Local News

'I have never witnessed this degree of incivility:' Duke Health executive describes recent uptick in violence against healthcare workers

According to American Hospital Association: 44% of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and 68% reported experiencing verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted Updated

By
Chelsea Donovan
, WRAL reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — A Duke Health official is speaking out about the abuse that healthcare workers receive after a staff member at Duke Raleigh Hospital was physical assaulted Thursday morning.
47-year-old Stanley Scarboro, was charged with physically assaulting a Duke Raleigh Hospital staff member.

"I have never witnessed this degree of incivility ever," said Duke Health COO Craig Alabanese about the assault.

That healthcare worker sustained significant injuries, according to a police report obtained by WRAL News.

The atmosphere in our society is trickling into hospitals, Albanese said. Pandemic stresses and lack of access to mental health care have exacerbated violence against healthcare workers.

According to American Hospital Association, 44% of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and 68% reported experiencing verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stress then trickles into hospitals, where there is already an emergency and emotions are running high, people in pain, isolation, or dealing with devastation, he said.

"They deserve to feel safe here," Alabanese said about his employees. "This is a risk we have everywhere in the country right now."

Duke Health hospitals are also making few entrances available for visitors, organizing strategic visibility for security officers and providing additional emergency alert resources — especially for those dealing with behavioral health issues in light of recent violence.

"We are doing all we can to minimize risk," he said.

In 2015, North Carolina passed a bipartisan bill that makes it a felony to assault hospital personnel and healthcare providers who are providing or attempting to provide health care services to a patient in a hospital.