Nurse as­saulted by pa­tient at St. Joseph’s

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - JOEL OPHARDT jophardt@thes­pec.com 905-526-3408

A union leader wants St. Joseph’s to dou­ble up staff when in­ter­act­ing with pa­tients, fol­low­ing a nurs­ing as­sault.

Domenic Di­Pasquale, pres­i­dent of CUPE Lo­cal 786 said that at about 5:30 a.m. Fri­day, a reg­is­tered prac­ti­cal nurse was ap­proached by a pa­tient in the Schizophre­nia Unit at St. Joseph’s West 5th cam­pus, seek­ing med­i­ca­tion. He ac­com­pa­nied her to the desk as she re­trieved the med­i­ca­tion, fol­lowed her back, and when she be­gan treat­ing him, “he pro­ceeded to try to kiss her.”

When she backed away, he tack­led and groped her pri­vate parts, said Di­Pasquale.

“She was tack­led, but she got free,” at which point she alerted staff nearby. The pa­tient is now re­ceiv­ing one-on-one care from a male staff mem­ber, he said.

A code white alert was never called by the nurse, he added, be­cause there was other staff nearby.

St. Joseph’s spokesper­son Agnes Bongers con­firmed via email an in­ci­dent took place Fri­day, say­ing it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for the hos­pi­tal to “go into de­tail at this point.

“We moved quickly to en­sure the right sup­port was in place for the staff mem­ber in­volved, that all safety sys­tems were func­tion­ing, and that the pa­tient’s con­di­tion and cir­cum­stances were re­viewed to de­ter­mine most ap­pro­pri­ate care and staff safety,” Bongers wrote.

The hos­pi­tal will re­view the event to de­ter­mine if other safety mea­sures are needed for staff and pa­tients, she added.

“Any time you are by your­self, you are at more risk,” said Di­Pasquale, who hopes se­cu­rity teams will also be­gin hall­way pa­trols as they do at St. Joseph’s Charl­ton site.

From Dec. 16 to Feb. 3, there were at least six in­ci­dents of vi­o­lent as­saults at St. Joseph’s. On Dec. 16, two nurses suf­fered con­cus­sions af­ter re­peated punches to the head. Dur­ing a Jan. 20 as­sault, sev­eral per­sonal alarms failed, prompt­ing the hos­pi­tal to an­nounce it would be re­plac­ing its sys­tem.

Hamil­ton Po­lice, con­tacted Satur­day evening, said they had no in­for­ma­tion about the in­ci­dent.

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