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Crime & Courts

Nurses held hostage in Geneva: Delnor incident 1 year later

Kane County Sheriff’s Office and Northwestern Medicine both make security changes

GENEVA – Nearly a year after a Kane County jail detainee took two nurses hostage – raped, tortured and beat one of them – before being killed by a SWAT team, lawsuits are still pending and some changes have been made by both the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital.

For its part, the sheriff’s office now sends two officers with detainees who go to the hospital, spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler stated in an email. If there are two prisoners, then four corrections officers go with them, the email stated.

And in an email, Northwestern Medicine spokesman Christopher King stated that, “we have implemented several protocols to enhance the safety of our nurses, physicians, staff, patients and visitors.”

“Over the last year, our nurses, physicians and staff members have demonstrated courageous resilience,” King’s email stated. “As our staff continues their journey of processing and healing from this incident, we remain committed to providing world-class care to our patients and the community we are so proud to serve. Each and every day, our staff exemplifies the Northwestern Medicine values of patients first, integrity, teamwork and excellence.”

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, introduced House Bill 4100, known as the Nurse Violence Prevention Bill, an amendment to the Nurse Practice Act.

HB 4100 calls for additional safety and health training for licensed nurses and licensed facilities, the posting of a notice that states verbal aggression will not be tolerated and physical assault will be prosecuted, that the facility will provide mental health services for a nurse who is the victim of workplace violence, among other requirements.

The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee.

The situation on May 13, 2017, unfolded with inmate Tywon Salters, 21, taking the gun away from a correctional officer who was guarding him. Salters took one nurse hostage, released her and took a second nurse hostage, officials said.

A federal lawsuit filed by four nurses and two of their husbands alleged that the sheriff’s office, the hospital’s security company and the correctional officer should have seen that Salters should have been viewed as a security risk as he was facing a long prison term for felony car theft.

A press release from the nurses’ attorney stated, “For 3 1/2 hours, the nurse was held hostage … a gun was continuously held to her head the entire time, she was told she was going to die, she was repeatedly beaten, she was mentally and physically abused.”

Salters was in the hospital for surgery because he had eaten a jail-issued plastic sandal and a liquid cleaner on May 8, the lawsuit stated.

In addition to the nurses’ and their husbands’ lawsuit, a patient at Delnor, Victoria Weiland, also sued the hospital, its security company, Kane County and the corrections officer, saying she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as “great pain and anguish.”

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