NJ hospital allegedly failed to protect workers from violent patients: 5 things to know

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Paramus, N.J.-based Bergen Regional Medical Center Aug. 18 for allegedly failing to protect employees from violent patients, according to a report from NJ Advance Media.

Here are five things to know about the allegations.

1. Following a worker's complaint, federal officials found that at least eight employees were victims of violent patients during the time period of Feb. 22, 2015, through June 12, 2015, according to the report.

2. One of the incidents involved a nurse who suffered a laceration and bruises attempting to stop an attack on a patient. Employees also reported patients had barricaded them in rooms, threatened them, exposed them to blood-borne pathogens and bitten, punched and kicked them, OSHA said, according to NJ Advance Media.

3. OSHA not only cited Bergen Regional for failing to keep the workplace free of hazards, but also for incorrectly recording workplace injuries on a federal form. The hospital faces $13,600 in penalties.

4. In response to the citations, Bergen Regional has requested an informal conference with OSHA. Donalee Corrieri, a spokeswoman for the hospital, noted in a statement that Bergen Regional serves many patients with mental health and addiction issues. "Caring for patients whose disease makes their actions unpredictable is challenging, as all healthcare workers understand," Ms. Corrieri said, according to the report. "We look forward to the OSHA conference and having the opportunity to, as has been done in the past, successfully address any concerns and thus remove/reduce the citations."

5. The citations come as the future of the hospital is unclear. Bergen Regional, the largest hospital and licensed nursing home in New Jersey, is owned by Bergen County and leased to a private operator. The lease runs out in 2017. According to NJ Advance Media, a 13-member committee was appointed to recommend what to do with the hospital once the lease expires.

 

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