Michigan House Bills aim to counter rise of violence against health care workers

Michigan House Bills aim to counter rise of violence against health care workers

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – A man is in custody at the Ingham County Jail after reportedly violently attacking hospital staff Thursday afternoon.

A post from a Mid-Michigan nurse has gone viral on social media. She posted photos of her swollen face after being attacked while attending to a patient.

“He punched me dead in the nose and then continued to punch me two other times,” Michelle Lopez said.

Lopez works as an ER nurse at McLaren Hospital in Lansing.

“I went down like this to try to get him off and he proceeded to hit me,” Lopez recalled.

Hearing the commotion, three other nurses and a doctor came to her aid, who was also hit. The doctor was even stabbed with a pen.

“I’m sore. Clearly, you can see that I’m going to have a black eye,” Lopez said. “My head does hurt. I don’t know if he punched me there or was just pulling at my hair. I do have a bruise on the inner-part of my thigh from when he was also kicking me.”

The suspected culprit, 18-year-old Daniel Moyer, was apprehended by hospital security and then arrested by Lansing police.

Unfortunately, this outlandish behavior isn’t uncommon in healthcare.

“We get urine thrown at us, we get spit on by COVID patients,” Lopez said. “We get swung on almost daily.”

Lopez said she’s had enough and is calling for change, something that Brian Peters — with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association — is also fighting for.

“Unfortunately, this was a trend that we’re seeing across the entire state,” Peters said. “But really, with the pandemic, we’re seeing that rise to a new level.”

Peters and Lopez are encouraging people to contact their lawmakers to make stricter penalties for people who assault medical professionals.

“These are individuals who come to work every single day and put themselves on the line in a difficult environment and they are trying to do their very best,” Peters said. “To think that there are these acts of violence that could take those caregivers away from that incredibly important duty — it’s absolutely untenable so we’re very supportive of legislation that’s been introduced here in the state that would increase the penalties of those perpetrators of violence.”

The House Bills Peters referenced are HB 5084 and HB 5682, which were introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives by Reps. Ben Frederick and Mike Mueller. The Michigan Health and Hospital Association provided written testimony to the Michigan Legislature in support of the House Bills, which aim to expand the penalties for assaulting emergency department employees. If passed, the penalties for assaulting a healthcare worker could include jail time and a hefty fine.

Moyer is currently being held at the Ingham County Jail with no bond.

A statement from McLaren Health Care can be read below.

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