Injuries on rise at St. Peter hospital

Published 11:00 am Monday, April 5, 2010

Union officials say administrators have been slow to address a rise in injuries among security staffers from assaults by patients at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

The Free Press of Mankato says injuries among security staff quadrupled to 143 for the nine-month period that began June 1, 2009, compared with 35 in the same period that began June 1, 2005.

The newspaper reports the reasons may include the layoff of 56 security counselors in 2008, a chance in treatment philosophy that frowns on putting patients in isolation, and more particularly violent patients.

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Most patients at St. Peter were committed by the courts as mentally ill and dangerous.

Read Sulik, assistant commissioner of the Department of Human Services, said “high risk” patients are now getting extra attention, staff are getting special training on dealing with complex cases, and temporary employees have been added.