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University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center Tackling Domestic Violence Issue


After two deaths came at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in 2013, the hospital is taking precautions to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

In August 2013, an administrative assistant was fatally shot by her estranged husband while she was taking care of her three-year-old son. Only five months after that, an oncology nurse was stabbed to death by her son. The stabbing occurred after a history of domestic altercations between her and her son.

Michele McKee, director of nursing services at St. Joseph Medical Center, commented on how friendly and optimistic the nurse was. “The staff is still struggling with the loss. There was denial. Tears. Anger. And then, guilt. What did we miss? What could we have done?”

In 2012, just a few months before the two homicides, the leading cause of work related fatalities was transportation incidents at 42%, followed by homicides and suicides at 16%.

St. Joseph’s medical staff has been trained to identify patients who were involved in domestic violence altercations, but for those two instances, the staff may not have paid as much attention to their peers as they did their patients.

“Our value statement says, ‘loving service, compassionate care,'” Leslie Hott, St. Joseph’s human resources manager, said. “We typically think about that for those we care for, but not for each other.”

According to The Huffington Post, that is now changing.

The entire building is now undergoing an effort to address domestic violence issues with everyone, utilizing an intense training program to help hospital staff identify — and hopefully stop — any domestic violence issues going on with employees.

“If it’s brought to our attention, we can respond appropriately,” Hott said. “We want employees to know, we are here for you, we want it safe for you here.”

The Baltimore Sun reports that the program was designed specifically for health care workers, but since domestic violence does not discriminate, the group wants to access all industry workplaces.

St. Joseph’s new program works with victims to change their location, schedules, phone numbers, and parking spots.

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