Nurses Seek Tougher Penalties for Assaults

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Fed up with increasing violence at U.S. hospitals, nurses throughout the country are seeking harsher criminal penalties for violent assaults against healthcare workers.

Violence against nurses and other medical officials has been increasing as more psychiatric patients, drug addicts and alcoholics are visiting emergency rooms, according to

A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that drug- and alcohol-related incidents in the ER rose from about 1.6 million in 2005 to nearly 2 million in 2008. From 2006 to 2008, those visits resulting in violence increased from 16,277 to 21,406. Just last year, more than half of 3,465 emergency nurses reported in an anonymous, online survey conducted by the Emergency Nurses Association being assaulted at work.

The American College of Emergency Physicians has recommended that hospitals increase safety measures by adding 24-hour security guards, ID badges, bulletproof glass and panic buttons for hospital personnel to push in case of an emergency.

Currently, 26 states are considering tougher penalties for those who assault health care workers.

Read the full article.


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