THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Police Service Primary Response officers dealt with two separate incidents this past weekend involving altercations between patients and health care workers at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).
First, TBPS officers transported a 15-year-old female involved in a mental health call to the hospital on the evening of Saturday June 18, 2022. A health care worker was assaulted while attempting to aid the female. The worker sustained a nonlife threatening injury and had a personal item damaged in the altercation.
The 15-year-old was subsequently charged with Assault Causing Bodily Harm and Mischief Under $5,000. This individual cannot be identified in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Second, a health care worker was struck by a patient at the TBRHSC on the afternoon of Sunday June 19, 2022. TBPS officers responded to investigate. The health care worker was not injured and did not wish to have the patient charged. A police report was filed by the responding officer following this incident.
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre on June 10th launched an anti-violence program.
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) has launched a public campaign aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of workplace violence.
Designed internally, and with extensive input from front line staff and Patient Family Advisors, the campaign will acknowledge the workplace violence challenges in the ED, remind the community to act in a respectful manner with health care workers, emphasize that any form of violence will not be tolerated, and show support for ED staff and all health care workers at TBRHSC.
Over the past decade, workplace violence in the health care sector has been increasing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only magnified the issue. A 2017 report by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CNFU) states “the number of violence-related lost-time claims for frontline health care workers has increased by almost 66% over the past decade, three times the rate of increase for police and correctional service officers combined.”
“Health care workers have the right to do their jobs in an environment that is free from violence,” said President and CEO Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott. “Workplace violence can take the form of physical assault, emotional or verbal abuse, racial or sexual harassment, or bullying and can be perpetrated by patients, family members and other visitors, co-workers or superiors. Workplace violence affects both staff and patients while eroding the quality of care and impacting health outcomes.”