Newly passed bill will better protect ER staff from assault

POSTED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 3:26pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 8:36pm

"When someone comes to the ER, it's not their best day."

St. Joseph Medical Director, Dr. Brandon Lewis, has worked in enough emergency rooms throughout his career that he's seen it all; from distressed patients to irrational family members.

"Violence is something we see in all emergency rooms because we deal with people who are having psychiatric emergencies, people who are in traumatic situations, people who have alcohol and drug problems," Dr. Lewis said. 

It's a problem that happens all too often and now the Texas Legislature is taking steps to protect hospital staff by upping the charges if an employee is assaulted.

It's called House Bill 705.

"The point of this bill is to ensure that emergency workers in the hospital get the same protection as those who work outside of the hospital." said Dr. Lewis.

Now assaulting an ER doctor or nurse is the same offense as assaulting a police officer, firefighter or EMS... and it's a third degree felony.

Dr. Lewis says while you can never predict if someone will lash out, the new bill gives him and his staff a sense of relief knowing they'll be protected, if someone does.

"It makes us feel recognized and that people understand the job we are doing and the protection we deserve."

house bill 705 goes into effect September 1st.


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