Attack on nurse prompts Duke Health to intensify security

Duke Health is ramping up security at its hospitals following an attack that left an emergency room nurse unconscious and with facial fractures. 

Police arrested a patient at Duke Raleigh (N.C.) Hospital July 29 after he allegedly punched a nurse in the face that morning, which left her unconscious and with a broken nose and eye socket, The News & Observer reports. The patient is accused of breaking a security guard's finger and threatening several people in the emergency room.

The patient is being held on a $30,000 bond for two charges of aggravated assault and one charge of communicated threats.

Duke Health is now closing some entrances to the public and stationing more security guards in emergency rooms of some locations, including Duke Raleigh. The system will also hang signs at hospital entrances stating that patients' aggressive behavior could result in their removal from the facility or prosecution.

Health system officials are analyzing data to identify how many incidents — along the spectrum of uncivil behavior and verbal threats to physical violence — have occurred at their locations. In January, a patient at Duke University Hospital in Durham obtained a Durham police officer's gun and fired multiple shots in the emergency room before being fatally shot by a Duke police officer.

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