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Increasing numbers of assaults in American emergency rooms against healthcare professionals and medical support staff have been recorded as initiated by various patients, their relatives, and significant others. Some of these attacks are assaults with deadly weapons. This may be one reason that we have a shortage of healthcare professionals working today.

During January 2015, such an assault – a shooting – happened in Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It caused the death of a heart surgeon, Michael J. Davidson, MD. His patient, an older woman, died and her son came into the hospital a few months later with a loaded gun to seek vengeance. He is in the legal system at this time, but that does not bring back the deceased doctor, whose patients have been added to the already heavy workload of other professionals..

This is not an isolated incident. At St. John’s Hospital in Mapplewood, Minnesota a male patient pulled a metal bar out of the railing on the side of his bed, chased a nurse down a hallway, and beat her when she fell. In Central Ohio we are hearing about patients and visitors becoming angry and violent about wait times, questions about treatment, and other irritants. Families sometimes fight among themselves and the healthcare staff is injured when they attempt to intervene to keep the hospital an orderly place.

America seems always short of nurses and doctors. Before Obamacare took effect in 2013 – 2014, estimates were that the numbers of nurses, doctors, and support staff needed after Obamacare would decrease, but the opposite has been true.

To fill medical and other health care treatment and support positions across the United States, steps must be taken to ensure safety on the job.  Everyone deserves a safe workplace.

See: Can Emergency Room Violence Toward Staff Be Prevented?

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