Health Care

VIOLENCE IN THE ER: staff suffer threats, assault

treatment in the UVMMC emergency room – UVM photo

“This is Vermont, what are they going to do?” ER assailant taunted

By Guy Page

A bill offering increased protections for health care workers against assaults and threats has highlighted a growing problem: chaos and violence in Vermont’s emergency rooms. 

S36, permitting an arrest without a warrant for assaults and threats against health care workers and disorderly conduct at health care facilities, has been passed by Senate Judiciary. It is scheduled for review by Senate Health and Welfare Friday. 

Hospital officials say the law is needed because the extensive and expensive measures they’ve already taken simply haven’t fixed the problem. The ‘arrest without warrant’ language would enable police to immediately remove the disruptive patient, State House health care experts say. 

Thomas Dee, President and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, testified Feb. 1 that the hospital had:

  • Increased private security presence 
  • Contracted with the Bennington Police Department and the Bennington County Sheriff’s Department for additional coverage withinour Emergency Room (at an annual additional cost of over $400,000). 
  • Installed an additional 75 security cameras throughout our hospital campus.
  • Provided specific risk avoidance training for Emergency Room staff
  • Implemented a protective No-Trespass policy and procedure for
  • removing threatening and harassing patients, family members and visitors.

Nevertheless, the assaults continued. 

“Despite these steps, in the past year, 61% of our clinical staff have reportedphysically aggressive behavior towards them,” Dee said. “In 2022, we had 183 workplace violence events (that were reported) and we are on track to go  beyond that number this year.” 

Alison Davis, Medical Director of ED at Rutland Regional Medical Center, testified about the trauma ED workers face:

“We are regularly taunted by our patients to go ahead and call the police. One night, a female staff member had a urinal thrown at her and was punched in the side of the head by a patient. The patient remained in the ED that night, awaiting bed placement, but the following day was reported by staff to be bragging about ‘hitting that broad’ and asking staff ‘this is Vermont, what are they going to do?’

“Staff reported that the patient appeared to be fully aware of the physical assault he had carried out. In fact, he told staff that he did it to ‘see what you would do.’ Later that day, this same patient punched a different staff member, another woman, in the face, breaking her nose so severely it required two surgeries to repair. As they waited for police to arrive, staff noted that the patient was smiling/smirking while saying that it was our fault that she was punched and how we should’ve restrained him yesterday after he assaulted another RRMC staff member.” 

Why are Vermont emergency rooms now inundated with violence? An ER nurse from Bennington who testified Tuesday, February 21 speculated there are at least four likely reasons:

  1. We live in an immediate gratification society. People do not like to wait. When forced to wait, they get angry.
  1. Pandemic isolation increased anger and isolation. Social skills suffered. 
  1. Drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise. 
  1. And above all, the shortage of both beds and workers. Vermont health care facilities (including ERs and the regular hospital beds ER patients are waiting for) often are at capacity, and workers are in short supply. 

Categories: Health Care

20 replies »

  1. This situation is indeed dire and is likely indicative of a society that is dramatically decaying and in turn one wherein citizens have turned to abject evils such as addiction to drugs & alcohol as replacements for faith, family, and mores.

    There are a number of nurses I know personally who are no longer working in the medical field specifically because of this danger. Staffing shortages are growing worse. This now effects everyone.

    These are the very types of problems that Vermont lawmakers need to be focusing their attention on, these that negatively impact Vermonters, as opposed to the state of “gender equity” in Pakistan or in ensuring a pregnant woman from Kansas can abort her child here in this state or in trying to usurp parental control.

    Please legislators – with all the due respect I can possibly muster – either put down the bongs or go splash some cold water in your faces. Or both.

    • Democrats in control and put there by the liberal voting Vermont dunces and out of state college idiots. Left this stuff 48 years ago from NJ…time to say goodbye again.

      • Agreed! I escaped NY 23 years ago – and now I’m somehow seeing the exact same mentalities & behaviors & legislation. Where to go? New England appears to be a liberal toxic waste site. Remember when so many Vermonters considered themselves libertarians? That was before Bernie claimed everything could be free, free, and free!!!

  2. I would have first guessed the violence was because Medical malpractice is the 4th most deadly thing in the US.

    Maybe the lack of staff could be because you forced a medical experiment on your workers and still require them to wear oxygen depriving masks while working for you or that they no longer are allowed to think for themselves and instead are bound to ICD10 codes and results defined by beurocrats in the government and insurance agencies.

    I would think the capacity issue is due to the use of an experimental jab that is continually killing people by causing cancer, heart attacks, blood clots, myocarditis, strange things like guillan barre syndrom and random issues that no one can figure out. Worst of all is how you hurt children, until this year they generally didn’t have heart attacks or myocarditis, now your friends in the media are busy normalizing it on busses and TV ads and even in movies.

    Heck maybe all of that is where the violence comes from… Then again, what do I know….

  3. “Where is all this violence coming from in Vermont”? Well, perhaps it’s from the poke, the thing you can’t talk about, the one thing that has changed everything in our planet… And yet still, some will not acknowledge the bold evidence, the hard, col evidence, in front of them.

    Some of us see very clearly.

    • Liberals claim to have calculated the “social cost of carbon”.
      This debacle in hospitals is but one of the social costs of liberalism.

  4. The Emergency Room has always been a place of violence. Why, because that’s where drunks, addicts, mentally ill, etc, etc go. Arresting violators is fine, however, the arrest means NOTHING if there isn’t stiff punishment for offenses. That, will not happen in liberal Vermont.

  5. “The ‘arrest without warrant’ language would enable police to immediately remove the disruptive patient”.
    Umm, remove them to where? They’re in the ER for a reason, yes?

  6. Demo-progs running the State of Vermont and those who vote to maintain them in office OWN THIS. A central concept of the progressive mindset is a complete dissonance of any societal demand of personal responsibility and a powerful sense of grievance-based entitlement. This is entirely reversible but it requires the majority of voters in Vermont to embrace facts over feewings. I can understand some peoples’ desire to virtue signal publicly, but to do so in the privacy and anonymity of the voting booth is bizarre behavior. I have to assume that some people who now vote by mail think their votes are attributed to them personally by some prying eyes and are afraid to vote in a manner that may have people talking ill of them behind their backs. That has to be part of the strategy by the marxist element for instituting permanent vote-by-mail in VT.

  7. I’ll take it back even further, to somewhere around 20 years ago when hospitals and authorities began to severely restrict the ability of hospital and ambulance staff to restrain patients in the face of several adverse events. The litigious environment didn’t held things much with staff being sued at the drop of a hat.

  8. Add to the above list –

    Reason 5: Increased cannabis is a major factor that creates environment that leads to ER crowding and violence.

    This was forewarned by Colorado doctors that came to Vermont before we commercialized cannabis. They saw the increase in ER violence, walking timebomb relapses of pyschotic breaks that were triggered by high THC, some who became violent enough to murder from prolonged high THC use.

    These stories can be found at and

    We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to today’s concerns. Concerned citizen groups need to team to share and actively educate each other. We once could count on main stream media to do this legwork, but how many articles did you see them sharing these very legitamate concerns for public health? Not much.

    Did you see any stories about how increased cannabis use would bring on – overcrowded ER rooms, violence in the ER rooms, psychotic breaks that can leave people permanently handicapped, increased demands on public assistance decreasing resources for other community endeavors.

    We shouldn’t have to dig for all this information individually – but teaming with other concerned citizens and sharing our resources is doable. Might church groups, PTO groups, civic clubs host such groups to reflect their interest in the community?

    The resources at and were made available to all our legislators before the cannabis vote was taken. The legislators wanted to hear from the voters before they’d consider derailing commercialization. It would bring new business and tax income. They totally ignored all the added expenses there would be to the consequences of commercialization. It is just beginning to be seen.

    Vermonters – learn your lesson – be informed. Don’t leave legislators with a sense of it’s okay to vote without concern for public consequences. Hold them accountable to do their homework.

    For example: Don’t let them follow Senator Mark McDonald’s example when he explained S5 in this fashion – They (the Public Utilities Commission) in theory understand what we are not able to explain. We are asking them to design the thing that will work. But we can’t explain what we are asking them to design.”

    Translation – We do not care – the Climate Council knows the details, but the legislators voting on it don’t. They don’t want to – they want a measure of plausible deniability to be able to tell their constituents they didn’t know.

    Hold your legislators to the task of well-informed decision making. Don’t let them vote on something they can’t and don’t want to explain – on S5 the Affordable Heat Bill or any other bill. We can’t afford the lack of foresight that led to the ER crisis we are now seeing.

  9. Rockefeller medicine, sponsored by Pfizer, et al. The medical establishment made up of for-profit corporate medical centers, for-profit medical universities, and for-profit health insurance carriers, all grease the wheels of politics with large donors and for-profit lobbying firms. The doctors and nurses on the front lines are experiencing for-profit medicine at its finest hour. When societies collapse, look to the ones with all the money setting policy and making laws. They are the ones snickering and chortling, counting their wealth, while death and chaos ensues around them.

    • What is the Constitutional requirement to arrest people ? Would S.36 bypass Constitutional protection for people. An interpretation of a threat is subjective at best in many cases. Without warrent sounds like personal interpretation without the guidance of the law, or peacemakers. It wasn’t all that long ago the DOJ listed conservative parents going to a school board meeting as domestic terrorist. They threatened to have the board removed from their seat. Vermont loves making new laws, for laws that already exists.

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