J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
Norfolk General Hospital’s interim CEO is calling for an end to the harassment of health-care workers at the Simcoe hospital.
According to Norfolk County OPP, a man walked into the emergency department on Thursday around 6:30 p.m. and “made threats to hospital staff.”
Officers responded and arrested the man, a 23-year-old of no fixed address. He is charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.
The accused was held in custody pending a court appearance.
“We condemn, in the strongest of terms, this targeted and misdirected abuse and harassment of health-care workers that have occurred at our hospital,” interim CEO Kim Mullins said in a statement.
Police and hospital staff did not specify the nature of the threats, but Mullins said Thursday’s incident is only the latest example of patients and visitors hurling abuse at front-line workers, including “harmful messages, harassment, bullying, name-calling, ethnic insults, and verbal and physical abuse.”
Employees have suffered “emotional distress and moral injury” at a time they need all their energy to focus on providing care to patients, Mullins noted.
“This type of behaviour undermines the hard work and sacrifices of hospital staff, nurses, and physicians over the past 18 months,” she said.
While abuse has escalated during the pandemic, Mullins said the “overwhelming majority” of community members have expressed their support for hospital staff who have made “enormous sacrifices” to respond to COVID-19 while trying to maintain other health-care services.
Residents have sent cards of thanks and dropped off food for overworked employees, along with hanging signs of encouragement in their windows. Mullins said those efforts are appreciated and she hopes they will continue.
“We understand that people are growing tired of the pandemic, but we need everyone to show a little more kindness and respect to the staff, nurses and physicians who continue to selflessly work around the clock to provide care to those who need it most,” she said.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2021.
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