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Violence against nurses cause more than serious injury

Employees in the health care industry nationwide, including in Illinois, often face life-threatening situations in carrying out their duties. The prevalence of violent attacks by patients in hospitals and other health care settings is a matter of grave concern. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says almost three-quarters of reported workplace assaults causing serious injury from 2011 through 2013 occurred in health care facilities.

Three nurses shared their ordeals, explaining that being groped and slapped is not at all uncommon. One described how she was repeatedly punched in the head. A third nurse said her life was changed forever after she suffered a brain aneurysm resulting from a blood pressure spike that occurred when she was bitten by a patient. In recent years, hospitals around Chicago have experienced a number of violent incidents.

In May, an inmate from the Kane County Jail held two nurses hostage in a hospital in Geneva. He did this after overpowering the corrections officer who was guarding him, taking the officer's firearm. Police managed to shoot the inmate, but not before he had sexually assaulted the one nurse. Not long after that incident, a convicted murderer who was at a medical facility in Joliet for treatment held a nursing assistant and a corrections officer hostage, armed with a makeshift weapon.

Working under such stressful circumstances is unthinkable. Nevertheless, any Illinois health care worker who suffers a serious injury while on duty can rely on the workers' compensation insurance program to cover medical expenses and lost income caused by a temporary disability. Such trauma can also cause psychological damage such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and with the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney, other benefits may be included to cover additional expenses brought about by trauma.

Source:, "As hospital violence grows, nurses seek reforms", Kate Thayer, Hannah Leone, Aug. 19, 2017

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