Medical Workplace Violence Issues
[The Growing Impact]
By Eugene Schmuckler
Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit – Bern Williams
The impact of workplace violence became widely exposed on November 6, 2009 when 39 year old Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal M. Hasan MD, a 1997 graduate of Virginia Tech University who received a medical doctorate in psychiatry from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and served as an intern, resident and fellow at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District of Columbia, went on a savage 100 round shooting spree and rampage that killed 13 people and injured 31 others.
Yet, more than two decades before in Edmond, Oklahoma, Patrick Henry Sherrill, an employee of the US Postal Service, angered by perceived injustices against him by his employers, shot and killed fourteen people, wounded six and then killed himself in 1986. This shocking event added the term “going postal” to our lexicon.
Incidents of workplace violence have continued to spread. A veteran employee at the General Dynamics facility in San Diego, California, shot and killed his supervisor along with an industrial relations representative when he was fired after 25 years on the job. A fired Mount Pleasant, Michigan, sports editor used a pair of scissors to stab his boss in the head. A Tampa, Florida, man returned to his former workplace and shot three of his supervisors as they sat eating their lunches. He wounded two others before killing himself.
These incidents are not solely perpetrated by males. An upset female worker at a Bennington, Vermont, battery plant shot and killed the plant manager and wounded two others after trying to set the plant on fire. A woman in a Corona, California, opened fire with a .38 calibre handgun, wounding a nurse and spraying the infant nursery with bullets. Before she was arrested, she horrified hospital workers with her words, “Prepare to die.”
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