Community honors emergency responders who aided nurse who was stabbed

Nine police officers, a dispatcher and three firefighters received accolades for their quick work in response to the stabbing of a nurse by a patient

By Brian Lee
Telegram & Gazette

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. —  Nine police officers, a dispatcher and three firefighters received accolades during Monday's Town Council meeting for their quick work in response to the stabbing of a Harrington Hospital nurse by a patient.

At about 10 a.m. June 14, Emergency Department nurse Elise Wilson of Dudley was stabbed 11 times. She is recovering from life-threatening injuries.

During the council meeting, Fire Chief Mark DiFronzo gave lifesaving awards to Firefighter-Paramedic Michael Gonynor, Firefighter-EMT John Parrettie and Deputy Chief Paul Normandin.

For solving the case, Police Chief Shane D. Woodson presented citations to Deputy Chief Jose Dingui, Detective Sgt. Carlos Dingui, Detective Evan Genkos, Sgt. Gerald Arvelo, Officers Charlie Bergeron-Pennachio, Dean Bruneau, Matthew Beinema, Luis Torres and Jordahn Witherspoon, and dispatcher Paul Sojian.

Firefighters received a call from a hospital administrator asking for an emergency transfer from the emergency room. But the hospital called back and told them to disregard the request, Chief DiFronzo said.

Citing the Fire Department's close working relationship with the hospital's nursing and emergency room staffs, the chief said Firefighters Gonynor and Parrettie went anyway and quickly recognized that specialized, quick-applying tourniquets and trauma dressings they had in their truck would be helpful.

The equipment was applied to Mrs. Wilson's arm, helping to stop the bleeding. By most accounts their actions were a key reason for Mrs. Wilson's survival, the chief said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Normandin helped coordinate and manage the locked-down emergency room, making sure patients were taken care of and that no one was allowed out of the facility without proper credentials, the chief said.

Chief Woodson told the council that all officers who were available were dispatched to the Emergency Eepartment to investigate the stabbing.

The chief said the suspect, who had fled, was in custody within 22 minutes, which he noted was quicker than the hospital was locked down.

Detectives Dingui and Genkos interviewed the suspect, who allegedly said he had attacked Mrs. Wilson because he was upset about service he had received at the hospital weeks earlier. The suspect also explained how he had sharpened the knife in the parking lot, indicating premeditation, Chief Woodson said.

From the day of the attack of the nurse, for several months on, police provided security for the hospital through around-the-clock detail shifts, the chief said.

Harrington has since equipped itself with the tourniquet equipment the firefighters arrived with and ramped up security protocols.

Harrington has limited visitor access and subjected everyone and all bags to search upon arrival at its Southbridge and Webster emergency departments.

Copyright 2017 Telegram & Gazette

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