Exclusive by Leonie Mellor

Updated December 10, 2015 01:08:40

Employees at numerous of Queensland’s important public hospitals are frequently being kicked, hit, spat on and even seriously injured for doing their job.

A specific ABC investigation has shown the incidence of assaults has skyrocketed in the previous year, with employees suffering fractures, trauma and anxiety.

The ABC has obtained figures from Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH), Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) and Cairns Hospital more than the previous three monetary years.

It discovered the PA recorded the highest quantity of assaults with 831 over that period, although Cairns registered 641, the RBWH 636 and 587 at GCUH.

The RBWH recorded 349 physical assaults, while the PA recorded 331 over the 3 years to June.

The severity of attacks also appears to be escalating, with the number of worker’s compensation claims lodged last financial year surging to 107 at the 4 hospitals, far above the two previous years.

In the exact same period, reports recorded with Queensland Health’s incident management system (IMS) jumped to 1,121 in the year ending June 2015, far above the 824 recorded in 2013-14 and 866 in 2012-13.

Injuries to employees integrated fractures, cuts, trauma, anxiety and anxiety.

Nurses have borne the brunt of those injuries but safety officers, doctors and catering employees have also been attacked.

WorkCover claims have integrated trauma to muscles, a fractured skull and facial bones, chemical burns, anxiety and anxiety.

Some of the claims received state:

  • Kicked in face by a patient and arm twisted more than bed rail
  • Patient lunged with a knife at me.
  • I was signing a whiteboard outdoors the nurses space and patient came up and king hit me from the side. I fell and hit my head on the floor. The patient continued to punch me although I was unconscious on the floor.
  • A violent patient chasing, cornering and threatening myself and other staff of CCU and truly punching a nurse in the eye with a (redacted) optimistic blood stain.

Incidents lodged with Queensland Health’s technique paint a a lot more graphic picture of the abuse endured by staff:

  • Patient swearing … throwing a cup … employed words such as ‘you nurses are f*** ing c**** of s***s of nurses’.
  • Patient verbally and physically self-harming lunged at me punching left shoulder, bit two fingers on left hand, two lacerations bleeding broken skin, painful arm.
  • The patient came out from the pan area behind me and poured urine down my back saying: ‘It’s kero, I want to save you.’

In one incident, a highly intoxicated patient urinated on a trolley then whilst getting transferred to a new trolley fell forward, dragging the registered nurse with him so she fell face 1st into the urine-saturated trolley.

There have been reports of sufferers employing broken glass, knives and scissors to stab at nurses.

“While in shower, patient lunged forward and punched registered nurse in the reduce abdomen,” a single report stated.

Ice is devastating to the folks who use it, but alcohol would be on a scale of ten to a single what we deal with.

Dr Carl Dux, PA Hospital emergency physician

“While attempting to disentangle sufferers gown from pacing leads, patient punched myself in chin,” yet another mentioned.

“Stayed with patient to stop them pulling out pacing wires. Patient lunged forward and bit my left hand.”

The reports, obtained under proper to info laws, do not link person incidents to hospital, nor do they recommend that the 4 hospitals highlighted are any worse than others around the state.

‘Nobody need to have to place up with violence at work’

Queensland Nurses Union president Beth Mohle said a taskforce was examining what contributed to the violence and considering greater ways of handling it.

“No one need to have to put up with violence at perform or threats of violence at function, and that is why we are campaigning quite heavily on this situation,” she stated.

“This isn’t only as a outcome of ice in emergency departments it really is also as a result particularly of alcohol ingestion and also troubles such as dementia and assaults by mental wellness sufferers as properly.”

PA emergency doctor Dr Carl Dux mentioned violence was an daily part of the job.

TV still of Front driveway of Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane on August 6, 2008. Photo: More than 830 violent incidents were recorded at Princess Alexandra Hospital, most impacting females. (ABC Television)

“It’s so ingrained in our culture to deal with it now that it really is an expectation you’ll come to function and see people at least try to be violent with you,” he said.

“I guess what upsets staff the most is that we do not feel we can repair the big image, we’re selecting up pieces, but some of the huge image things are not getting addressed.

“We have a societal difficulty. I do not consider we can address it with one particular modify in emergency. We require to address this all through society.”

Drunk sufferers a lot more of a issue than ice: Doctor

Kelly Jenkins has been an emergency nurse for 17 years and presently works at the PA.

“Sufferers will try and punch out, they will try and kick out,” she said.

“We have had situations in the emergency division of people being physically abused.”

The pair said that despite the concentrate on the effects of the drug ice, alcohol remained the largest dilemma.

“Ice is devastating to the folks who use it, but alcohol would be on a scale of ten to 1 what we deal with,” Dr Dux said.

“What upsets us the most is it requires resources away from other sick men and women who never have a self-induced dilemma.

“They have not been out drinking all evening and they are critically unwell, but we’re attempting to deal with a person who’s been violent in emergency and that is most likely the most frustrating issue of the whole point.”

Safety guards now stationed at most key hospitals have been assisting staff to cope with violent individuals.

Assaults in Queensland hospitals, July 2012 to July 2015


“I don’t consider you would be in a position to employees emergency departments with no security,” Dr Dux stated.

“I definitely know that I would not perform right here and I think most individuals would leave with me.

“It really is the identical as saying, how important is oxygen.”

Ms Jenkins said that on a great day security may only be called a dozen instances but on a poor day it was every single hour.

She said the function was difficult and at times she felt scared by aggressive sufferers, but her years of experience in emergency nursing had built resilience.

Despite the growing incidence of assaults, it is uncommon for charges to be laid.

Ms Jenkins said it was component of the culture and that nurses were naturally nurturing men and women.

“I do not consider you would be a nurse if you did not want to look soon after men and women and I think you can look past it at times,” she said.

“I know myself personally I consider we’ll they are in a poor spot at the time. Perhaps they chose the incorrect decisions when they did but they may possibly be on that road now that they don’t know how to get back.

“So you occasionally for forgive them for where they are and you try and treat them as ideal you can.”

Subjects: healthcare-facilities, physicians-and-medical-pros, unions, alcohol, mental-wellness, brisbane-4000

Very first posted December ten, 2015 01:02:16

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