Tech attacked, burned by travel nurse sues Hackensack

A hospital technician who was attacked and critically burned by a traveling nurse in February at Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center has sued the organization.

The attack occurred the morning of Feb. 7, when off-duty traveling nurse Nicholas Pagano entered the hospital with a wrench and a bag of chemicals and attacked the patient care technician, a 54-year-old woman, in a break room. Mr. Pagano struck her in the head with the wrench and severely burned her, according to a copy of the defendant's complaint obtained by Becker's

The victim was taken to another hospital in stable condition with severe burns to her face, upper body and hands, NJ.com reports. Mr. Pagano was found dead by apparent suicide in Waterford, N.J., on Feb. 8. 

The lawsuit, filed April 12 in New Jersey's Bergen County, claims ineffective security systems at Hackensack University Medical Center enabled Mr. Pagano to access the hospital Feb. 7 even though he was off duty. The suit also alleges that the agency that supplied Mr. Pagano to the hospital was negligent in screening, hiring and supervising him. 

Bruce Nagel of the law firm Nagel Rice of Roseland, N.J., is representing the victim. He said the name of the staffing agency will become available in discovery as the lawsuit proceeds in Superior Court in Bergen County, NJ.com reports. 

Mr. Nagel said the victim is in a rehabilitation facility with what he described as "horrible" burns to her face and other parts of the body, and the motive for the attack is still under investigation.

The complaint states the plaintiff has sustained "serious, permanent, disabling and disfiguring injuries and significant economic losses." It seeks damages and attorneys' fees from Hackensack University Medical Center and the staffing agency.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to our team member and her family," a spokesperson for Hackensack University Medical Center told Becker's. "We cannot comment on pending litigation."

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