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Wisconsin Bill: Assaulting a Healthcare Worker May Be a Felony

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Criminal Defense

WI injury lawyerHealthcare workers have had a particularly difficult time these last two years or so. As if the constant threat of COVID exposure were not enough, assaults against healthcare workers have been on the rise. Wait times in the ER have been extremely long, with some patients waiting upwards of 12 hours to be seen. Many have been unable to visit their loved ones who were hospitalized with the virus. Disinformation about “alternative” treatments has led to disputes between patients, families, and care teams. On far too many occasions, this has led to violence in hospitals and doctors' offices. A new bill, which recently passed the state assembly, would make any violence against a healthcare worker a felony criminal offense.

Was Attacking a Healthcare Worker Not Already a Felony?

A preexisting law made it a felony to batter a nurse or emergency care worker, such as Emergency Room doctors and paramedics. Nurses and emergency health care staff have typically been the most common targets of violence in health care settings. Emotions can run very high in emergency settings, sometimes even escalating to violence. In an effort to keep these critical workers safe in their workplaces, even minor violence against them can be treated as a felony battery.

What Would this New Bill Change?

The new bill would expand this protection to all healthcare workers and staff. Health care workers have never been more essential. Certified Nursing Assistants, interns, phlebotomists, and even secretarial staff are also essential in health care facilities. All staff members are needed to keep doctors’ offices and hospitals running smoothly - and patients safe. These workers also need to feel safe in their workplaces and to have violence against them taken seriously.

Making threats against health care workers or their families would also be treated as a felony under the new bill. Sadly, many family members of health care workers have received threats as well, despite having no involvement in treating patients. These threats are quite commonly made by family members of hospitalized patients unable to visit in person due to COVID protocols.

What Should Patients and Families Who Are Dissatisfied With Their Care Do?

Attacking or threatening health care workers is never the answer. It will solve absolutely nothing and it could land you in prison for over a year. If you are upset with the care a hospitalized loved one is receiving, nearly every hospital system has an ombudsman. Ombudsman’s offices exist to help settle disputes and handle complaints. Any staff member should be able to provide you with information about the facility’s procedure for lodging complaints or raising concerns.

Call a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony assault or battery charges, our Waukesha County criminal defense attorneys can help seek a fair and positive resolution to your case. Bucher Law Group, LLC is experienced at defending those accused of violence, in and out of health care settings. Call us at 262-303-4916 to start with a free consultation.





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