Prisma Health employee dead after patient altercation

A South Carolina hospital employee is dead and a patient has been charged with assault after a May 27 altercation between the two.

The altercation involved Imani Cox, 27, who was admitted to Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital in Sumter, S.C., for a court-ordered evaluation, and Kevin Robinson, 40, a mental health technician at the facility, according to a Sumter Police statement posted on social media June 6.

Ms. Cox was trying to leave the facility on the day of the incident when hospital security and staff members attempted to detain her, police said.

Police said Ms. Cox allegedly was aggressive and began to fight with employees, striking at least two of them, and that Mr. Robinson was struck in the groin area before he became sick and unresponsive.

Mr. Robinson died days later. Ms. Cox was transferred to and treated at a hospital in the Columbia, S.C., area, police said.

"We are sad to be here today to acknowledge that we lost one of our team members, a Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital emergency department team member, following a workplace violence incident," Jean Meyer, RN, and Prisma Health's chief nursing officer, stated June 6 to Becker's. "He worked for us for 11 years and was well loved by his team members."

Ms. Meyer, who is also executive sponsor of the workplace violence committee for the Greenville, S.C.-based health system, added: "We extend our heartfelt condolences to our team member's loved ones and to our Tuomey Hospital family who share this loss."

The violence at Tuomey Hospital is the latest in a series of violent incidents on hospital campuses nationwide. Two staff nurses and an emergency department physician were stabbed June 3 inside Encino (Calif.) Hospital Medical Center. Five people were killed and several were injured June 1 in a mass shooting in a medical office building on the campus of Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Okla.

Also on June 1, a security guard died after being shot by a jail inmate being treated at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. The inmate fatally shot himself in the hospital's parking lot. 

And on June 5, a visitor was shot at Wayne UNC Health Care in Goldsboro, N.C.,  prompting a lockdown at the hospital for nearly an hour.

In South Carolina, Ms. Cox was charged with assault and second-degree battery, Sumter police said.

Ms. Meyer, with Prisma Health, said the health system is examining "how to balance compassionate care with protecting our team members, patients and visitors."

The health system offers employees annual training for workplace violence situations, and Prisma Health is continually updating strategies based on national best practices, she said.  

"A thorough internal investigation related to this incident has already begun and with the goal of learning ways to prevent other incidents from happening," said Ms. Meyer. "We are grieved to experience violence at our hospital, which is a place intended for healing."  

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