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Pennsylvania Hospital Doctor Stabbed Multiple Times In Face, Head By Patient, Philadelphia Police Say

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia Police say a person is in custody after the patient stabbed a doctor while being treated inside Pennsylvania Hospital on Tuesday afternoon. According to police, the suspect was being treated by a female doctor when the patient stabbed her multiple times in the head and face.

That doctor is recovering from her injuries Tuesday night, but today's assault comes at a time when health care workers are already under immense pressure as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

Dr. Theodore Christopher, chairman of the Department of Emergency Management at Jefferson and past president of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, says news that a physician at Pennsylvania Hospital on Spruce Street was stabbed by a patient is shocking, but not surprising.

"I would venture to say 80% or most of us have either been assaulted or been the victim of some sort of violence by a patient," Christopher said.

The incident happened on Tuesday afternoon. It's still unclear what led up to the assault.

"I think more recently there has been a call to report these things and these items, but I would say less than a third of doctors and nurses probably report these incidents," Christopher said.

The American Journal of Managed Care calls violence against health care workers a rising epidemic, saying that three out of four workplace assaults happen in this field, and COVID is only partly to blame.

"It's reached a crisis point at this time I think because of the temperature in the country and what's going on in the country and the violence that we are seeing here in Philadelphia," Christopher said.

In a statement, Penn Medicine said they are working closely with police and that "swift action by hospital staff ensured that the physician received immediate care, and they are in stable condition. There was no danger at any time to other patients or staff in the hospital."

Pennsylvania Hospital says hospital operations are back to normal. We asked about specific security measures in place at the time, but did not hear back on that for this report.

CBS3's Alicia Roberts reports.

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