Dontonyo Grey, 22, of Zachary

Dontonyo Grey, 22, of Zachary

A Baton Rouge emergency room patient has been arrested and accused of punching a doctor in the face, adding to the number of recent complaints about violence against medical workers in the area. 

Concerns about workplace safety for hospital employees have grown since a Baton Rouge General nurse died in April from complications resulting from a patient attack. Lynne Truxillo's death prompted members of the nursing community nationwide to demand better hospital safety practices to minimize their profession's dangers, which have long been a problem. 

The patient in Truxillo's case was arrested on manslaughter.

Several other patients at Baton Rouge medical facilities have been arrested since then after similar incidents.

The most recent arrest came Thursday when Dontonyo Grey, 22, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after authorities said he walked up to a doctor at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and punched him in the left side of the face, knocking him unconscious. 

Once the doctor regained consciousness, he told East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputies he had no prior dealings with Grey. The doctor said he had never seen Grey before the incident, according to Grey's arrest report.

The incident happened about 5 p.m. at the hospital at 5000 Hennessy Blvd. Grey told deputies he punched the doctor because "he felt like it" and "it would happen again."

He was booked into jail on a count of battery of emergency room personnel.

It's not clear from arrest documents why Grey had gone to the hospital.

The recent cases involving violence against Baton Rouge medical workers have raised questions about whether arresting patients is an effective response, particularly if mental health issues may be  involved. 

Many advocates calling for better workplace safety argue it's not productive, arguing instead that healthcare facilities need to devote more resources to preventing violence before it occurs, including through adequate staffing levels and individual patient care plans. 

There are no federal standards in place governing how facilities protect their employees, but a bill was recently introduced in Congress that would implement two new requirements for hospitals: develop violence prevention plans and report all instances of violence to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


Follow Lea Skene on Twitter, @lea_skene.