NEW YORK NURSE: May 2008
At a Lobby Day news conference, legislators spoke in favor of NYSNA’s bill to increase the penalty for physically assaulting nurses in their workplaces.
State Senator Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) said he saw attacks on nurses during his years as a New York City police officer. “I saw nurses slapped and people spit in their faces,” he said. “I’ve seen the morale go down in the emergency room. This violence should be stopped.”
The bill (A6186/S3441) would make it a Class C felony to attack a nurse on the job. This deterrent already exists for police officers, firefighters, and EMTs. The measure, which was sponsored by Golden, passed the State Senate on April 8. State Senator Joseph Robach (D-Monroe County) also spoke in support of the bill.
Dennis Koon (D-Monroe County) is sponsoring the bill in the State Assembly. He told reporters and nurses at the news conference that it would soon be voted out of the Codes Committee and that he expected the Assembly to pass the measure within a few weeks.
Both legislators and reporters were moved by the story of Mercy Jaiswal, a NYSNA member at Syosset Hospital who recently returned to work after six months recovering from an attack by a patient.
“In July of last year, I sustained a mid-shaft fracture of my right arm, which required immediate immobilization and subsequent surgical intervention, including multiple hardware. I have little recall of the event, but was told by a witness that I was thrown around like a rag doll,” she said. “I am here to say that I am healing, although my physical scars are visible and haunt me daily. And the financial and emotional repercussions for myself and my family have been overwhelming at times.”
As New York Nurse went to press, the bill remained in the Assembly Codes Committee.