Nursing Notes

April 15, 2011

Nurse Dies After Assault At Cape Mental Health Center

As a mental health nurse, of course, this article held some significance for me.  But the problem discussed here–death and physical damage done to nurses during normal work hours–really belongs to all of nursing.  I don’t think about the potential for being hurt when I get up each morning, but the truth of the matter is that I deal with a very volatile population and that staffing for this type of patient is never adequate.  99% of the people I care for would never, ever hurt me or any other person; dispite having a mental illness.  It is that 1% that I have to worry about.  My difficulty is in identifying them in time to protect myself.

My heart goes out to this nurse’s family.  My heart goes out to this nurse’s workmates.  There is nothing quite a scary to a mental health team as the death of one of their own while at work.  I hope that hospital provides the staff with some type of counseling to deal with this event.

Here is the article.  Please read the entire article and feel free to visit the original site to leave a comment there.  Please leave me a comment if you have any thoughts about this article.

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April 14, 2011 11:13 AM

Cape Cod & the Islands Community Mental Health Center in Pocasset. (photo courtesy: David G. Curran/SatelliteNewsService.com)

Cape Cod & the Islands Community Mental Health Center in Pocasset. (photo courtesy: David G. Curran/SatelliteNewsService.com)

POCASSET (CBS) – The death of a nurse at a Cape Cod mental health center may mean new charges for the patient suspected in the crime.

Back in late March, 60-year old Jason Lew, a nurse at the Cape Cod and islands Community Mental Health Center, was assaulted by a patient. Lew’s injuries were so serious he was brought to several different hospitals before he died last Friday.

“There was some kind of an altercation. The nurse who subsequently died was assaulted during the course of the altercation,” said Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe.

O’Keefe said the suspect was immediately arraigned on assault charges, but depending on what the medical examiner finds, more charges could follow.

“It was a couple days later that the individual was deceased. So, it’s that full sequence of events that is the subject of an investigation to see what, if any, other charges might be appropriate,” said O’Keefe.

If the assault is found to have played a role in Lew’s death, it would make it the third worker in a local mental health center to have been killed by residents in the past four months.

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