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Cooley Dickinson nurse arrested on charges of assaulting alleged trespasser

Northampton police say they charged the nurse, Steven Joseph Coughlin, 28, of Stilson Avenue, Florence, with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after they said witnesses observed Coughlin knocking a male patient’s head against a sink in the hospital emergency room.

Coughlin pleaded not guilty to the charge in Northampton District Court Friday and was released on his own recognizance.

Police were called to the hospital around 8:20 p.m. to assist with a male who was reportedly trespassing and uncooperative.

When they arrived, officers said they found an Easthampton man yelling and bleeding around his eye. His name and age were not available Friday.

Police said the man told them he had been injured by hospital staff and a witness reported having seen Coughlin push the man into a chair and hold his head down, causing the injury.

Hospital spokeswoman Christina Trinchero confirmed that an incident had occurred in the emergency room Thurdsay but declined to give details due to patient privacy concerns.

“We have reached out to the patient and continue to be available to ensure any ongoing care needs are met,” she said in an email statement Wednesday. “We are actively investigating this incident and will provide more information as we learn more about what occurred.”

Trinchero said the hospital employee involved in Thurday’s incident, “is not currently providing patient care at our hospital.”

When asked whether the employee had been suspended or fired, she said that will depend on the results of the investigation now under way.

“We are cooperating with the police and providing information about this incident to all appropriate agencies,” Trinchero said.

Coughlin is due back in court on Sept. 11 for a pre-trial hearing.


Fired CDH nurse Steven Coughlin disputes charge he assaulted patient

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — When Steven Coughlin decided to become a nurse, he said he found a job that combines his love of science and his desire to help people. Now, the 27-year-old Florence resident is fighting to avoid jail, clear his name and get back into the field he loves after being accused of assaulting a patient and being fired from …

Legacy Comments5

This article is absurd! It has a lot of grey area's and is completely one sided. Nurses are experiencing abusive and assaultive behavior from family members and visitors just as often as they are from patients, and ED nurses are at higher risk. Nurses get a lack of institutional support and staff security. I commend him for securing the safety of the other patients and employees. To you Obomba Bin Laden, where in the article does it say the nurse bashed someone's face against a sink? Nurses, law enforcement and our beloved hospital security are all taught take down techniques, but sometimes it is not always text book. For the witness account it does not mention if they were employee's, passerby's, or friends of the alledged trespasser. Again, grey area. I am advocating for this nurse as well as all other nurses and physicians who strive everyday they work to give great patient care. Do not judge or place unnecessary accusations on this nurse!

Mr Bin Laden: Your name alone tells me everything I need to know about you. You are a manlignant narcissist who knows nothing about hospital nursing because your entire life has been focused on yourself. Do you know what it is like to be bitten by a patient, scratched or spit at and the patient can refuse to be tested for HIV so the nurse has to endure a 6 month wait of repeated testing to be sure they are okay or take HIV medication that can make him or her sick and if they are pregnant, OMG. Nurses, male and female as well as physicians have been abused for years by those who enter our doors drunk and disorderly, violent and abusive and there is 1-2 security guards who cover the entire campus of CDH. They do not carry any weapons and depend on NPD who respond immediately but alot can happen in 3-5 minutes waiting for the police to arrive. Mr Bin Laden, prehaps you haven't seen a 90 pound woman hyped up on amphetamines and narcotics trying to be subdued by the police and 2-4 other CDH staff. It is not easy! Before you condemn the nurse, you need to learn the facts, and presume his innocence until judged by a jury of his peers. This is the United States of America and not Afganistan Mr Bin Laden and I suggest you should leave the USA and go home to a country that endears your values not ours!

These allegations are preposterous and the charges are an insult to the profession of nursing. As nurses, we are faced with dangerous situations and dangerous patients everyday. We provide care to people who can be combative, abusive, inappropriate, uncooperative and a threat to the staff as well as other patients and visitors. Nurses are trained to protect themselves, patients and innocent bystanders in the hospital setting while always maintaining safety. I have worked with this nurse on many occasions and he is always compassionate, kind, utilizes critical thinking skills while maintaining high quality, safe care to all patients and visitors. These allegations are completely inconsistent with his good standing character, moral and ethical standards and inconsistent with the mission of Cooley Dickinson Hospital. This nurse is a resident of the community while working in a community hospital and actively involved in the same community he lives. WE NEED TO SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY NURSES! I urge Northampton residents as well as Western Mass residents to read this article with caution. Don’t believe everything you read. I am advocating for this nurse as well as all other nurses and physicians in our community who strive everyday they work to give great care to our fellow neighbors and community members and have to endure misunderstandings within the legal system due to unnecessary accusations or perceptions.

The only insult to the nursing profession expressed here is the witness statement describing the nurse's actions. Even security guards are able to subdue a patient without drawing blood or bashing someone's face against a sink. Stop asking for amnesty and hold yourself and your peers to a higher standard or accountability. If you can't handle it, choose a different profession.

True. But as his girlfriend, isn't your opinion of him a little biased? I hear he has a short fuse... from his co-workers, no less.

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