Bill Would Toughen Penalties For Assaulting ER Personnel

From Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

Anyone who assaults a doctor or nurse in a hospital emergency room would be charged with a Class “D” felony under a bill proposed by Kentucky state Senator John Schickel. The Republican from Union spoke in support of his measure during a meeting today of a legislative panel. Schickel says the proposal has the support of the Kentucky Association of Emergency Room Nurses and the Kentucky Hospital Association.

However, state Senator Ray Jones of Pikeville is skeptical that stiffer penalties would keep assualts from occurring. The Democrat says many of the perpetrators are high on drugs and are not going to care.

“Because the people who are coming to the ER department were going to schools and assaulting teachers. It was my bill that we passed that made it a felony to assualt teachers. We’re still having teachers from time to time who are assaulted at schools. It’s not had a deterrent effect. It has a punitive effect. It allows us to be stronger in term of punishing people,” he said.

Jones said the measure could give health professionals in Kentucky’s hospitals a false sense of security.