monetary compensation. However, even if nurses are assault victims, they will be subjected to scrutiny. Many patients do not have assets or personal liability insurance. Homeowner’s insurance will typically disclaim injury for intentional harm. (This is an example of how nurses are often caught in the middle. Criminal charges cannot be filed because the patient is not in his right mind, but the homeowner’s won’t pay for intentional injury). Even if the jury finds in your favor, you may not receive compensation. You may also have to reimburse workers compensation. Contact an attorney specializing in personal injury.
- See more at: What Nurses Should Do When Assaulted by Patients


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