Death of elderly man at DC hospital ruled homicide

FOX 5's Alexandra Limon reports.

- The death of a 74-year-old patient at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has been ruled a homicide.

Hospital officials said James McBride walked out of the hospital on September 29, 2015, dressed only in a gown and got into an altercation with two security guards who were trying to bring him back.

According to an autopsy, McBride suffered a broken neck and severe compression to his spinal cord. 

The official cause of death was listed as "blunt force injuries of neck, with cervical spinal cord transection and vertebral artery compression."

The two security guards were special police officers. They no longer work at the hospital. We are still waiting to learn if they will face charges.

D.C. police and the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

A spokesperson for MedStar Washington Hospital Center also declined an on-camera interview, but said in a statement that they are cooperating with the investigation. 

Full statement from MedStar Washington Hospital Center: 

The September 2015 incident was devastating to all of us at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and our hearts continue to go out to the patient's family.

Immediately following the tragic event, we conducted a series of analyses to gain a complete understanding of the situation.

Much of this work is ongoing, but to date, as a result of our reviews, we have integrated several new initiatives, including enhanced communications and training with all care teams and security officers. We also identified a unique multi-disciplinary team to respond to certain high-risk situations.

In addition, we continue to cooperate with the investigation being conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

As always, our commitment is to provide the highest quality, safest care to every patient, every day, and our post-event evaluations were focused on ensuring that nothing like this ever happens again.


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