Willmar ER worker stabbing unprovoked by patient 'acting shady': Charges

WILLMAR, Minn. (FOX 9) - A man is facing assault charges after he allegedly stabbed an emergency room nurse in Willmar, Minnesota, on Monday.

Darrick Michael Whelan, 31, of Willmar, faces both second- and third-degree assault charges after police say he attacked the hospital employee unprovoked.

According to charges, around 11:33 a.m. on April 1, Willmar Police Department officers were dispatched to the CentraCare Rice Memorial Hospital Emergency Room at 301 Becker Avenue SW in Willmar on the report of an "out of control patient who was being combative."

Upon arrival, Sgt. Craig Lange observed staff attempting to secure Whelan in a restraint chair.

Lange later learned that a staff member of the emergency room had been stabbed by Whelan prior to his arrival, and was currently being cared for elsewhere in the department.

When speaking with the victim, she told Lange she had been watching over Whelan when he made some "weird movements" that had made staff nervous. "All of a sudden Whelan come out of the room and started assaulting her," she told police.

Initially, she and other staff members did not realize that she had been cut, but later noticed the blood coming from her injuries. Two stab wounds were later found in her chest – one of which required other nurses to keep pressure on it to stop the bleeding. According to police, her injuries resulted in 36 total stitches.

A security officer, identified as Derick Faulkner, stated that Whelan had been "acting pretty shady" and he "wanted to keep an eye on him" prior to the incident, according to charges.

In a statement provided to FOX 9, CentraCare wrote:

"At CentraCare, the safety and health of our employees, patients and visitors are our top priorities. We are saddened by the situation that unfolded Monday in the emergency room at CentraCare – Rice Memorial Hospital. Events like this are happening far too frequently at health care facilities around the country, and we are not immune. Our thoughts are with the employee who is recovering from their injuries as well as the staff who suffered emotional distress as a result of this incident. We are providing support teams for all involved and we will continually strive to create even safer environments for our patients, their families and all employees at CentraCare."