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New Law Protects Doctors in the ER - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New Law Protects Doctors in the ER

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ER doctors say they are at a 400 percent greater risk of injury than the average worker. ER doctors say they are at a 400 percent greater risk of injury than the average worker.

Emergency room doctors across the commonwealth are cheering a new law that offers them additional on-the-job protections. The law, which will take effect July 1 calls for up to 15 days in jail for anyone who knowingly assaults an emergency room doctor or nurse.

ER doctors say they are at a 400 percent greater risk of injury than the average worker. Physicians pushed hard for the change because the same protections are given to paramedics and other emergency responders.

Michael Kurz, an emergency room doctor stated, "They have a specific carve-out in legislation to protect them should they be abused or have violence perpetrated against them. Very similarly, emergency physicians have a duty to act for patients who come to us to be seen."

Doctors say they wanted the enhanced criminal penalties because of the uncontrolled atmosphere in most ERs. Most emergency room violence, doctors say, stems from patients who are drunk or on drugs.

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