Pennsylvania Hospital patient stabs doctor in head, face while being treated

The doctor has been discharged from the hospital after being treated for injuries

A patient being treated at Pennsylvania Hospital on Tuesday stabbed a female doctor in the face and head "multiple times," authorities confirmed to Fox News.

The attack occurred inside the hospital while, where the physician was treated for injuries Tuesday and later discharged, the Philadelphia Police Department and Penn Medicine told Fox News. 

"Pennsylvania Hospital is working closely with the Philadelphia Police to respond to an incident which happened Tuesday afternoon involving a patient and a physician, who sustained injuries," a Penn Medicine spokesperson said in a statement.

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The spokesperson added that "swift action by hospital staff ensured that the physician received immediate care," and she has since been discharged.

"There was no danger at any time to other patients or staff in the hospital. All hospital operations continue as usual, and we are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation of this incident," the spokesperson said.

Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia. (Getty Images)

Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia. (Getty Images)

Police said they arrested the suspect and recovered a weapon from the scene.

It is unclear at this time why the patient lashed out. 

The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) called violence against health care workers a "rising epidemic" in a 2019 article, noting that there are nearly 25,000 assaults per year in health care settings -- 75% of which occur in the workplace, though only about 30% of workers report such assaults because many consider it to be part of the job.

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Nearly seven out of 10 emergency room doctors believe emergency room violence is increasing, and nearly 50% of physicians said they'd been attacked at work, AJMC reported, citing the American College of Emergency Physicians.

"It makes sense because the healthcare setting and the [emergency department] specifically is a very emotionally volatile experience for people," Michelle Mahon, RN, nursing practice representative for National Nurses United, told AJMC in an interview. "Patients are at their worst, they’re feeling horrible, they’re ill, they’re frightened and vulnerable.

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She added that health care workers often see "psychiatric issues because of lack of behavioral health, gang violence,and gun violence."

"Safety interventions that hospitals have taken are failing," she said. "Acts of violence that occur are brought up the executive level daily, but that does nothing to prevent workplace violence. It’s a response, not a prevention measure."