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Camisha Simmons

A Baton Rouge woman was arrested after she attacked medical personnel at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center on Saturday, pulling a nurse by the ponytail and biting a doctor on the arm, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office reported.

The incident comes amid a rash of recent assaults on medical staff at facilities in the Baton Rouge area which has placed medical workers on high alert. 

Camisha Simmons, 19, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Saturday on counts of aggravated battery and battery of emergency room personnel.

Ryan Cross, a spokesman for Our Lady of the Lake, said Simmons is a family member of a patient at the hospital. 

Simmons was angry at the hospital staff, her arrest report says, and attacked a nurse by grabbing her by the ponytail and jerking her head back. When a female physician tried to intervene, Simmons bit the doctor on the right forearm, according to the report.

The report from the Sheriff's Office did not provide further details about why Simmons was angry, and Cross said he could not comment further because of patient privacy.

After Baton Rouge General nurse Lynne Truxillo died in early April from complications following a patient attack, workplace safety concerns for medical employees have increased, both locally and nationally.

Another incident occurred at Our Lady of the Lake in late May, when 22-year-old Dontonyo Grey walked up to a doctor and punched him in the face because "he felt like it." Though he could not go into specifics for patient privacy reasons, Cross said the assault with Grey and the attack Saturday have "drastically different circumstances." 

Cross said Our Lady of the Lake has a "zero tolerance" policy for violence toward team members. For instance, in January the hospital launched a workplace violence committee to address the problem and take steps to increase staff safety. Now team members in the emergency department have buttons that, when pressed, allow for rapid security response, Cross said.

"We encourage our team members to press charges against those when an incident occurs such as this," he said. "Our team members come to work every day to provide care for our community, and their safety is our top priority." 

Cross indicated that staff members involved in Saturday's incident did not suffer serious injuries. 

Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at jderobertis@theadvocate.com