Whistleblower Reveals Safety Issues in Multiple State Psychiatric HospitalsSeptember 12, 2018
According to an 11 News I-Team report, a member of the Maryland Health Department police expressed concerns over the lack of training, resources, and protective equipment necessary to protect the healthcare workers who work at some of the mental health hospitals in Maryland.
The whistleblower, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the police officers who work in these facilities are exposed to a range of potentially dangerous situations every day. Yet they are not permitted to carry a gun, or any other type of weapon, including pepper spray. He shared his findings out of a growing concern for his safety and that of his fellow officers.
Maryland State Police were called to the Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville on Thanksgiving of 2016, after more than 30 patients tried to take over a unit of the psychiatric facility.
Health Department police go through the same police academy training as other police officers, yet they were not equipped to handle the situation. Many of the officers on site were afraid, said the whistleblower, because they had no weapons or protective gear. When state police arrived, they were equipped in full riot gear.
Risk of Serious Injuries
Many of the patients who are being treated at psychiatric hospitals have committed serious, often violent crimes, including first and second-degree assault, drug trafficking, sex offenses, and murder.
Reporters examined crime statistics from five of the facilities that the whistleblower mentioned. They found that there were 365 assaults at each of the five hospitals in 2015, 320 in 2016, and 354 in 2017. According to the whistleblower, when they have to restrain a patient, they do not have shields, protective gear, or helmets.
To make matters worse, it is the patients who are often armed, which puts officers in even more danger. The whistleblower reported instances of visitors sneaking knives, shanks, and other weapons to patients in the hospital. With no other weapons available to them, staff have been known to use mattresses to protect themselves against violent attacks.
Workplace violence is prevalent in the healthcare industry, particularly in psychiatric units. Seventy-five percent of all workplace assaults take place in the healthcare industry, and close to 25 percent of patients who are admitted to acute psychiatric hospitals commit violent acts against staff and other patients.
Police officers who work at psychiatric hospitals need the resources and tools to protect themselves, the staff, and the patients from violent attacks.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect Victims of Workplace Violence
If you have been injured on the job due to an act of violence, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. All employees are entitled to a safe work environment. If your health or safety has been compromised, it is a violation of your basic rights. Our dedicated and experienced team will conduct a thorough investigation of your case and ensure that your rights are protected, and that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.