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Attacks on health care workers have nurses looking to Capitol for help

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Minnesota's health care workers say they're increasingly under attack. Literally.

Amid a push to improve safety for workers at medical centers, a state Senate committee hearing Wednesday put last fall's rampage by a patient at a Maplewood hospital center stage.

The video showed a patient at St. John's Hospital using a metal rod he'd torn off a piece of equipment to attack nurses, injuring several. The man later died while being apprehended by deputies.

While that case was extreme, nurses say violence inflicted by patients is becoming common.

WCCO reports Minnesota health care workers filed more worker's compensation claims for on-the-job injuries last year than ever before.

Wednesday's hearing involved a bill by Sen. Chuck Wiger, whose district includes St. John's Hospital. Wiger says the legislation makes hospitals more accountable.

KARE 11 reports the measure would require hospitals to report any attacks to the Health Department, develop response plans in conjunction with law enforcement, and train staff on how to de-escalate situations.

While the union representing the state's nurses supports the bill, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Hospital Association tells KARE it would create unnecessary expenses, adding that hospitals already have rapid-response teams.

The hospitals also offer a guide to best practices for preventing violence in healthcare.

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