Law makes it a felony to assault medical staff - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Law makes it a felony to assault medical staff

Authorities say they see physical assault on medical staff far too often. Thanks to a new law, just like attacking a law enforcement officer, that's a third degree felony.

"It's just the punishment didn't meet the qualifications that we felt should protect our emergency personnel," said Brad Timmons, Chief of Police at Medical Center Hospital.

In 2013 a Texas state law came into effect that made assault on emergency medical personnel felony charge.

"We get a patient in there that's either violent or maybe has some mental health issues and they do assault a nurse. Somebody comes in and they strike a nurse and it causes bodily injury and we work the case up and get a warrant and arrest 'em," said Timmons.

The hospital district police force says it happens more often than you think.

"Unfortunately we do see quite a bit. We have seen it happen. We've filed a few cases since the law came out," said Timmons.

The police chief says first responders and emergency personnel are prepared to protect themselves if a patient becomes violent.

"They can take action and they've been trained. They know how to hold somebody down or restrain them," said Timmons.

They're thankful this new state law protects those who are saving lives.

"It's written in there very specific to emergency personnel. It is a dangerous place because of all the equipment in there," said Timmons.

The police chief for Medical Center Hospital explained that they do try to have an officer on duty in the ER at every hour of the day, everyday for that exact reason, but sometimes that's just not a reality.

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