A nursing administrator at Whidbey General Hospital is being investigated for allegedly assaulting a patient in restraints last week, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
Tom Tomasino, the hospital CEO, claims that the hospital believes the allegation is unfounded and the nurse is innocent.
“The nurse mentioned in the complaint has more than 30 years of experience, has cared for thousands of patients and has never been accused of any inappropriate behavior toward any patient,” he wrote in a letter to the Whidbey News-Times editor.
He pointed out that “the incidents of combative patients who instigate violence against hospital staff” is on the rise both locally and nationally.
“Violent patients require one-on-one care and may erupt with verbal or physical assault without warning,” he wrote, “often requiring physical intervention to protect patient and staff from harm.”
The nursing administrator accused of the assault is still working and not on leave.
Coupeville Marshal Rick Norrie is continuing to investigate the incident that was witnessed by several people, Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said.
He was surprised that someone would make a claim about the innocence of the accused.
“I don’t know how he can say that while the investigation is ongoing,” he said. “I don’t think (Tomasino) was there.”
Brown said that Norrie is conducting a very methodical investigation.
The Coupeville marshal is an employee of the sheriff’s office.
Brown said he will insist that Norrie’s investigation go to the prosecutor’s office for any charging decisions.
Undersheriff Kelly Mauck said the Coupeville Marshal’s Office initially responded to a report of a patient assaulting a nurse at the hospital May 13.
Witnesses at the hospital claimed that a different nurse —not the one who was assaulted — had assaulted the patient, according to Mauck.