Nursing assistant assaulted by patient at RI Hospital

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island Hospital patient has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a certified nursing assistant (CNA) on Wednesday night.

Leo Hamel, 66, of Johnston, is charged with assault on health care providers and simple assault and/or battery. He’s due in court Friday for arraignment.

According to the police report obtained by 12 News, Hamel is accused of attacking the CNA around 9 p.m. in the hospital’s main lobby. There’s no word on the victim’s condition.

Police said Hamel was uncooperative during the investigation and refused to explain what happened.

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Kathleen Hart, the director of public relations for the hospital’s parent company, Lifespan, said the assault happened after Hamel refused to leave when discharged.

“This is a sad reminder of the prevalence of workplace violence in health care, despite the enhanced presence of security and Providence Police on campus,” Hart said in a statement. “There is a dire need for appropriate placement options and social supports to take the pressure off our hospital emergency departments so they can provide lifesaving care to all patients who need it.”

This comes after a separate patient was arrested in September for “violently assaulting” a male nurse in the hospital’s psychiatric department, according to police.

That suspect, George Bower, is due back in court next week.

The victim, Scott Amaral, was released from the hospital a month after the attack.