Last Friday afternoon, an individual caused damage in the emergency department at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Elliot Lake and yesterday, the Ontario Nurses Association responded to the incident.
Not only was the emergency shutdown for a few hours, but ambulance services also had to be diverted to Blind River when an individual rampaged through the department.
In a press release, association president RN Vicki McKenna states the incident demonstrated how unprepared employers are in dealing with workplace violence and how fortunate neither staff nor patients were hurt.
She says there are three key issues; was there security on-site, was everyone aware of the Code White, known as violence in the hospital setting and how has the staff been trained to deal with violence.
McKenna states in many cases, police will bring patients to an ER and leave them to be cared for by staff, and too often there is a lack of security, as well as training, policies and procedures for dealing with unpredictable patients.
She is calling on the government to take action to ensure such incidents are not repeated.
A police investigation is also ongoing.