Citizens Medical Center looks at policies after 3 nurses attacked

Bianca Montes By Bianca Montes

March 27, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated March 27, 2014 at 10:28 p.m.

Citizens Medical Center officials are reviewing policies and procedures after a patient assaulted three nurses.

The patient had been taken to the hospital Wednesday after deputies with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office and paramedics responded to a domestic call in Placedo. Fire Chief Taner Drake said there were no incidents during the transport and that "whatever went down at the hospital happened after they left."

The male patient inflicted injuries to the faces and abdomens of the nurses, according to a Victoria Police Department news release. The police department is investigating the incident.

A hospital spokeswoman wrote in a statement Thursday that Citizens Medical Center is reviewing its policies and procedures to safeguard its staff and to better protect employees, patients and visitors.

"We want to clarify that our hospital has and always has had 24/7 security provided by competent and trained security guards on-site," the statement read.

Marketing Director Shannon Spree said the hospital ensures security guards are trained by the Crisis Prevention Institute on how to handle escalated incidents.

"We did things to the best of our ability," she said, adding the hospital is looking for better ways to handle such incidents. She declined to specify what the hospital was reviewing.

According to the police department news release, officers responded to a call at 6 p.m. Wednesday about a combative patient being treated for mental health issues.

Police diffused the situation, and the patient was taken to a mental health facility in Harlingen.

Assault charges were filed and will be submitted to the district attorney's office, according to the news release.

The patient's name was not released.

Last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation making it a third-degree felony to assault personnel in an emergency department. The offense was previously a Class A misdemeanor.

The bill was approved unanimously by the Texas Legislature, and the law took effect Sept. 1, 2013.

Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor said he met with hospital officials Thursday to discuss the assault and look at ways to prevent such incidents.

"There are circumstances that we have on a regular basis of unpredictable mental health issues," he said. "We learn from them by having reviews, but we cannot read one's emotions, and we cannot predict their actions."

O'Connor said he plans to look into the patient's past to see whether he has a criminal history and plans to release more information to the public Friday.



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