Nurses Attacked at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital: Safety, Security Measures Still Lacking

    TORONTO, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - Three registered nurses have been injured by a
psychiatric patient at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital, again spotlighting the
serious ongoing failure of the hospital's management to ensure the security
and safety of its staff.
    The assaults took place on August 18 on the psychiatric unit of the
hospital - the location of a previous, serious violent incident. Extra
security measures that had been instituted five years ago had been lifted,
leaving the RNs on duty at extra risk. The nurses were also working short
staffed and their request for a replacement nurse to be brought in was
dismissed by management.
    "It's heart-stopping to hear of another case of nurses being assaulted at
Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital," said Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President
Linda Haslam-Stroud. "There is no excuse for leaving nurses in such a
vulnerable position, especially with the history of problems this unit and
this hospital has."
    A patient - known to have a history of violent behavior - knocked one of
the RNs to the floor and ripped sections of her hair out of her scalp. A
second RN, who is still suffering long-term effects from an assault she
suffered in the same unit, triggered her personal alarm system and tried
unsuccessfully to pull the patient off her colleague. A third RN ran to assist
and suffered soft-tissue injuries to her arm. A fourth nurse arrived on the
scene and managed to stop the attack.
    "Staffing issues, including the hospital's practice of saving money by
not replacing the first sick call, has been the source of concern for
Hotel-Dieu nurses for some time," says Haslam-Stroud. "Our members have been
documenting workload issues, and now ONA has filed a grievance - already
denied by the hospital - and called in the Ministry of Labour to investigate
this incident. But the answer to this situation lies with management. They
must take safety and security more seriously, and if the workplace murder of
Lori Dupont didn't impress that upon them, what will?"

    ONA is the union representing 53,000 front-line registered nurses and
allied health professionals working in Ontario hospitals, long-term care
facilities, public health, the community and industry.

For further information:

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Sheree Bond, (416)
964-8833, ext. 2430, Cellular: (416) 986-8240

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