Just days after two shootings at hospitals in Oklahoma and Ohio, an assailant stabbed three workers at a California hospital, highlighting “the escalating threat of violence facing health workers in recent years.”
Infographics: Strategies to stop violence in the workplace before it happens
A California hospital is facing a knife attack
On Friday, a man entered the ED c Encino Hospital Medical Center asks to be treated for anxiety before stabbing three staff members, including a doctor and two nurses. Passers-by and other staff members managed to barricade the man in a small room until police arrived.
After an hour of confrontation, SWAT officers detained the attacker and transported him to another hospital to be treated for what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds on his hands. The attacker was later identified as Ashkan Amirsoleimani, 35, and was subsequently charged with three counts of attempted murder after being treated.
According to Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of The Los Angeles Police Department Valley BureauAmiresoleimani had a previous criminal record, including two arrests last year for resisting arrest and beating a police officer. However, the motive for his attack at the hospital has not yet been determined.
After the attack, all three victims were transported to Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center for treatment. By Saturday, two of the victims had been treated and released, but one victim remained in good but stable condition.
In a statement, Elizabeth Nickels, spokeswoman for Prime Healthcarewho runs Encino Hospital, said “hospital management and other staff members responded quickly, showing incredible heroism, ensuring that the attacker was locked in a room without being able to hurt others.”
“No one else in the hospital was injured. All the patients in the ED wards and hospital wards received uninterrupted care, which is an incredible tribute to the dedication and courage of the Encino hospital team, ”added Nickels. “The main focus was to ensure that patients were safe and away from danger throughout the incident and that patient care was continuous.”
Growing need to protect health workers against violence
According to Robert Wales, president of California Medical Associationthese recent acts of violence in hospitals underscore the escalating threat of violence facing health professionals in recent years.
After the pandemic, the risk of violence in the workplace became a significant occupational hazard for many health workers. For example, a study published in Health and safety at work found that 44.4% of nurses reported physical violence and 67.8% of nurses reported having experienced verbal abuse during the pandemic.
“Our employees are screaming, hitting, hitting, scratching, we hear about it every day,” said Matt Beerstack, president of Mercy Health St. Mary.
In March, American Hospital Association President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Pollack sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to support legislation addressing violent behavior against health care workers.
“For medical professionals, assault or intimidation can no longer be tolerated as ‘part of the job’. This unacceptable situation requires a federal response, “Pollack wrote.
Legislation is currently in place to deal with shootings and other acts of violence in health facilities. For example, the House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would require healthcare employers to implement plans to prevent violence in the workplace.
“We are heartbroken and determined to stand in solidarity with our colleagues who have dedicated their lives to saving the lives of others,” Wales said. “We send not only our deepest condolences, but also our indignation that such senseless acts of violence continue to harass our nation. (Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 6/4; White et al., NBC Los Angeles, 6/4; Hayes, USA Today, 6/4; Henderson, MedPage today6/6)