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Under assault: Data shows Santa Clara County hospital workers routinely attacked on the job

Original post made on Jan 14, 2021

Each year, hundreds of health care workers in Santa Clara County hospitals are punched, kicked, spat on, slapped or worse, and it's a problem that has nurses worried someone is going to get killed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 14, 2021, 1:15 PM

Comments (7)

Posted by support our healthcare workers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2021 at 4:20 pm

support our healthcare workers is a registered user.

Thanks for this really eye-opening report about violence against healthcare workers. I had no idea.

I was sexually assaulted three times in doctor appointments, once when I was young, once when I was so sick I almost needed nursing home care, and once when I was a young mother. I never felt like there was anyone I could report the first one to--though I tried years later after MeToo, without success. I tried to report the second to the police, because there was evidence of other women being assaulted (and photographed) and was ridiculed by the officer (twice). The last I tried to report to other doctors and they justified it away.

Chronic health problems and being a woman have not made for the most respectful treatment from some in the medical profession (though the good ones have added immeasurably to my ability to lead my life). There have been times when that disrespectful treatment of me as a patient have been so extreme -- and I'm sure they thought they were just doing their jobs -- I can remember thinking that it's a good thing I'm not predisposed to being violent.

So while I am appalled to learn of this and think we need to do everything we can to protect healthcare workers who put their lives on the line for patients, the physical and psychological violence can go both ways or may even be related in some cases. I really think the problems should be looked at together, not in isolation.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 14, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"A representative for Stanford Hospital declined to comment for this story and would not provide information on its workplace violence incidents. State data shows the bulk of the 176 reported incidents at the hospital occurred in the inpatient rooms (103), the emergency room (26) and the behavioral health unit (26). In six incidents, staff reported unwanted sexual contact."

Shame on Stanford Hospital. What are our local, state and county officials doing about this?

Posted by resident
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 15, 2021 at 11:34 am

resident is a registered user.

The majority of health workers are trying to save and improve lives under very difficult circumstances. When this pandemic is over, I hope that the US government and the AMA will make changes to reduce the low pay, long hours, sleep deprivation, inordinate amounts of paperwork that can take a toll. Then they will "only" have to deal with the emotional trauma associated with death and dying.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Fits in with current in vogue lax response to criminal behavior in state of California.
It’s likely not PC to stop criminal assaults, much less charge and convict: see SF Chesa Boudin and LA George Gascon.
Stanford takes on major public challenges. No current experience, but in mid 80’s it was known for criminals stealing patients’ possessions - all were warned to take care.
But assaulting health care employees is absolutely unacceptable!
NO excuse “Oh, they’re a drug addict - they’re high.”
Add on charges then if they spit on, assault a health care worker!
The public needs to be protected from criminals. Our health care professionals did not sign up to be attacked.

Posted by Beth
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jan 15, 2021 at 9:08 pm

Beth is a registered user.

I am a retired RN who worked at EPS at VMC for 25 years. I retired in 2013. In 2007 I was assaulted by a patient resulting in a neck injury that caused me to need a 4 level fusion. What upset me the most was that I knew the young patient was going to assault staff and I told this to the MDs. He displayed all the signs of agitation and paranoia. They declined to listen to my warning and my request for medication for the patient. As a result of the doctors dismissal of my concerns, I was brutally assaulted and have lifetime consequences as a result. At the time I wrote letters regarding my concern to the medical director at the time (who was Dolly Sharma I believe ). I also wrote to the director of nurses. I got boiler plate responses.
The patients were there for a reason and they deserved to be heard and treated by professionals, not physicians who were more interested in gossiping than listening to an experienced RN who was informing them of a serious issue.
It was a very dangerous place to work.

Posted by James B
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 17, 2021 at 11:20 pm

James B is a registered user.

I know that it sounds counter to the purpose of health care, but embattled workers may need to be trained and provided with portable stun gun equipment to remediate potentially dangerous situations. It's not an answer to every example but should receive proper logical, not emotional, consideration.

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 18, 2021 at 12:39 pm

John is a registered user.

Police are told ad nauseam that unarmed people can't be a serious threat and that tiny nurses control dangerous patients "all the time." Perhaps reality is different from media myths.

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