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Northwestern Hospital Warns Workers About Recent Mob Attacks

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A memo has been sent out to thousands of employees of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, warning of two recent mob attacks on doctors – one near Prentice Women's Hospital, the other a few blocks north of the Northwestern hospital campus.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine obtained a copy of the memo, prompted by two separate attacks on Northwestern doctors.

In one attack, a 36-year-old man was attacked by a mob of 10 to 20 teenagers Sunday night as he was walking home from work along Dewitt Place, near the Museum of Contemporary Art. That man suffered a head injury, but was able to walk on his own after the attack.

In the other attack, a doctor was assaulted by a group of youths as he was walking outside Prentice Women's Hospital.

Hospital volunteer Anne Ahtelius said "I was shocked, because you don't think of it happening in this neighborhood."

Hospital worker Dottie Annstucko said, "I know how to protect myself, so no, I'm not concerned about it. … There's predators and prey."

The memo to Northwestern employees advises them to:

--"Walk in groups whenever possible."
--"Walk in well-lighted areas and with others."
--"If you see a large group of individuals in your path or walking toward you, try to walk in the other direction."
--"Do not walk with headphones on, or on a cell phone, as both could take your attention off your surroundings."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he's concerned about recent mob attacks in what is normally considered one of the safest areas of the city, but one which had a similar problem with mob attacks last summer. While the mayor was obviously concerned, he was careful not to imply the safety of tourists and residents downtown is any more important than protecting people in other neighborhoods.

"Nobody gets a pass on this, and everybody is responsible – from neighborhood group, to police superintendent, and the mayor – to bringing the type of safety we need for our neighborhoods," Emanuel said of the recent mob attacks downtown, including other attacks at a Red Line stop and the River North neighborhood.

Northwestern's email to employees also warned what to do if confronted:

--"Stay as calm as possible."
--"Comply with any demands made."
--"Do not attempt to intimidate an attacker."
--"Try to remember as much as you can so that you can help police."

Northwestern issued similar warnings after a series of attacks in the Streeterville neighborhood last year.

"We dealt with it last year, we're gonna deal with it again this year; very successfully," the mayor said Wednesday. "I've already talked to [Police Supt. Garry McCarthy] on that -- yesterday, and the day before, as well as this morning. And we dealt with it last year, we're gonna deal with it again."

A spokesman for Northwestern Medical Center declined to comment on the email, which it called an internal communication.

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