Family of nurse attacked in Southbridge hope to prevent workplace violence

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. (WHDH) — The family of a nurse allegedly attacked by a patient at a Southbridge hospital are hoping that her story will prevent workplace violence in Massachusetts.

Police said Elise Wilson was stabbed several times by a patient at Harrington Hospital in June. Police said 24-year-old Conor O’Regan was unhappy with the treatment he received three weeks earlier and went to the hospital to get revenge. O’Regan was arrested and charged with intent to murder and aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

“She has been verbally abused, assaulted over the years, as well as all of us have,” said Tricia Leach, another nurse at Harrington. “And we take it but we can’t take it anymore.”

Harrington Hospital has since made safety improvements. Nurses are now equipped with panic buttons and bags are searched at the entrance to the emergency room, where metal detectors have also been installed. Several knives have been confiscated since.

Wilson’s family and co-workers will testify at the State House Wednesday in favor of “Elise’s Law.” The law, proposed by the Massachusetts Nurses’ Association, will require health care employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans.

Wilson suffered significant injuries to her face and arm during the attack, leaving her covered in scars from the stitches. She is still recovering and will be unable to attend the hearing at the State House. Her husband will read a statement from her.

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