Nurses demand safer workplace after assault at Saint John hospital
Nurses in New Brunswick are demanding a safer workplace following an alleged incident in which staff members at the province’s largest hospital were assaulted.
The alleged incident on Monday left staff members at the Saint John Regional Hospital with cuts, bruises and some needed medical attention.
“Four nursing staff and one physician sustained some injuries in an altercation with a patient,” confirms Brenda Kinney, executive director of the Saint John Regional Hospital.
“They were immediately treated for their injuries and were not admitted to the facility.”
Kinney says the incident occurred in the neuro-intensive care unit. Police were called but the patient had already been restrained when officers arrived.
The New Brunswick Nurses Union is calling the latest assault “predictable” and “preventable.”
The union says it has raised safety concerns with Horizon Health in the past, but to no avail.
“At the Saint John Regional, for the past several years, this has been on our radar,” says Marilyn Quinn, president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union.
Quinn says Horizon Health, which administers the facility, has a responsibility to protect both workers and patients, and incidents like the one that happened Monday are becoming sadly familiar.
“I think what it highlights for me is how long we’ve talked about the issue and how many more nurses in the province have to be subject to this kind of violence,” says Quinn.
Security at the hospital will be under intense scrutiny in a few months when a coroner’s inquest examines the death of Serena Perry, a 22-year-old woman who died while being treated in the hospital’s psychiatric ward.
“There’s been a lot of effort put in place, looking at our security and responses and I know there are a variety of plans put in place and we certainly have access to additional security, depending on what the need is,” says Kinney.
Management says the situation on Monday was upsetting for everyone and staff were offered stress debriefing the following day.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron