RICHLAND, WA- Over the last 10 years there has been an 110% percent increase of violence against nurses. That's according to the Washington State Nurses Association who claims it's become so bad, that nurses are more likely to be victims of violence than prison guards or police officers.
And it's happening right here in the Tri-Cities.
On September 16th, Ashley Schade, a nurse a Kadlec, was choked by a patient. Court documents show that while Schade was changing Bruce Darlings IV, he grabbed her, put his hands around her neck, saying ''I'm going to kill you.'' Court documents go on to say this went on for about 20-30 seconds before several nurses ran to help her.
She posted her experience to Facebook and it's going viral, racking up 66 thousand shares. In her post Schade writes: "I’m putting this out there to bring awareness of what is happening in hospitals. Not just in big cities, but right here."
And she's not the only one.
On September 9th, RN Karina Bethje overheard a patient becoming verbally aggressive with one of her co-workers. Court documents for this case show that the patient, Melinda Rose, was an involuntary commitment and was scheduled to go to Tacoma to a mental health facility the next morning. The documents say Rose became aggressive with staff as the night went on and when hospital staff when to detain her, she assaulted them.
Bethje was one of three nurses listed in the documents who was hurt in the process. "When I was holding their hand behind their back I took quite a few scratches to my hand." said Bethje.
Bethje also shared her photos on Facebook, along with the hashtag #endnurseabuse. She said these incidents happen more than you think.
Jayson Dick, with the Washington State Nurses Association, said this is unacceptable. "Unfortunately there is a mentality that this is a part of the job. This shouldn't be par for the course or an expectation of a nurse's career to put their life on the line when they walk into a patients room."
The Washington State Nurses Association released a statement to KNDU saying: "WSNA is calling on Kadlec – and all hospitals around the state – to ensure adequate staffing of nurses, other health care workers, and security personnel, along with needed training on how to handle violent medical patients."
It goes on to say:
"Nurses should not have to risk their personal safety just to do their jobs of giving patients the very best care. We are horrified at the recent assaults on nurses in the emergency department at Kadlec and on ICU nurse Ashley Schade. WSNA is fully supporting Ashley’s efforts to pursue justice and raising awareness of the alarmingly high incidence of nurse abuse."
KNDU reached out to Kadlec who released a statement as well.
"Kadlec does not tolerate any aggression against members of our staff. Unfortunately, we recognize workplace violence in health care settings across the country is on the rise and that our organization is no exception. We are concerned about this trend and we take threats against our staff very seriously. Our highest priority at Kadlec is the safety of our caregivers and patients. It is for this reason that we continually seek ways to enhance the safeguards we have in place. We work closely with our security team and the Richland Police Department to regularly evaluate our safety and security procedures, and provide training to staff on how to deter and respond to physical threats No matter the training offered or all the measures in place, situations can arise where caregivers who are providing care to patients may be in harm’s way because of a patient or a patient’s friend or family member. We recently had 2 incidents where Kadlec caregivers were physically harmed by patients. We fully support the affected members of our caregiver staff and their well-being. We are working with these caregivers and their co-workers to help them through these ordeals. In addition, we have been in close contact with the Richland Police Department and understand they are recommending charges be filed by the Benton County Prosecutor’s office. We support this action as we will not tolerate any aggression against members of our staff. We are also engaged in reviewing, and if necessary, improving our protocols to help deter future incidents, and will do everything we can to maintain a safe environment. Our commitment to providing safe, compassionate care to our patients and our caregivers remains steadfast. We want to publicly thank all caregivers who are part of the Kadlec team for providing high quality care to our patients and helping make Kadlec a safe, healing environment for our community."
The WSNA provided KNDU with the court documents to show that charges have already been filed for both violent encounters.