HEMSI Discusses ‘Job Risks’ After Patient Stabs Huntsville Hospital Nurse

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville police say 29-year-old Huntsville Hospital nurse is recovering after police she was stabbed in the head by a female patient early Friday morning.

Police say the nurse was helping the patient remove an IV when the patient became combative.  Officers say the woman pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed Stasica in the side of her head.

Following the incident WHNT News 19 reached out to Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. about the risks of such an unpredictable profession.

HEMSI Chief Operating Officer Don Webster says since the beginning of his career in 1974, Friday is not the first he has heard of medical patients turning on emergency responders.

"Over the years we've had people be attacked or grabbed or have had to struggle with patients," Webster says.

But Webster says some instances arise from legitimate medical issues where clarity-of-mind is adversely effected.

"A person who's having a diabetic crisis," Webster says for instance, "sometimes these people don't know what they're doing and they don't really comprehend form a mental standpoint."

Webster says HEMSI personnel are trained to be careful, to stay back, to be wary; but he says EMT's rely on law enforcement as their first line of defense.

"Our training is in the medical field, not in restraining or subduing people like law enforcement officers have."

Bottom line says Webster, medical professionals have to be prepared for anything and everything.

"In this world we live in today you never know what's around the next corner, unfortunately.

Webster says in case of a medical call gone sour all HEMSI paramedic radios are equipped with a button that can immediately alert and summon law enforcement.