Hurting the healers: Nursing's silent victims

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
In their professional oath, nurses pledge "not do anything evil or malicious."

But what happens when nurses are the victims of evil by malicious patients?

The I-Team has found a culture of violence in hospitals, where some attacks on nurses are underreported...or not reported at all.

"The only professions that are more dangerous than nursing are firefighters and police officers" said Alice Johnson, executive director of the Illinois Nurses Association.

Two recent, violent attacks on nurses at suburban Chicago hospitals highlight a bigger problem of violence in the healthcare workplace-where an unsafe environment is dangerous not only for care givers but for patients and their families.

Delnor Hospital hostage incident, May 13, 2017. (ABC7 photo)

In May two nurses were taken hostage by a jail inmate being treated at Delnor Hospital in west suburban Geneva and one of them was sexually assaulted. "For the entire time that she was held captive, he held her hair with one hand, he had the gun to her head with the other hand" said Sean Murray an attorney for the nurses who have filed a lawsuit.

A few weeks later there was another inmate incident, at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in southwest suburban Joliet. A convicted murderer used a makeshift weapon to hold a nursing assistant and a corrections officer hostage. No one was physically hurt.

According to the government, violence against healthcare workers accounts for nearly as many serious injuries as all other industries combined. It is estimated only one of every five violent incidents against nurse is actually reported. Experts interviewed by the I-Team say many are not reported-especially if there is no obvious physical injury keeping the nurse out of work.
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