NYSNA nurses support sister in quest for justice

Nancy Sheehan, RN, and her supporters outside the Mineola courthouse on May 12.

In February 2014, Nancy Sheehan, an RN in St. Joseph Hospital’s Emergency Department, was brutally attacked while conducting a triage assessment; her colleague Mike Mackey, a tech who came to her aide, was also injured. Ms. Sheehan suffered a broken foot, herniated discs, and shoulder impingement. The patient pled guilty to a Class D felony, the maximum charge under current law.

On May 12, over twenty NYSNA supporters joined Ms. Sheehan in the Mineola courtroom, where the judge sentenced her attacker to a year in prison. Shareena Elliot is the second Long Island patient prosecuted and serving time for assaulting a NYSNA member in recent years.

The experience still haunts Ms. Sheehan: “Every nurse must be able to go to work and feel safe. Our job is to take care of our patients, and not be constantly looking over our shoulder worrying about ourselves.” She urges a change in the law to classify assault of a Registered Nurse as a Class C felony, the same level as assault on a police officer, fireman, or EMT.

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