A nurse was reportedly “beaten beyond recognition” by a patient, and was dragged, and kicked multiple times at the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health earlier this year
Ontario nurses and public sector workers are calling on the province to criminally charge Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) following a patient’s alleged brutal beating of a nurse while on the job in January.
The nurse was reportedly “beaten beyond recognition” by the patient, and was dragged, and kicked multiple times. A joint statement recently released by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) makes claims that the nurse’s employer broke protocol and did not take the incident seriously.
The unions are urging the Ministry of Labour, police and Crown attorneys to act before the deadline to file charges passes on Jan. 12, 2015, one year from the date of the alleged attack.
“It’s time for the CEO, directors, and managers of a hospital to be held accountable for showing disregard for the health and safety of their employees,” said OPSEU president Warren Smokey Thomas in the news release.
“It seems that it will take being charged to make our bosses understand they must not ignore hundreds of acts of workplace violence per year.”
The press release alleges that after the attack, CAMH cleaned up the blood at the scene before investigators were on site, and failed to report it as a critical injury to the Ministry of Labour. Kate Richards, spokesperson for CAMH, said that “as soon as this incident occurred, CAMH notified the Ministry of Labour, which investigated it thoroughly, but has not yet issued a report.”
The ministry would not comment on when or how the injury was reported, citing the ongoing investigation.
According to a Ministry of Labour field visit report, an inspector initially visited CAMH to investigate a critical incident on Jan. 21, nine days after the incident took place and six days after Thomas Andersson, chief steward for OPSEU Local 500, reported it as a critical injury to the ministry.
According to section 51 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the employer is required by law to contact the Ministry of Labour, health and safety officials, and union reps within 48 hours of a critical injury or death at the workplace.
A critical injury is defined as a serious injury that places someone’s life in jeopardy, produces unconsciousness, results in loss of blood, involves the fracture or amputation of a leg or arm, consists of burns to a major portion of the body or that causes loss of sight.
CAMH says they contacted the Ministry of Labour, described the incident, and were advised that it “was not deemed to be critical.”
A report filed by the Ministry of Labour on Jan. 21 said that a visual inspection of the unit was conducted and that they spoke with workers about the “Critical Incident of January 12, 2014.” It also labels an investigation of a critical incident as the purpose of the field visit.
Toronto Police were called to the scene the night of the incident and their investigation led to charges being laid against the patient involved.
But ONA believes police should have been investigating whether or not CAMH had fulfilled its responsibilities under Section 217.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which outlines the duties of employers in terms of workplace health and safety.
Meaghan Gray, a Toronto Police Services spokesperson, confirmed on Monday that the police have conducted no such investigation and do not intend to lay charges against CAMH in connection with the incident.
“The (Toronto Police) Service has always had a positive working relationship with CAMH, especially during times we are called to investigate incidents involving patients and/or staff,” said Gray in an email.
The nurse, as well as the staffer who tried to stop the incident, are still off work due to the trauma they experienced.
According to the ONA/OPSEU release, incidents of violence there have been 453 reports of physical assault at the centre in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
reference : http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5210080-union-wants-camh-criminally-charged-after-nurse-beaten-beyond-recognition-/