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Joint Committee on Judiciary Holds July 14 Hearing On Bill to Increase Criminal Penalties for Assaulting Nurses

CANTON, Mass., July 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by the Massachusetts Nurses Association:

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WHAT:The Joint Committee on Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on Tuesday, July 14, 2009, beginning at 12 noon for testimony on a bill sponsored by State Rep. Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport) and Sen. Michael Moore (D-Worcester) that will make it a crime, punishable by up to two years in prison, to assault a registered nurse while s/he is providing health care. Currently, only EMTs and ambulance drivers are covered under such a law. The bill, An Act Relative to Assault and Battery on Health Care Providers, recognizes and addresses a growing crisis in the health and safety of RNs and other health professionals who suffer violent assaults at a rate 12 times higher than other industries. In a 2004 survey of Massachusetts nurses, 50 percent indicated they had been punched at least once in the last two years. The violence against nurses can be perpetrated by patients, families, friends or visitors (including gang members). In fact, nurses are assaulted at work on a par with police officers and prison guards, yet oftentimes no action is taken against those who attack nurses.

WHO:Testifying at the hearing will be law enforcement officials including Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, both strong supporters of the bill, as well as victims of workplace violence, including nurses from Leominster, Beverly, North Adams, Taunton and Brockton.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 12 noon.

WHERE: State House, Gardner Auditorium

CONTACT: David Schildmeier, 781-249-0430 or Jennifer Johnson, 781-363-3681 (For more information, background on bill, or to schedule interviews).

SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association
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