Patient, 74, dies after scuffle with security guards at DC hospital

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Police in Washington, D.C., are investigating the case of a 74-year-old hospital patient who suffered a broken neck during a mysterious scuffle with security guards last week and later died, according to The Washington Post.

James E. McBride of northwest Washington sustained a broken vertebra near the base of his neck during the fracas with two MedStar Washington Hospital Center security guards on Sept. 29. He died at the hospital two days later. The guards – ages 42 and 29 – have not been identified and are currently on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

“This has been devastating to the Washington Hospital Center community, our physicians, nurses, staff and including the security personnel,” Dr. Arthur St. Andre said during a Monday news conference attended by FOX5. “Our patients and the community trust us to provide excellent, safe and secure care.”

“Our patients and the community trust us to provide excellent, safe and secure care”

— Dr. Arthur St. Andre

The incident began when McBride, who was in the hospital for an undisclosed reason, left the building around 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 without signing out, according to hospital officials. He was located across the street a short time later by a nurse and a guard who attempted to return McBride to his room. The nurse and guard reportedly turned him over to the two hospital security guards and were just outside the hospital when McBride “became non-compliant and resisted and a struggle ensued,” according to a police report viewed by The Washington Post. McBride was allegedly “taken to the ground” by two people while a third “utilized hand controls to restrain” him.

“He was resuscitated there at the scene by his nurse and by a rapid response team,” St. Andre said. “He was brought to our emergency room where resuscitation continued and that followed up in our intensive care unit, where he received excellent care.”

The security guards were armed, but did not use weapons during the incident, St. Andre said.

McBride was “a loving husband to his wife of 40 years, and a wonderful father to his son and daughter,” according to a statement from his family released by MedStar on Tuesday. “The family is deeply saddened by his loss and they will miss him.”

A Facebook account operated by McBride’s daughter posted a status on Oct. 2 that said McBride’s passing “was a beautiful, peaceful transition. I love him 4ever and ever.” But in a sign that she’s still seeking answers, McBride’s daughter posted four hashtags after the status: “#RIPDaddy,” “#justiceforjimipromiseyouthat,” “#allhellabouttobreakloose,” and “#hellhasnofurylikeawomanscorned.”

D.C. Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham told The Washington Post that the department would turn over its findings to the U.S. attorney’s office to determine if prosecution is warranted.