Michigan House Bills aim to counter rising violence against healthcare workers

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – A man is being held at the Ingham County Jail after he violently attacked hospital staff Thursday afternoon.

A post from a Mid-Michigan nurse has gone viral on social media. She posted pictures of her swollen face after being assaulted while caring for a patient.

“He punched me in the nose and went on to hit me two more times,” Michelle Lopez said.

Lopez works as an emergency room nurse at McLaren Hospital in Lansing.

“I fell like that to try and get him down and he started hitting me,” Lopez recalled.

Hearing the din, three other nurses and a doctor came to his aid, who was also injured. The doctor was even stabbed with a pen.

“I’m bad. Obviously you can see I’m going to get a black eye,” Lopez said. “My head hurts. I don’t know if he punched me or just pulled my hair. I have a bruise on my inner thigh since he also kicked me.

The alleged culprit, Daniel Moyer, 18, was apprehended by hospital security and later arrested by Lansing police.

Unfortunately, this bizarre behavior is not uncommon in healthcare.

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

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

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

Peters and Lopez encourage people to reach out to their lawmakers to impose tougher penalties on people who assault medical professionals.

“These are people who come to work every day and put themselves at risk in a difficult environment and they try to do their best,” Peters said. “To think that there are these acts of violence that could deprive these carers of this incredibly important duty – it is absolutely untenable, so we are very supportive of the legislation that has been introduced here in the state that would increase the sentences of perpetrators of violence.”

The House Bills referenced by Peters are HB5084 and HB 5682, which were introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives by Representatives Ben Frederick and Mike Mueller. The Michigan Health and Hospital Association provided written testimony to the Michigan Legislature in support of House bills, which seek to expand penalties for assault against emergency service employees. If passed, penalties for assaulting a healthcare worker could include jail time and a heavy fine.

Moyer is currently being held in Ingham County Jail without bond.

A statement from McLaren Health Care can be read below.

Following: Antibiotics will be distributed in East Lansing due to a case of bacterial meningitis

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