3 Nurses Attacked at Windsor, Ontario Hospital

Published: August 26, 2007

The Ontario (Canada) Nurses Association (ONA) released the following press release Aug. 22:

Nurses Attacked at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital: Safety, Security Measures Still Lacking

TORONTO – Three registered nurses have been injured by a psychiatric patient at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital, again spotlighting the serious ongoing failure of the hospital’s management to ensure the security and safety of its staff.

The assaults took place on August 18 on the psychiatric unit of the hospital – the location of a previous, serious violent incident. Extra security measures that had been instituted five years ago had been lifted, leaving the RNs on duty at extra risk. The nurses were also working short staffed and their request for a replacement nurse to be brought in was dismissed by management.

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“It’s heart-stopping to hear of another case of nurses being assaulted at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital,” said Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “There is no excuse for leaving nurses in such a vulnerable position, especially with the history of problems this unit and this hospital has.”

A patient – known to have a history of violent behavior – knocked one of the RNs to the floor and ripped sections of her hair out of her scalp. A second RN, who is still suffering long-term effects from an assault she suffered in the same unit, triggered her personal alarm system and tried unsuccessfully to pull the patient off her colleague. A third RN ran to assist and suffered soft-tissue injuries to her arm. A fourth nurse arrived on the scene and managed to stop the attack.

“Staffing issues, including the hospital’s practice of saving money by not replacing the first sick call, has been the source of concern for Hotel-Dieu nurses for some time,” says Haslam-Stroud. “Our members have been documenting workload issues, and now ONA has filed a grievance – already denied by the hospital – and called in the Ministry of Labour to investigate this incident. But the answer to this situation lies with management. They must take safety and security more seriously, and if the workplace murder of Lori Dupont didn’t impress that upon them, what will?”

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ONA press release

ONA is the union representing 53,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals working in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.

For more information: Ontario Nurses’ Association, Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430 , Cellular: (416) 986-8240

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