Jan. 7—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — When Jeremy W. Nagle, 18, was picked up in November by Johnstown police, he was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for evaluation.
A mental health warrant had been issued for Nagle after “suicidal statements and behavior,” according to court papers.
Nagle struggled with officers on the way to the hospital, where he later created a physical disturbance. The court paper says he spit on three emergency department staff members and bit a fourth staffer.
The behavior led to charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct that were filed against Nagle on Thursday.
Conemaugh Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elizabeth Dunmore said the situation is all too common in health care settings.
Dunmore is a part of a consortium of western Pennsylvania hospitals’ chief medical officers that is calling for support against violence in health care.
“It’s so important for us to speak up and advocate for our employees who do such important work,” Dunmore said.
“That’s what this is all about.”
A statement issued last week by the consortium said, “Violence in the health care setting is growing — with more reports of threats, physical interactions, brandishing of weapons and harm to providers or others. We understand the frustrations that trigger violence, but aggressive words or actions degrade the ability to safely deliver the care everyone deserves.”
The statement calls on the public to never choose or condone violence, threats, weapons or other intimidation in a health care setting.
“Our teams want to serve, and we need to do so without fear,” the statement continues. “We managed the pandemic and many other changes by working collaboratively, and we can do the same each day during care interactions.”
The consortium includes CMOs from 15 western Pennsylvania hospitals.
Dunmore said verbal and physical abuse is most common in the emergency departments but has occurred in areas throughout the health system’s facilities.
“It doesn’t help anyone,” Dunmore said. “It doesn’t help their health care, and it’s a terrible way to interact with people who are there to take care of them.”
Dr. David Csikos, chief medical officer at Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber, is also part of the consortium.
He says the Windber hospital has also experienced incidents of violence, threats and verbal abuse.
“We are all here to help the patients and not to expose our staff to this risk,” Csikos said.