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Nurses Attacked in Separate Incidents

12 Jul, 2023 Liz Carey

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Fort Walton Beach, FL ( – As attacks against healthcare workers continue, several nurses were victims of unprovoked attacks over the past few months.

In Fort Walton Beach, Fla., officials said a nurse was struck repeatedly with a tire iron in what they are calling a “blitz-attack.”

On Thursday, July 6, officials with HCA Fort Walton Beach-Destin Hospital said a man outside the hospital attacked a nurse on her break. According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the nurse was in the parking lot when the man attacked her with the tire iron.

“A nurse taking a work break near an employee parking lot … was blitz-attacked by a man with a tire iron,” the sheriff’s office said in its report. “The nurse was able to fight off (the man), but not before being struck five or six times in the head, causing severe lacerations and swelling.”

The nurse suffered severe lacerations and swelling, and was taken into the hospital for treatment.

After providing a description of the man, police were able to arrest a 27-year-old man, Raul Milla, Jr., riding a bike nearby. In the basket of the bike was a bloodied tire iron, officials said, and Mila was wearing a shirt with a fresh blood stain on it. Milla was charged with “attempted felony murder. No motive has been identified for the attack.

In Milwaukee, on June 27, a nurse was struck as she was tending to a woman who had fired shots during an argument over a hotel bill.

Officials said Nina Wheeler, 40, was on her way to St. Luke’s Medical Center after police detained her. According to reports, Wheeler became increasingly upset and when she was loaded on a gurney at the hospital, hit a nurse in the face with her fist.

Wheeler was first located at the Red Lotus Inn arguing with an employee behind the counter, police said, over a refund on her room. Wheeler said she was entitled to a discount since she was leaving the room earlier than she had said she would.

Witnesses told police that Wheeler was near a white SUV, and when employees came near the vehicle, Wheeler fired a gun in the air and yelled at the employees to “get away from (her) stuff.”

Police said the gun, as well as other ammunition were clearly visible in the front of the SUV.
Wheeler was taken into custody and transferred her to the hospital, where she attacked the nurse. When asked by police why she fired the shot, Wheeler said she thought people were trying to steal her stuff.

Wheeler was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, disorderly conduct and bodily harm to a healthcare worker.

In May, a nurse in Long Island was attacked by a disgruntled patient, officials said.

On May 27, a nurse at Nassau University Medical Center was caring for a patient, Harry Keitt, 66, when he became agitated. Keitt allegedly punched the nurse in the face several times, officials said.

Keitt was charged with assault. The nurse suffered minor injuries and has recovered.

And in April, a nurse in Tampa, Fla., was arrested after shooting a colleague.

Officials said Felicia Johnson McGee, 26, shot a nurse co-worker at the Bristol Tampa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center after a dispute.

“I never seen nothing like this before, I’ve been working here 24 years,” said Ronnie Lark, Bristol maintenance employee.

Deputies said McGee and the victim got into an argument in the parking lot. During the conflict, things got heated, and McGee pulled out a gun and shot the other nurse.

The victim was taken to nearby Tampa General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to the arm.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, attacks on healthcare workers have been on the rise. According to the U. S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 healthcare and social service workers are victims of 76 percent of all non-fatal injuries due to workplace violence.

In May, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., introduced legislation that would protect healthcare workers from workplace violence.

The proposed legislation would require OSHA to create a standard for healthcare and social services employers in regard to a violence prevention plan. According to the American Nurses Association, seven states already require a workplace violence prevention program.

Florida is not one of those states.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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