Stabbing of Nurse Prompts Weapons Ban at Heywood Healthcare

The weapons ban applies to all Heywood Healthcare facilities. Additionally, officials said abuse of employees will not be tolerated.

Stabbing of Nurse Prompts Weapons Ban at Heywood Healthcare

(Photo: Anton_Lutsenko/

Gardner, Massachusetts – Heywood Healthcare is responding to last week’s patient stabbing of a Heywood Hospital emergency department nurse by banning weapons of any kind at all of its healthcare facilities.

The weapons ban applies to the Gardner and Athol hospitals, doctors’ offices, and all satellite locations, reports The Gardner News. Additionally, Heywood Healthcare said it would not tolerate any abusive, aggressive, or disrespectful behavior toward its employees.

Last week an emergency department nurse was stabbed by David Nichols, 76. WCVB reports that the nurse went into Nichols room to check on him after he disconnected cords to his monitor. As the nurse tended to his nasal tubes, Nichols grabbed her by the neck and stabbed the nurse with a pocket knife. Nichols was convinced to drop the knife after another person, who had to protect themselves with a trash can, came into the room.

The stab wound sustained by the nurse came very close to her carotid artery.

At a press conference on Monday, hospital officials cited the rising trend of workplace violence in healthcare, both locally and nationally. Every 38 minutes, an employee at a healthcare facility in Massachusetts is threatened or assaulted verbally or physically, reports CBS News Boston.

Heywood Hospital officials also explained that their facility doesn’t have enough staff. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Heywood Healthcare lost nearly 30% of its staff.

Funding is also an issue. During the pandemic, the hospital was forced to close its mental health unit, and officials say they don’t have enough money to reopen it.

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About the Author

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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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