By Steven Porter
A patient faces arrest for manslaughter after an alleged attack at Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Louisiana resulted in a nurse’s death, highlighting once again how dangerous the workplace can be for frontline healthcare professionals.
The 54-year-old patient, Jessie Guillory, was attacking another nurse in the hospital’s behavioral health unit this month when 56-year-old nurse Lynne Truxillo intervened, as The Advocate‘s Lea Skene reported Tuesday, citing police. Guillory then allegedly turned to attack Truxillo, causing her to injure her right leg and strike her head on a desk.
Truxillo—who finished her shift before being treated and released by the hospital’s the emergency department that day, as WAFB reported—died the following week. The coroner ruled this week that blood clots in Truxillo’s leg and both lungs had resulted from the altercation and caused her death, as Skene reported.
Edgardo Tenreiro, president and CEO of Baton Rouge General/General Health System, said in an email to staff that Truxillo was a “kind, compassion and giving nurse,” as The Advocate‘s Jacqueline DeRobertis and Grace Toohey reported.
“Our deepest sympathies are with her loved ones, friends, and colleagues as we work to better understand this tragic loss,” Tenreiro wrote, noting that Truxillo had worked for the hospital since 2002.
Truxillo’s death comes as nurses push for state and federal legislation to better protect healthcare professionals at work, drawing attention to the pervasive violence that some nurses have been told to accept as part of the job.
“Right now, healthcare and social service employers are not doing enough to prevent the violent incidents that nurses and other workers experience daily,” Jean Ross, RN, co-president of the National Nurses United, said in December.
Amy Costigan, MD, told HealthLeaders in February that clinicians’ legitimate safety concerns in the emergency department can undermine the quality of care they deliver.
“We work in emotionally charged and high-stress situations, but our protection in the hospital shouldn’t be any different than what is afforded to everybody else,” Costigan said. “We don’t tolerate assault in a courtroom, or a library, or a restaurant. The same rules should be applied and enforced everywhere because everybody has a right to feel safe, supported, and protected in their workplace.”