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Elise's Law: Workplace Violence Prevention Bill Approved By Public Safety Committee

SOUTHBRIDGE (CBS) -- Supporters of Elise's Law, a law that would force health care facilities to take more action in preventing workplace violence, gained a small victory at the State House Wednesday. The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security favorably passed the bill.

Nurse Tracy DeGregorio testified the need for the bill. She said, "We've all been pushed, shoved, pinched, kicked, verbally assaulted. We need to make a change. We need to make a change and that's what we are hoping to do here today."

DiGregorio is a fellow nurse of Elise Wilson, who the bill is named after. She was violently stabbed while caring for a patient in Harrington Hospital on June 14.

Elise Wilson. (Photo from the family)

Officials said, Conor O'Regan, who has a history of mental illness, violently attacked Wilson while he was alone with her in an examination room. He ran off, but was captured a short time later.

Wilson was med-flighted to UMass Medical Center in critical condition after the stabbing.

conor o'regan nurse stabbing
Conor O'Regan being taken to court Thursday June 15, 2017. (WBZ-TV)

"This young man sat in the parking lot sharpening a knife for twenty minutes, found my wife and stabbed in the neck, punched her, and then repeatedly stabbed her in the face and upper left arm," said Wilson's husband, Clifton Wilson in front of the Committee Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Nursing Association shared a picture of Wilson on Facebook smiling and showing off her scars. They wrote, "Elise is only smiling because she is grateful her ventilator and feeding tube have been removed."

Elise's Law is formally known as An Act Requiring Health Care Employers to Develop and Implement Programs to Prevent Workplace Violence.

"These people shouldn't have to go to work every day wondering if they're going to go home," Clifton Wilson said. "I almost lost her and that's the key to this whole thing."

It would require employers at hospitals to develop and put in place workplace violence prevention plans, explained the MNA. It also provides time off for health care workers who are assaulted on the job and requires semi-annual reporting of assaults on health care workers to district attorneys.

Wilson testified at Tuesday's hearing, as well, through a statement read by a co-worker.

According to the MNA, nurses are assaulted on the job more than police officers and prison guards.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Mike Macklin reports

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