The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 16, 2011

Staggers injured while treating patient

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

— Delegate Margaret Staggers earns her keep by providing emergency care as a doctor at Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, but the veteran legislator wound up needing some speedy attention herself a week ago.

As she attempted to provide aid to an elderly woman, the patient drove her fingernails into the side of Staggers’ face, drawing blood, in a July 7th incident.

“I’m getting too old to duck anymore,” Staggers, D-Fayette, quipped.

“That’s how you know when it’s time to retire. I’m going to take some training. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to retire.”

Staggers posted photos of her wounded face on Facebook and attracted some 81 comments. One post explained that such behavior prompted a change in careers, moving out of emergency assistance.

“It was an old lady, and she was psychotic,” Staggers said of her assailant. “So it’s not her fault.

“I bled. But I heal real well. It’s been over a week. You can just see the little pink lines now. I take good care of my skin.”

During her legislative duties at interims this week, no one at the Capitol commented on the wounds.

Again, Staggers laughed it off.

“Being a girl, you can use makeup,” she said.

In a more serious vein, the Fayette County lawmaker said attacks on medical personnel are becoming more frequent.

“It’s becoming so much more common,” she said.

“I think there’s genuinely more disrespect for ourselves and for each other. I just wish there was some way we could change it.”

Staggers said emergency medical personnel in ambulances are even more vulnerable, since there is no way for them to get assistance.

Nurses rushed to Staggers’ aid after the attack.

“I was bleeding, dripping blood from my face,” she said of the wound. “It was a nice one.”

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com