(Albany, NY) - On Tuesday, May 26, 2009, the New York State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 4018, introduced by Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Chairwoman of the Senate Standing Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections. This legislation would add registered nurses and licensed practical nurses when defining assault on emergency medical professionals. It would also provide for a Class C felony charge for those who cause physical injury to nurses who are performing their duties. Current law recognizes the importance of the work of police officers, firefighters, and EMTs by punishing assaults against these professionals. This bill would recognize the important service to the public provided by RNs and LPNs, who suffer the highest proportion of injuries of any healthcare workers, with the same protections as other emergency medical professionals.
"Nurses are often faced with dangerous situations and harmed while performing their duties. New York State is already facing a drastic nursing shortage, and if we fail to offer the same legal protections to nurses that other emergency personnel are guaranteed, our State will not be able to retain its nurses," said Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson