July 7, 2023

Illinois Man Arrested for Bringing Gun To Emergency Room

Illinois Man Arrested for Bringing Gun To Emergency Room

Image: Keith C. Schweikle of Illinois

A patient at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Illinois has been charged after a nurse saw a handgun in his pants. Keith C. Schweikle, 60, was being treated in the emergency room after a car accident when a nurse spotted the gun and alerted authorities. 

According to Geneva police reports, at roughly 1:20 pm, Schweikle was being transferred from the emergency room to an inpatient unit when the nurse observed the gun tucked into his pants. She then called hospital security who arrived on the scene and secured the gun and alerted the local police department.  

The gun, a Mossberg 1, 9mm, silver, and black, was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition. 

Schweikle has had prior convictions including three firearm offenses, including two in Cook County in 2002 and 2004 as well as one in Kankakee in 1994, according to Geneva Deputy Chief Brian Maduzia. 

Police records indicated he was charged with the following crimes,  

  • Armed habitual criminal 

  • Felon possess or use a weapon – 2nd or subsequent offense 

  • Three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon – person/vehicle – 2nd of a subsequent offense 

Schweikle was arrested after being medically cleared and posted bail shortly after. He was due in court on Wednesday; however, he did not show. Associate Judge Alice Tracy issued a warrant for Schweikle’s arrest and re-set his bond at $100,000. 

If convicted, Schweikle could face six to thirty years.  

Hospital response 

“At no time was our staff or patients in harm’s way,” Northwestern Medicine spokesman Christopher King email stated. “We are grateful that our staff handled the situation appropriately in the moment.” 

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Risk to hospital workers 

It’s unclear why Schweikle was in possession of the gun at the time of his hospitalization but this incident is only the latest in a long list of dangers posed to healthcare workers.  

In December 2022, Douglas Bryant, RN, was shot by a patient’s son during a home health visit. In October 2022, Nurse Katie Flowers and social worker Jacquline Pokuaa were killed on a Dallas, TX, hospital L&D floor. Only four days before that, psychiatric nurse practitioner June Onkundi was stabbed to death on the job by a patient.

There are over 40 states that currently have laws in place in direct relation to assaults against healthcare workers, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). There are an additional 28 states that have recently approved or have legislation in the work. There are even ones that would allow the creation of hospital police forces.  

According to the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, members would have higher training requirements and would be allowed to carry firearms and make arrests.  

Interestingly, currently, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  does not require employers, including healthcare organizations, to implement workplace violence prevention programs. Rather it provides guidance but can cite healthcare organizations for failing to create workplace-free environments from serious hazards.

 

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