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Hospital rampage highlights safety issues for Stanton nurses

Nurses at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife are calling for changes after a man went on a violent rampage in the emergency department, throwing equipment, toppling carts and threatening staff.

'This violence is occurring on a regular basis,' says union rep

Hospital rampage highlights safety issues for Stanton nurses

7 years ago
Duration 2:31
Hospital rampage highlights safety issues for Stanton nurses 2:31

The union representing staff at Stanton Territorial Hospital is calling for changes after a patient went on a violent rampage in the emergency department, throwing equipment, toppling carts and threatening staff.

Sheila Laity, an emergency room nurse who represents all unionized Stanton workers, says staff told her the patient carried on for about 15 minutes before RCMP came and removed him from the hospital.

“It was a violent episode that has brought to light the fact that this violence is occurring on a regular basis,” Laity says. “And the staff want action. They want action now. They don't want to wait; they want to be safe when they go to work.”

The incident happened two weeks ago.

Staff say the patient entered an off-limits area in the emergency department.

Laity says the staff hid in rooms; one woman even became trapped under a toppled cart.

A spokesperson for the RCMP says they responded to a call from staff requesting help. 

They arrested the man and lodged him in cells for the night. 

He was brought back the next day for unspecified treatment. 

He's facing pending charges of mischief causing damages over $5,000 and uttering threats.  

Security staff not allowed to step in

Security staff aren't allowed to step in what a patient gets violent. Laity says their job is to provide building security.

But now, the front line workers are demanding that change so they can feel safe at work.

“They want trained security staff that is able to intervene,” Laity says. “There have been many violent episodes in the past. It's a matter of time before somebody is gravely hurt.”

Laity says there is a growing amount of violence related to alcohol, drugs, and people with mental illness or people who are just angry.

“They bring baggage when they come and it may be redirected at the staff at the time that they're in the emergency department."

Laity says staff want more panic buttons accessible throughout the emergency department.

It’s also possible for staff to call a Code White, which will bring staff from all units to respond to an aggressive patient, but that would mean a staff member has to reach the phone, and sometimes more people can make the situation worse.

The hospital is meeting with emergency staff about the incident today.

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