HALIFAX – A pregnant nurse was injured this week after being attacked while on duty at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, her union says.
Jason MacLean, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said the nurse, who is 33 weeks pregnant, was left vulnerable because her personal security alarm wasn’t within reach.
In addition, MacLean said the alarm was held together with masking tape, which made it impossible to signal for help during Monday’s attack.
The union said the incident, in which the nurse was punched and kicked, occurred one week after its request for an independent workplace-violence risk assessment was dismissed as a “waste of time” by the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
“If not for others hearing her screams, who knows what the outcome could have been for her and her unborn child,” MacLean said in a news release.
Halifax police said they are investigating a report that a female employee at the hospital was assaulted by a female patient on Monday.
Police said the woman was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The union said it submitted a report in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act on Feb. 23 that included concerns about personal security alarms that were not “consistently in working order.”
It said the device is triggered by a slide button but the tape being used to hold it together prevented the emergency slide button from “being easily activated.”
The union called on the health authority to immediately conduct a workplace-violence assessment.
“This is not an isolated incident,” said MacLean. “Nurses and health care workers are telling us that the lack of staff and broken equipment is an issue in hospitals and health care facilities across the entire province.”