Severe attack on nurse by patient with mental illness

My last three posts

Patients being ‘bussed out’
Image from Kent Mental Health

You might want to read these to get the backstory:

I wrote about how our patients, having gone from being slept out on other wards within our unit, to being bussed out to spare beds in our other mental health hospitals every night. I ended my first post with things couldn’t get any worse.

Well, they did. Despite being 20-25% over our regular bed capacity, the annual cost cutting exercise came round. To save money, our Dimwit pen pushers (Dpp’s) decided that cutting staff down from 3 to 2.5 at night would be a good idea. It wasn’t. A nurse was severely attacked and almost died.

What happened next

Intensive care unit — Getty Images

Manish, our nurse, remained in hospital as he slowly recovered and while his eyes remained permanently bloodshot, he regained some of his sight. His hearing didn’t return to what it once was and his speech was badly affected along with his mobility. He was deeply traumatised and would never return to work.

Iki, our patient, was removed to Broadmoor, one of England’s high-security psychiatric hospitals, and would remain there long-term. While people might judge young Iki, he suffered with paranoid schizophrenia and probably could have been better managed. I doubt that this incident would have have happened had the staff number not been cut; Manish wouldn’t have been the only nurse on the floor that night.

As staff gathered on Monday morning, waiting for Senior Directors to arrive from Head Office, there was dismay, shock, anger and a whole host of other negative emotions. Patients were not told initially as they too would have felt shock and horror, not only because Manish was a well-loved nurse. They would have been traumatised and left feeling unsafe on the wards.

Follow up debrief

When Mr Smyth (the first Senior Director) came into the nursing office, he was ashen and anxious, sighing wearily, “how on earth did this happen?” almost to himself. Staff were talking over one another to tell him, just as our Dimwit pen pushers (Dpp’s) walked in seemingly showing no remorse rather, with their heads up and shoulders back, they looked defiant.

Female Dpp suggested they take Mr Smyth and Mr Forbes, who’d just arrived, to the ward round office. She barked at someone, anyone, to bring them all coffee and she turned to leave. “Whoa, hold on a second — we’ll all go. I think staff have a right to be involved,” I replied equally as abruptly, and ushered the rest of the team along, too angry to care if they sacked me. Fortunately Mr’s Smyth and Forbes nodded agreement and in we all went – without her damn coffee.

Conflict in the workplace —
image by

“Right. Tell us what happened!” Dpp 1 started, “First, where was the other nurse, what’s her name, when her colleague was being attacked?” Staff watched as my eyes widened in disbelief and waited with me, knowingly — keep calm, say nothing right now.

Mr Forbes appeared horrified and whispered angrily at her “I don’t think that is the issue right now,” he looked around at the team and said more gently, “I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to Manish. You must all be shocked and traumatised and if anyone would like to speak to someone in confidence, I’m sure we can arrange this for you.”

Fact finding exercise

Mr Smyth began, “I’d also like to apologise for what happened to Manish and I know this might be hard for some of you right now. However, this a fact-finding exercise, we need to know what happened and learn from this incident so that we can prevent it from happening again. Tell me, how did this happen?”

“Unfortunately, as you’re probably both aware, we were already 20-25% over our bed capacity and were ‘bussing out’ patients each night,” I replied calmly, “then when the cost cutting was announced, it was decided that night staffing numbers would be cut……. the ward was short staffed and regrettably Manish was attacked.” Mr Forbes and Mr Smyth, along with our two Dpp’s, looked decidedly uncomfortable as I stopped to let that sink in. I further went on to explain that it wasn’t fair to place all the blame on Paru or young Iki and that this incident could have been prevented.

“Hmmm. Hmmmm. So, you were aware of the risk, yes?” mumbled Mr Forbes and I nodded at him but said nothing. I could feel our Dpp’s glaring at me as I sat and waited – angelically. “Okay, so as Ward Manager, what actions were taken to reduce the risks?” asked Mr Smyth but he turned towards the Dpp’s, “Were you aware of the risks Dpp 1, 2?” (sorry if this is confusing, I can’t even face giving them a name – just Dpp 1 and 2).

You could have heard a pin drop as silence fell on the room, “Well, Dpp 1?”

Conflicting opinions — image by

“No. Nobody actually told us they were concerned about the risk,” she choked, as did most of the staff — but they waited it out. Forbes and Smyth were scanning the room now, looking perplexed but knowing at the same time and wondering where to go with this.

To save them all any further embarrassment, we passed round copies of minutes from our last Team Meeting which was only two days before Manish was almost strangled to death. These minutes were clearly cc’d to not only the Dpp’s and our local service managers, but also to Head Office Senior management.

Apologies and swift exits followed and staff watched happily as our two Dpp’s were ushered quickly down the corridors by two angry Senior Directors. Still, there were no gains to be made here, we were only glad that those two were found out for what they were.

This makes no sense

However, long story short — the Dpp’s were moved sideways to other services, probably on the same salary and benefits packages and no doubt they’d be promoted again elsewhere within our Trust.

You couldn’t make this stuff up — they should have been sacked.

What do you think? I’d be interested to hear your opinion?

If you or anyone you know is experiencing mental health difficulties, please see your GP. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone immediately. In the meantime, this Useful Mental Health Contacts may be of interest.

fact finding learn from

defensive and


Mum to two amazing sons. Following recovery from a lengthy psychotic episode, depression, anxiety and anorexia, I decided to train as a Mental Health Nurse and worked successfully in various settings before becoming a Ward Manager. I am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Mental Health First Aid Youth and Mental Health Armed Forces Instructor. Just started my mental health from the other side blog.

23 thoughts on “Severe attack on nurse by patient with mental illness”

  1. I feel bad for Iki, send of to a Broadmoor. It will hunt him for the rest of his career, he will have a bad reputation.
    And your colleague going through a traumatic experience, not able to return again, his life upside down. But they can replace him.
    But the dpp’s number 1 and 2 are not inconvenienced (that we know of), not in the same way as Iki or your colleague. Same old same old …. I’m not surprised at all. Just dissapointed.
    I think documenting is all you could do and you did that very well.

  2. DPPs never seem to get held accountable for anything. That’s good that you were able to throw their lies back in their face with your documentation.

    1. It was a special moment as these two were thorns in my sides for many years 🙁 He was a big Wuss and would say “If you don’t do……. I’ll tell Dpp” and I’d say “Tell her to come and see me herself…..” I responded to Kacha just before you. Have a look at that if you want to read about more senior bullies – getting away with it almost!

  3. I was in hospital one time and a nurse was attacked, by a psychotic woman, she was badly injured, and was sent straight down to A and E! She was out of work for weeks, but none of us the patients found out what actually happened, I do know the psychotic patient was transferred to the locked ward though.

    1. Oh that’s awful too. It’s really not nice to see, it’s quite frightening, I imagine. I had to get used to it in my job but most of the time, we caught it before the patient got aggressive or violent. Thanks for commenting Carol Anne x

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