Two Nurses Stabbed at L.A. County Hospitals

By Richard Negri, Health and Safety Director, SEIU Local 121RN

We learned of two separate and horrific incidents of workplace violence that happened yesterday at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in the Los Angeles area.

The first attack happened when a man allegedly bypassed the weapons screening area at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar and stabbed a nurse several times in her upper body with a knife. She is in critical condition.

Later in the morning, another man walked into Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, grabbed a nurse and stabbed her in the ear with a pencil. The nurse was treated at the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

These are not isolated incidents. As we push to get a comprehensive Cal/OSHA workplace violence prevention standard that covers all healthcare workers in California, we hear about the violence that healthcare workers experience on the job on a daily basis. The violence – physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal – is pandemic, but not all of it “makes” the news. It is not until attacks occur such as the two that happened yesterday that the mainstream media reports about the problem.

The mindset that violence is “part of the job” for healthcare workers needs to change. Violence of any kind against healthcare workers is intolerable and that’s why we are pushing for regulation that will put both engineering and administrative controls in place to help eliminate the predictable and preventable hazard of workplace violence.

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