Health Care Workers in California Put their Lives on Line in ER

Many members of the nursing industry in California are disillusioned by the life-threatening hazards that have become part of their daily lives. Some contend that circumstances in the nursing industry have changed, and current conditions are not acceptable. Nurses are standing together in their call for improved protection for health care workers.

Nurses, especially those who work in emergency rooms, believe they put their lives on the line during their shifts — particularly over weekends. One nurse reported that after a 2013 attack by a patient who was mentally ill, she suffered severe injuries and a concussion, and she spent three months recuperating before she could return to work. In another case in 2011, a patient who was intoxicated used a stethoscope in an attempt to choke an ER nurse. She suffered severe injuries to her neck and was off work for six weeks.

An executive of the nurses union reported that violence against health care workers is increasing. She believes that the fact that mental health facilities are inadequate, causing those patients to be accommodated in regular hospitals, contributes to the current situation. The California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the California Hospital Association are combining efforts to find ways in which to protect nurses and patients.

Health care workers in California who have suffered injuries that were caused by violent patients may pursue compensation for losses sustained. The workers’ compensation program provides benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Although the injured nurses above claimed that law enforcement was unaccommodating when they filed police reports, the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be beneficial. A lawyer can assess the circumstances of the attack and determine whether a viable third-party claim exists, in which case a civil claim for personal injury may be filed against the attacker.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, “ER Nurse Recounts Being ‘Slapped, Pinched, Spat On’ By Patients“, Nov. 11, 2015

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