2 nurses stabbed at Knoxville hospital, suspect in custody

Two nurses are receiving medical care after police said they were stabbed by a patient at Physicians Regional Medical Center.

Gary Michael Smallwood, 40, was charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder after Knoxville Police Department said he attacked the nurses with scissors and a knife. The incident happened at around 6:30 a.m. Monday on the second floor of the central wing of the hospital.

One male and one female nurse were injured. Tennnova Healthcare said they are both expected to make a full recovery.

Police said the woman suffered a puncture wound to her upper chest. They said the man had more significant injuries.

When officers arrived, they said Smallwood, was “somewhat controlled” by hospital staff. He was placed into custody.

Smallwood was admitted to the Tennova hospital at 1 p.m. Sunday after officers said he appeared to suffer from a personal medical condition at the Knoxville Greyhound bus station. Officers said Smallwood was being belligerent and had requested to be transported to the hospital. An ambulance was called to transport him to Physicians Regional Medical Center.

Officers are unsure what motivated Smallwood to attack staff. They said he is not even aware of what city and state he is currently in.

In Ohio, Smallwood has a long criminal history that includes charges such as burglary, disorderly conduct, possession of drugs and aggravated assault.

Tennova Healthcare released a statement on the incident:

Ensuring the health and safety of the men and women who work in our hospital and of our patients and visitors is an important concern for hospitals and health systems. As public places, all hospitals must balance the privacy rights of patients with the need to protect staff, other patients and visitors.

We have extensive security measures for a wide range of emergency situations but do not publicly disclose the details of these precautions in the interest of safety. We work with local law enforcement and conduct drills to prepare for potential scenarios and regularly review our security program to make adjustments as needed.

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