January 11, 2023

Police Arrest Man Who Threatened To Shoot Tulsa Hospital

Police Arrest Man Who Threatened To Shoot Tulsa Hospital

Police have arrested a man who allegedly threatened to shoot up Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

The incident occurred on the afternoon of January 4th, when officers responded to reports of a disturbance at the hospital. It was then that they discovered that Troy Eaton, of Tulsa, had been increasingly aggressive and disruptive to the medical personnel attending to his mother, resulting in his removal from the hospital premises.  

However, it didn't end there. 

Eaton reportedly left the hospital and went to a nearby gas station, telling the clerk that he was planning on returning there and "shooting it up . In addition, authorities discovered that he had posted his threat to Saint Francis on his personal Facebook page.



Acting swiftly, police tracked down the suspect at a nearby Tulsa home on January 5, where he admitted to having had an altercation with hospital staff. Officers report that Eaton openly divulged his plan to create chaos at St. Francis, admitting to telling the gas station clerk he was 'going postal.' 

Police have since charged him with Threatening a Violent Act toward a public facility. Tulsa residents are relieved that this incident ended peacefully but saddened that it happened in their community in the first place. He remains in jail on a $25,000 bond.

Violence Against Hospital Staff Is On The Rise, According To Research

Eaton's arrest provides a stark reminder of the troubling rise in violence against healthcare workers. The statistics are alarming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare professionals are five times more likely to experience violence in the workplace than people from any other industry.

Additionally, the BLS reported that the incidence violent assaults against medical staff grew more than 63% between 2011 and 2018, with hospital safety directors noting that aggression against healthcare workers increased as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified.

Furthermore, National Nurses United, the nation's largest registered nurse union, surveyed more than 2,000 nurses in the spring of 2022 and found that 48% had experienced increased workplace violence - nearly double the number from the previous year.

According to survey respondents, there are multiple reasons for the increase in violence, including:

  • Angry and confused patients concerned about their diagnosis and treatment

  • Anguish at the deterioration of a loved one in the hospital

  • Difficulty getting prompt attention due to staffing shortages, especially among nurses

  • Dementia and delirium

  • Psychiatric disorders

  • Social and political issues

  • Racism and gender discrimination

Reports flooded in from RNs around the nation, highlighting this alarming issue against the backdrop of several viral reports of workplace violence against medical personnel in 2022, for example: 

  • In June 2022, an enraged patient shot and killed a surgeon, another doctor, the receptionist, as well as a visitor after he lost his temper over the pain he had been experiencing after his back surgery at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Grief turned to rage in January 2022 when a man at the Ochsner Medical Center in Gretna, Louisiana, punched an ICU nurse until he was unconscious in a fit of rage after both his parents died of COVID-19 three days apart.

  • A 2021 survey published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that 23% of physicians from four Chicago-based schools experienced personal attacks on social media. Specifically, their views on controversial topics ranging from gun control and abortion rights to religion, race, and patient care, caused them to be prime targets for trolls. 

Final thoughts

Eaton's arrest illustrates how far some individuals are willing to go in times of grief and uncertainty. The Tulsa Police Department deserves credit for its courage and immediate action in preventing a tragic outcome in this case. Ultimately, if Eaton had succeeded, countless lives would have been at risk, not just for healthcare workers--but also for patients.

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