Ophelia Ford defends controversial comments on nurses - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ophelia Ford defends controversial comments on nurses

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Tennessee state Sen. Ophelia Ford, photo courtesy Tennessee General Assembly. Tennessee state Sen. Ophelia Ford, photo courtesy Tennessee General Assembly.
NASHVILLE, TN -

(WMC-TV) - State Senator Ophelia Ford spoke Wednesday about Tuesday's rant in a senate committee meeting.

"I'm feeling the patient's side," said Ford.  "Been there, done that kind of thing, and I represent the people."

Ford said she knows how patients feel.  She made that clear Tuesday in Nashville at a committee meeting during a nearly 20-minute tirade where she talked about two separate hospitalizations in recent years.

"They had to restrain me," Ford said Tuesday.  "I'm not a violent person."

Ford is against a proposal to increase penalties for assault on health care workers.  She said she does not see why a bill like that is needed.

"If you are afraid of a patient, get somebody to go in," she said.  "There's buttons to push.  It's a little room usually, get out on the door.  Get some help that way."

Nurses organizations in Memphis and Nashville are unhappy about Ford's comments.  They said that violence against health care workers is a real issue.

Ford said people in the funeral profession like her should be more afraid of assaults.  She questioned how it would be determined an assault on a health care worker happened.

"How you going to determine, not unless you got cuts or something somewhere?" asked Ford.  "Usually, if you are in the hospital, those kinds of things are not accessible to you."

The bill to protect health care workers was proposed by the Tennessee Nurses Association.  A spokesperson told Action News 5 that Ford's comments are unfortunate.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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