A violent incident took place Monday morning at Laniado Medical Center in Netanya that the hospital said could have been worse had the attacker not been stopped by security personnel.
In the early morning, a patient’s external caretaker verbally assaulted staff and broke a computer screen in the hospital’s emergency department, and then lunged forward to physically assault a nurse, being stopped just in time by hospital security staff.
Two videos were disseminated by the hospital, one that shows a bearded man in a black shirt standing at one of the department’s reception desks shouting at staff. He then yanks an entire computer screen off the desk and crashes it to the ground.
A second video shows him running through the department with his arms flailing until he is nabbed by a security guard.
“Violence against medical staff is a very serious act,” said Laniado CEO Nadav Chen. “It is not possible for staff members to come to work and provide treatment if they have to fear violent behavior from patients or their caregivers.”
The Israel Police were immediately informed and are investigating the incident.
“The hospital’s security team prevented the development of an even more serious incident,” Chen added. “I call on the Israel Police to prosecute the perpetrator. These acts must not continue.”
According to Tavor Enoshi, the head of Human Resources for Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital, coronavirus has caused an uptick in violence in hospitals due to the stress it has put on society.
“When there is more violence in the community, the violence shows up in hospitals too,” he said. “People who come to the hospital are inherently stressed and people act in extreme ways when they are under stress. Hospitals right now are also very crowded and the staff is stretched thin and this combination leads to a situation where violence can more easily erupt.
“The more crowded the hospital, the more likely that violence will increase,” he said.
At Assuta, doctors and nurses are trained to recognize violence early and in how to best calm down potentially violent patients and visitors. They are also taught to be aware of their surroundings. The hospital uses a computerized alert system that a caretaker can trigger if the individual feels a situation can escalate. The system informs other staff who can come and offer support.
Enoshi said that he does believe that hospitals could see an increase in violence during this time as the Health Ministry weighs whether or not to approve coronavirus vaccines for young children, as those who are potentially angry or upset at Health Ministry advisers and professionals might take it out on hospital or health fund staff.
“In the first wave, people stood and clapped for us, but after that the old situation sort of returned,” he said. “Stress outside translates to stress inside” the hospital.