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'It’s not part of the job': ER violence on the rise in P.E.I.


Two violent incidents in Prince Edward Island are just an example of the danger health-care workers face in crowded emergency rooms.

One P.E.I. ER physician says it’s a national trend with reports of violence increasing by 70 per cent over the last decade

“I’ve been assaulted. I’ve seen our nurses assaulted,” said Dr. Trevor Jain, a spokesman with the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP). “In my emergency department, recently, we’ve had a code silver, with extreme violence in the emergency department.”

Police say a man threw chairs and threatened people with a pencil at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital emergency room last week.

Officers used a Taser to subdue the man.

Health Minister Mark McLane was questioned shortly after it happened

“We have invested in security in order to protect our workers. We understand they’re under some significant challenges in all of our facilities,” he said. “It’s important we protect them as much as we can.”

Health PEI says they met with staff immediately after the incident and security protocols aren't being changed.

A patient at the new mental health ER is accused of assaulting a pair of nurses last month. Their union says they’re looking for answers.

“PEINU has requested the latest risk assessment results for the QEH Emergency Department,” said Barbara Brookins, president of the Prince Edward Island Nurses Union. “As of now, we have not received this crucial information.

Health PEI says they’re in regular discussions with unions about any incident involving violence and safety and the safety of staff is vitally important.

Dr. Jain said doctors aren’t supported when they face violence and he wants to see accountability among senior management.

“To make it a culture of safety, and realize that no, you know, being punched in the face, bitten, or worse, equipment damage that could affect other patients, is not appropriate,” said Dr. Jain. “It’s not part of the job.”

He said, after an assault, doctors feel abandoned under the current system and they want sweeping changes to fix that.

CAEP has released a list of 18 recommendations to that effect.

For more Prince Edward Island news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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