Purple ribbon campaign started to spread awareness of violence against nurses
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019 9:05PM ADT
Concern is spreading throughout hospitals in New Brunswick and beyond after an attack on a nurse in Moncton.
It's sparked a purple ribbon campaign to raise awareness about violence in the workplace.
A candle was dropped off on Norma Melanson's doorstep.
It bore this message: “Nurses have compassion to care, and kindness to spare, and blessed are the nurses with love to share.”
Melanson is the mother of Natasha Poirier, who is still recovering from serious injuries she suffered after being beaten while working a shift at the George Dumont Hospital.
“(He) pulled out two handfuls of hair and then banged her in the wall and struck her in the ribs with his knees and then floored her and was trying to choke her,” said Melanson.
The suspect is alleged to be the husband of a patient who grew frustrated after his wife was transferred to another room.
“At one point she was sure that she was going to die,” Melanson said. “And she was unable to say goodbye to each and every one of us.”
Melanson says her daughter now has a concussion, two black eyes and a possible broken nose. She has to wear sunglasses indoors to ease the migraines.
Perhaps one of Poirier’s biggest pains is the uncertainty of when she will return to work.
“It's not going to be a few weeks, it's going to be a long time,” said Melanson. “We're talking about months. And then she cries and cries.”
Nurses across the region are now wearing a purple ribbon across their chest in support for a campaign that’s raising awareness for violence against nurses in the workplace. It's also gaining traction on social media, from many supporters who are outside the health care professions as well.
“Nurses needed to show a sign of support,” said Norbert Robichaud, the New Brunswick Nurses Union local president. “A way to support that victim.”
Robichaud says the alleged attack sent a shockwave through the entire hospital.
“We are care givers,” Robichaud said. “We're here to give you care. Not to hurt you. We're here to help you.”
Poirier is receiving care at home and her family is always nearby.
“My heart cries all the time,” Melanson said. “I have a lot of tears in my heart.”
A 69-year-old man from Acadieville, N.B., was arrested and released on condition that he will appear in court June 4.
At the Georges Dumont Hospital there are talks in the works as far as upping the security and part of those talks include potentially adding more staff members so that no one is alone if anything like this were to ever happen again.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.