Two Athens Police officers injured by hospital patients

File photo: Two Athens Police officers were injured by patients at Starr Regional Emergency Room, police said. /Source: (Canva)
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ATHENS, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Athens Police Department said two of their officers were injured by disorderly hospital patients on Saturday.

According to Police, the officers were responding to a call from Starr Regional Emergency Room about a patient who was reportedly screaming at hospital staff.

The first officer suffered injury to his leg after the patient dragged him across the floor.

Police said the patient was being held on a certificate of need when he started reportedly banging on walls and causing damage to the facility. The man was allegedly screaming profanity and acting "belligerently."

The officer tased the patient, then arrested him and charged him with disorderly conduct.

The second officer suffered injury to his knee after another patient who was also being held on a certificate of need shoved the officer into a wall. That patient was also arrested on disorderly conduct charges after police said he caused a disturbance to other patients at the hospital.

Acertificate of need is a resource doctors can use to hold a patient who they believe to be a danger to themselves or others. Athens Police said it is typically used in relation to mental health issues or substance abuse problems.

Athens Chief of Police, Clifton Couch said "The local hospital is not a suitable place for either detoxifying people on meth or housing mental health patients, but all too often they become the de facto place to do just that. Patients that have been ordered committed to an appropriate mental health facility often have days before a bed becomes available for them, and the local ER and local police are left to deal with the resulting issues. I sincerely hope that the state will find ways to address this serious issue that has already resulted in two injured Athens Police Officers and numerous issues for hospital staff."

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