Channing Trahan was arrested in Jennings this week for the battery of an emergency room personnel.
According to Jennings Police Chief, Danny Semmes, an assault or battery can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and the victim of the crime. But if like Trahan, you decide to commit that crime against someone who works at a hospital, that charge is immediately considered a felony.
“We regularly respond to the emergency room for combative patients. It’s not as often that they actually batter an employee to the extent where they contact the police and want charges filed. But when they do, we respond rapidly and we take the person into custody and book them into jail,” said Jennings police chief Danny Semmes.
He explains that not every battery call at hospitals is handled the same by responding officers, “In situations where you have, say, a dementia patient, that’s just fighting not to be administered medication or something, we don’t obviously arrest people for that. But when you get an intoxicated individual or they’re on narcotics that blatantly commits a battery on one of the employees, that’s a situation where we take the person to jail.”
And each hospital also handles those situations differently.
“The unfortunate reality is violence against healthcare workers has become prevalent across the country,” said Patrick Gandy, CEO of Lafayette General Medical Center– the hospital with the largest emergency room department in Acadiana.
He says they have specific protocols in place for that very reason, “Our top priority is the safety of our employees and our patients and our visitors.”
Gandy says signs are posted throughout their hospital to remind patients and visitors that “violence or aggression is not going to be tolerated.”
And to let employees know that “we encourage them to report because if they don’t report then we aren’t’ able to address the issue ina timely manner and that impacts the safety of our employees but also the safety of our patients and visitors.”
The penalties for felony battery are specific to the individual offense. They range from a fine up to $5,000 dollars or between one to 10 years in prison.