WASHINGTON - Two hospital security guards have been placed on paid administrative leave after getting into a physical altercation with a patient who later died.
It happened outside the main entrance to MedStar Washington Hospital Center last week when the man resisted efforts to get back inside the facility.
Just before 5 p.m. last Tuesday, hospital officials say a male patient walked out of the hospital dressed only in a gown and made his way across the street to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital. That is when a nurse and a security guard encountered the man and began to take him back to the hospital’s main entrance.
"On the way, they were met by two of our security officers and an interaction occurred in which the patient was injured,” said surgical critical care specialist Dr. Arthur St. Andre. “He was resuscitated there at the scene by his nurse and by a rapid response team. He was brought to our emergency room where resuscitation continued and that followed up in our intensive care unit, where he received excellent care.”
Hospital officials would not list the injuries the man sustained, but a police report says there was a scuffle in a grassy area outside of the parking garage. According to the report, the patient became non-compliant and resisted and a struggle ensued. He was taken to the ground and hand controls were used to restrain him.
"This has been devastating to the Washington Hospital Center community, our physicians, nurses, staff and including the security personnel. Our patients and the community trust us to provide excellent, safe and secure care,” said Dr. St. Andre.
An autopsy was performed, but it is unclear which direction the investigation may be going. D.C. police have made no comments about the incident. Hospital officials say D.C. police were notified and asked to take over the investigation. Nearly a week went by before the hospital confirmed the incident.
"We did not release it to the public and the press because the family, as we talked to them, made it very clear to us that their desire was to keep this private,” Dr. St. Andre said.
Hospital officials say it is part of their protocol to attempt to assess a patient’s condition if they leave the grounds without signing themselves out or getting the approval of a doctor.