Hospital Employee Set on Fire by Travel Nurse

The travel nurse allegedly burned the Hackensack University Medical Center staff member’s body and face and hit her in the head with a wrench.

Hospital Employee Set on Fire by Travel Nurse

UPDATE FEBRUARY 9, 2022, 10:20 A.M.: The man suspected of this attack was discovered Tuesday. He apparently died by suicide, reports NewYork.CBSLocal.com.


Hackensack, New Jersey — Hackensack University Medical Center is accusing a travel nurse of setting one of its full-time employees on fire in a staff break room.

On Monday at about 5:30 a.m., Nicholas Pagano, 31, allegedly was in an argument with a 54-year-old female patient care technician when he burned her upper body and lower face and then hit her in the head with a plumber’s wrench, reports the Daily Voice. The suspect then fled the scene in a car, reports NJ.com.

There were no witnesses to the attack, and the motive of the suspect hasn’t been determined.

The victim was transported to another hospital and suffered third-degree burns to her face, upper body and hands, reports ABC News. She also sustained a cut on her head that required stitches. Authorities are searching for Pagano, who they say is armed and dangerous.

Pagano was contracted by Hackensack University Medical Center and had been working there since mid-November. Travel nurses are often used when there are staffing shortages, which have been particularly frequent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospital said the vendor that supplies the travel nurses is responsible for vetting its contract employees. The screening process includes background checks, drug screening and a license review, reports NewYork.CBSLocal.

The travel nurse accused in the workplace violence incident had been fully screened before starting at HUMC, reports NJ.com.

In response to the attack, more security officers are now stationed at the hospital, reports Patch.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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