Attacks on Texas Hospital Employees on the Rise During Latest COVID Surge

Long wait times sometimes prompt the attacks. Nearly 88% of hospital beds in Texas are in use, with more than 21% occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Attacks on Texas Hospital Employees on the Rise During Latest COVID Surge

Healthcare workers in Texas are experiencing a significant increase in verbal and physical attacks as the state experiences its fourth COVID-19 surge.

Jane McCurley, chief nursing executive for Methodist Healthcare System, said there have been an increasing number of incidents each day, reports the Texas Tribune.

The attacks include being screamed at and threatened with physical harm, as well as inappropriate sexual innuendos and racial slurs. At Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, workers have been pushed in the chest and urine thrown at them. Some of the attacks on Texas hospital nurses and other staff members have resulted in broken bones.

Although hospital employees have always been much more likely to experience workplace violence due to the nature of their jobs, the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Patients are dealing not only with the Delta variant of COVID-19, but also unemployment and other stresses.

What often prompts the violence is the requirement for everyone to wear a mask as well as undergo temperature screening or other types of health screenings at hospitals… requirements that are banned in other industries in the state (except in schools). Sometimes, long wait times prompt the incidents. As of September 5, nearly 88% of hospital beds in the state are in use, with more than 21% occupied by COVID-19 patients, reports the Texas Tribune.

However, it’s not just hospitals that are experiencing an increase in verbal and physical assaults. K-12 school board members have been threatened over the implementation of mask and vaccine mandates. The increase in violence has prompted some school security experts to encourage their clients to review their safety planning for school board meetings.

The airline industry has also experienced a steep rise in violence since the beginning of the pandemic. As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued more than $1 million in fines to unruly passengers this year.

Last year, grocery store workers experienced an increase in verbal and physical assaults.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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