A nurse has died after being attacked with a knife at a French hospital.
The 38-year-old woman, called Carène, died overnight after the incident at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Reims on Monday (May 22) afternoon, said France’s health minister François Braun.
A medical secretary also injured in the assault remains in a critical condition.
The hospital said the aggressor was a 59-year-old man known to hospital staff and said to have “a history of psychiatric problems”. He was arrested after trying to escape following the stabbing.
The French Hospital Federation (FHF) highlighted the attack was not a one-off incident and that it was part of a “more general context marked in recent years by several incidents of physical or verbal violence in public hospitals”.
An ‘attack with any apparent motive’ against victims
After walking into the ‘medicine and occupational health’ unit of the hospital, the attacker entered a changing room, where he stabbed the two individuals.
The attacker was also said to suffer from mental health issues, and displayed anger against the public health services over a perceived lack of psychiatric care, reported FranceInfo.
But the attack was “without any apparent motive” against the two hospital workers, said the prosecutor for Reims, Matthieu Bourrette.
“He had no appointment in this service and was not [a patient known to the hospital],” he added.
Outpouring of support
“My thoughts are with [the nurse’s] family, colleagues, and all the medical community,” said Arnaud Robinet, Reims’ mayor.
Immense tristesse suite à l'annonce du décès de Carène, infirmière au @CHUdeReims. Mes pensées vont à sa famille,à ses collègues, ainsi qu'à toutes la communauté hospitalière endeuillées ce matin.— Arnaud Robinet (@ArnaudRobinet) May 23, 2023
Mr Robinet is also the president of the FHF, which will provide “full support” to the victims and their families after the attack.
Mr Braun, meanwhile, said his thoughts were with the victim’s family and hospital staff.
Je viens d'apprendre avec une immense tristesse le décès de Carène, infirmière de 38 ans violemment agressée hier au @CHUdeReims. Mes pensées vont à ses proches, à ses collègues, ainsi qu'à toutes les équipes de l'hôpital endeuillées ce matin.— François Braun (@FrcsBraun) May 23, 2023
“By definition [a hospital is] an open place where people come to be treated,” said the minister, making it "all the more intolerable this brutal violence in a place that is designed to provide care and help."
The National Order of Nurses (Ordre national des infirmiers) will file a civil suit, said its president Patrick Chamboredon.