The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 61

Hospitals'
Dark Secret
written and photographed by DAN SMITH

Whether initiated by patients, visitors or
medical professionals, violence in hospitals
has come under special scrutiny as they
strive to become safer places for everyone.

One of the most
significant problems
hospitals-including
those in the Roanoke
Valley-have to face
today is violence on
their premises.

TheRoanoker.com

Locally, hospitals are not just facing the
violence epidemic, they are attacking it.
"That [violence] happens at all [at
Carilion] is startling," says Carilion CEO
and President Nancy Agee, even though
its hospitals have 75,000 admissions
a year and 500 adult patients a day are
being served. Emergency deals with 250
people a day "who are in rough places."
The violence comes in a variety of
forms, and one hospital executive calls it,
"an epidemic nobody talks about. It's been
getting worse. This has not happened
overnight." Actually, there's a lot of talk
about it, both inside and outside hospitals.
The V irginia legislature recently
passed a bill that would increase criminal

penalties for those harming or threatening
to harm medical professionals engaged in
their duties.
"Many health care workers simply dismiss
such events as a routine part of the job,"
says James Cole, president of the Virginia
Hospital Center, a 394-bed not-for-profit,
teaching facility offering comprehensive
health care in Arlington. "In a way, there
is a certain nobility to that response from
health care workers who prioritize the
needs of distressed patients over personal
concerns. However, prioritizing patients
doesn't mean we should ignore the physical
and emotional well-being of health care
workers who devote themselves to caring
for patients in their hour of need."
JULY/AUGUST 2019 61



The Roanoker - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2019

The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 3
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V2
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V3
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V4
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V5
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V11
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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