Man charged with attempted murder of Novant Health hospital employees

A man has been charged with the attempted murder of two employees who were injured Jan. 18 by an individual inside of New Hanover Regional Medical Center's emergency department in Wilmington, N.C., according to StarNews.

Novant Health, which acquired New Hanover Regional in February 2021, confirmed that the two employees were injured, in a statement shared with Becker's. The health system did not identify the individuals involved, citing privacy laws, and deferred to the New Hanover County court/jail for further information.

According to county records, Rothwell Jacob Simmons, 24, was arrested Jan. 18 and is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of assault by strangulation. His bond was set at $7.5 million, the records show.

"Earlier this week, our hospital experienced something that tragically is happening in hospitals across the country at unprecedented rates — acts of violence directed toward healthcare workers," Shelbourn Stevens, president of New Hanover Regional and the Novant Health Coastal region, said in a separate statement shared with Becker's. "Two of our team members were attacked and injured inside the emergency department. Our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families."

At New Hanover Regional, an investigation is ongoing regarding the specifics of the Jan. 18 incident, and the hospital is reviewing programs already in place to protect employees to identify other actions it can take to help prevent this type of event moving forward, said Mr. Stevens.  

"While the unfortunate reality is that it's impossible to prevent all acts of violence in any workplace, especially those that are random or unprovoked, we will do everything we can to ensure a safe and healing environment for our teams, patients and visitors," he said. 

Violence against healthcare workers is a subject recently highlighted by various healthcare organizations, which are asking patients to show kindness and patience to staff on the front lines of the latest COVID-19 surge.

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