Nurses everywhere have helped us cope with the pandemic. But unfortunately, some are taking on another challenge- and that’s surviving assaults by their patients.
Reports of nurses getting attacked when caring for patients are on the rise- and many nurses are speaking out.
“I feel like I have a sixth sense like something’s going to happen here,” said a Massachusetts RN who was about to be assaulted by her patient.
It’s a night she will never forget….When her life was put in danger by an out-of-control patient.
“He attacked me – he leaped from the chair. He tried to gouge my eye out with his key.
It’s horrible! You’re trying to help somebody and they try to kill you. Because there’s no doubt in my mind that if I didn’t get rescued he would have killed me,” the nurse said.
She suffered deep cuts to her face and hands, severe bruising, a concussion and a deep-seated fear.
She asked us to hide her face and disguise her voice.
“I would call it post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said.
And this nurse isn’t alone.
Five nurses were hurt in this Newton hospital in an assault by one patient.
This nurse, Grace Politis, was attacked in Lowell.
“I don’t know what provoked him,” said Politis.
A patient hit Politis on the head with a fire extinguisher this summer.
She never saw it coming.
“Out of nowhere, I remember thinking to myself- ‘Oh my gosh my head hurts really bad, why does my head hurt?’ And then I remember a co-worker coming up to me and said- ‘Oh my God, are you ok, are you OK?'”
Many believe the stresses of the pandemic are playing a role.
“As the Covid numbers go up, health care workers will continue to suffer from all kinds of assaults,” says healthcare security researcher Dr. Jane Lipscomb.
Her findings show that nurses who treat Covid patients are more likely to be physically assaulted. She wants hospitals to do more to keep their nurses safe.
“Hospitals need to take the risk very seriously,” Lipscomb says.
The nurses who continue to care for patients wonder when someone will take care of them.
“When is it going to end? When are we going to be protected?” asked the ER nurse who was attacked.
“Yes, this does happen a lot…and it’s not OK,” said Grace Politis.
Some lawmakers on Beacon Hill are working on a new bill that would require all health care employers to create a Violence Prevention Plan. Hospitals would be fined if they don’t comply with the new guidelines.
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