Monday, July 23, 2012

BRH Supports Doctor's Cause for EMS Personnel!

BRH Supports Dr. Anderson's Work To Eliminate Violence Against Healthcare Workers!

I created this blog to further the cause of protection and justice for heathcare workers who are assaulted in the workplace. I retired from a 38-year career in the emergency department about a month ago. I had been writing a novel about the abuse of healthcare workers for the past year. I decided that when I could speak freely, without fear of being fired, I would take up this cause on behalf of the hundreds of healthcare workers who have stood by my side for almost four decades. While the novel is a thriller, the message inside is not fictional. Each of the patients in this book, The First To Say No, was my patient. Of course their names and locations have been changed.
At the present time healthcare workers are more than twice as likely to be assaulted as police officers. Nurses are by far the most common victims. Were you aware that assaults on healthcare workers now account for over 60% of all assaults in the workplace? From 1993 to 1999 over 765,000 assaults were reported. During this period eight RNS were fatally injured while working. In 2009, the Emergency Nurses Association reported that more than 50% of emergency nurses had experienced violence on the job and 25% had experienced 20 or more violent incidents in the previous three years.
Unlike employees in other businesses, healthcare workers usually do not have recourse when they are assaulted. Most professional patients know that they can kick, punch, grope, slap, spit, and throw urine and feces at healthcare workers with impunity. Hospitals discourage any lawsuits against patients and usually refuse to cooperate in them. Assaulted nurses are being told that patient assaults are part of the job. I fear that we are driving away the most talented and experienced healthcare workers at just the time we are going to need them.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the sad state of affairs we have. In each of my posts I will try to single out the culprits and discuss how they undermine healthcare employees and make them more vulnerable. I invite you to post your story anonymously. Why should you bother? These stories will be read by legislators. Their weight will add up. I do not believe that you are expendable. I do not accept that getting assaulted is part of your job. It is time that you spoke out about being collateral damage from bad laws, bad policies, fear of litigation, greedy corporations, and spineless administrators, who refuse to protect or defend their own employees.
Charles C. Anderson M.D. FACP, FACEP

Charles C. Anderson is a 38-year veteran emergency physician, critical care physician, and trauma specialist who has directed multiple hospital ED’s and emergency medical transport systems. He is the author of original medical research articles, has patented several medical devices, and published two novels.
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