As cases of COVID-19 increase in West Michigan, healthcare systems around the region say doctors and nurses are experiencing an increased number of workplace violence incidents.
During a State of Health West Michigan conference call the leaders of Spectrum Health West Michigan, Mercy Health St. Mary's and University of Michigan- West say incidents involving patients and hospital staff has been increasing over the last two years.
Spectrum Health West Michigan President Dr. Darryl Elmouchi says over the last 20 months as Society has become more stressed they're taking it out very often on the people who are trying to care for them.
"Every single day we have a report out at the lunch hour about workplace violence issues and every single day we hear about workplace violence. Nurses being hit, scratched, spit on, yelling at doctors and nurses.” Elmouchi said “At the same it's really really challenging and sad and so hard for caregivers who really are the heroes to face this and I think this is a national problem.”
Dr. Peter Hahn, President and CEO, University of Michigan Health-West agreed with Elmouchi's comments.
“Workplace violence is unacceptable, tragic and it's contributing to I think people leaving healthcare, those are people that we vitally need not just now but in the future” Hahn said.
Dr. Matt Biersack President, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s echoed what his colleagues mentioned.
“I think this is the third crisis if you will, that we're dealing with right now in addition to covid and just a contracting workforce.” Biersack said. “It's just the threat that our colleagues face on a day-to-day basis, our staff is yelled at, hit, punched and scratched on a day-to-day basis.” “It feels unrelenting and it is a reason for people to make decisions unfortunately to leave healthcare after only being in for a few years and this is a serious issue that we're facing.”
All three agreed that this time is stressful during the holidays, the pandemic and supply chain problems but ask the broader community to have patience and kindness with hospital staff.