St. Francis Hospital patient assaults 14 staff, security members, police say

A patient at an area hospital was taken to jail Tuesday night after assaulting 14 staff and security members, according to police.

The patient, a 29-year-old Charleston man, is charged with numerous counts of third-degree assault and battery, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail.

Charleston police were called just after 5:30 p.m. to Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital on Henry Tecklenburg Drive in West Ashley.

The assault began when the man’s nurse told him he had to take his medication before receiving food, according to a police report. He threw a cup of ice at the nurse before yelling at her and threatening hospital staff.

The patient became agitated and began swinging at anyone near him after a doctor said the man needed to take his medication and stay in the emergency room, the report states. The doctor attempted to run away, but the patient allegedly struck him in the back of the head.

The patient then grabbed a hole puncher and ran toward other staff members. The report states that he hit several staff members and elbowed them and threw a security guard by her hair. One victim told police he saw the patient swinging restraints with metal hooks on them at others.

He also allegedly pushed an employee into a wall and broke free of more security team members trying to hold him down. He was eventually discharged from the hospital and taken to the Charleston County jail, where he is being held pending a bond hearing.

Hospital spokesman Andy Lyons said Wednesday night that when staff was faced with the violent patient, there were two goals: “1. Protect our patients and one another and 2. restrain the aggressive patient as quickly as possible.”

“Because of the heroic efforts of our staff, we were able to accomplish both,” he said via email. “Our team followed our safety protocol, and no patient was injured. The teammates who were injured were treated and released that same night, and we are giving them the support they need to heal emotionally as well as physically. We have opened an internal investigation into what happened to see what, if anything, we can learn from this event to better respond in the future. The safety of our teammates and patients is of utmost importance.”

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.