Travel nurse allegedly sets colleague on fire at New Jersey hospital

A male travel nurse allegedly set a female colleague on fire at Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center, a hospital spokesperson told Becker's Hospital Review. 

The alleged incident occurred the morning of Feb. 7 in a break room. There were no witnesses, and police do not know the motive for the alleged attack at this time, Hackensack Meridian said.  

The female employee of Hackensack Meridian, who sources say was a patient care technician, was taken to another hospital for treatment of third-degree burns. Sources indicated that the 54-year-old employee was in stable condition with severe burns to her face, upper body and hands, according to NBC New York. She also reportedly had a cut to her head that required stitches.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family," Hackensack Meridian said in a statement. "Hackensack Meridian Health strongly condemns any act of violence."

The male suspect, who has since been identified as 31-year-old Nicholas Pagano, fled the hospital in a car, the health system said. 

Police were searching for Mr. Pagano, and he was found dead by apparent suicide in Waterford Township early on Feb. 8, according to NBC New York

Mr. Pagano, who had been working on a contract basis at the medical center since November 2021, had undergone a full screening before starting at Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian said. 

Editor's note: This article was updated at 3:45 p.m. central with new information. 

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