When you consider the on-the-job hazards that most nurses typically face, one usually lists things like needle sticks, exposure to contagious diseases and back injuries from moving heavy patients in and out of bed. Few people think that the nurses’ own patients could snap and attack them — possibly even killing them.
But for one unfortunate nurse in another state, that is exactly what happened last year. The 56-year old nurse at Baton Rouge General Mid City hospital in Louisiana was injured when she intervened in a physical altercation between a patient and a fellow nurse.
Her intercession was enough to distract the patient who was receiving treatment at the facility for a psychiatric diagnosis. The other nurse was able to escape, but then the patient turned his wrath toward the nurse who intervened. He injured her seriously enough that her wounds required surgical intervention.
Sadly, while she was recovering from the incident at the same hospital at which she was attacked, she suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism as a complication of the surgery. A warrant was issued for the patient’s arrest on charges of manslaughter.
These type of situations don’t happen often, but even once is too much. No nurse should have to fear for her life at the hands of one of her patients. But when treating psych patients and even angry and violent patients who come through the emergency room. nurses do indeed face a heightened risk of physical violence from their patients and even their patients’ family members.
If you were a nurse who was wounded in an altercation with a patient, it is important to know that you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover your losses, damages and medical bills.