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San Diego healthcare workers facing verbal and physical abuse from patients

Scripps Health said it has seen an increase of 17% in reports of verbal and physical violence to staff through September compared to the prior year.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — While it’s safe to say that the pandemic has put incredible strain on everyone this year- no one has endured more than our frontline healthcare workers. For almost two years- doctors, nurses, EMTs and all other staff have worked long nights and early mornings, short-staffed with a hospital at capacity, caring for patients infected with a deadly virus.  

Last year, San Diegans were praising healthcare workers. Banging pots and pans from their balconies and holding signs of encouragement outside hospital windows.

But as the pandemic continued to grind on, attitudes about the virus, vaccines and masks are being taken out on medical workers.

"There have been some very hostile people," said Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. "They flat out refuse to wear their masks and [say] that we were making this all up and that COVID was a fantasy." 

Anthony Roman, the director of Support Operations oversees security at Scripps and said he's seen a huge increase of threats against hospital staff.

"Through September, in compared to the year prior, I've seen a 17% increase in reported workplace violence incidents by our staff," said Roman. "We're also seeing an increase of staff that are being injured because of workplace violence, a 9% increase."

The U.S. is currently in another spike of the agonizingly long pandemic. We might be frustrated by the way the virus is changing our lives- but health care workers have been put under enormous stress and the last thing they need is hate and vitriol from the people they’ve sworn to protect.

"I really want people to know that we're trying to help them get better," said Roman. "But to get angry to try to bully, to try to intimidate, to throw things around and to physically attack at all is not OK."

WATCH RELATED: California to require COVID booster shot for health care workers 

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