Mental Health Worker Abused; Zero Tolerance for Unsafe Conditions!
posted August 10, 2009

On Monday, August 3, Mental Health Care Tech Donnell Cooley was assaulted by a patient while working at Central Regional Hospital (CRH) in Butner, NC. He was punched 4-5 times in the face, which resulted in a broken orbital bone (eye socket), fractured upper jaw, and injured nose and eyes. His glasses were also broken and his sight was impaired.

The other workers present at the time were not able to respond in a timely manner to intervene because of the overwhelming fear of doing an improper hold or restraint, like those that have resulted in the loss of many CRH workers' jobs recently.

Several workers were fired unjustly in early June due to camera "evidence" and the Zero Tolerance Policy. This policy, which scapegoats workers for the problems of the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as a whole, along with an inadequate grievance procedure that denies due process and representation in grievance hearings, must be changed before more workers and patients are injured.

Said Cooley, "Our lives are constantly at risk, he could have killed me. Workers really don't have any rights and if we do something wrong, then we ain't got a job. I seen many people lose their jobs since I have been here."