crime

87-year-old dementia patient arrested for stabbing nurse

19 Comments

An 87-year-old man suffering from dementia has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after he stabbed a 23-year-old nurse with a pair of scissors.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 5:55 a.m. on Tuesday at a nursing home that provides intensive care for elderly people with dementia in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, Sankei Shimbun reported.

The stabbing occurred when the nurse noticed the man walking with the scissors in the second floor living room. When she told him to put the scissors down, he suddenly attacked her. The nurse was stabbed in the chest and sustained minor injuries.

The man entered the facility in April after being diagnosed with advanced dementia. After his wife died, he had been living with his eldest son before being admitted to the nursing home. Although he can walk and eat on his own accord, the suspect requires 24-hour nursing care.

Police said he has denied the charges and alternates between periods of lucidity and dementia.

A social welfare corporation that manages the facility told local media the suspect suffered from severe dementia and had previously exhibited behavioral outbursts such as hitting a male caregiver and yelling verbal abuse at other staff.

At the time of the incident, there were five employees working the night shift at the facility. Ten patients live in the same section as the suspect, with one nurse on duty at night.

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19 Comments
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Violent outbursts are not uncommon with dementia sufferers unfortunately. I can not see the point of arresting him, he is not mentaly competant so may not even be aware of what he did and can hardly be held legally responsible? Seems a waste of public money.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Mental note: do not leave sharp objects around patients with mental health problems.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What the hell is the point of arresting this guy?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sure, let's put old people with dementia in jail !

The guy certainly couldn't even answer questions from the police. He needs appropriate care, not handcuffs.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

fuzzylogic - I agree, but I think it a significant point is simply economics.

In this reported case we don't know details, but I do know of similar levels of violent outburst dementia cases in my city, where the patients / clients are regularly "drugged" with mild sedatives / tranquilizers. Why?

Because there is a staff shortage - severe at times - and finances are really tight to employ more. In addition the same lack of large finances means the necessary rebuilding to appropriate modern care standards of wards / rooms / facilities is on the back burner.

I've been informed of this by my doctor friend (who sends patients there), so I tend to believe it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is typical behavior from a dementia patient. Sometimes sweet and docile, othertimes hostile and combative. Often brought on by a perceived or real threat. My mother (89) has these same issues (potty mouth and all) but she has cotton padded boxing gloves to use when necessary so her caregivers aren’t injured. The nursing home is remiss here. One scenario, the nurse was more than likely gripping at him for needing clean bedding at 5am and he felt disrespected.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He's suffering from dementia usually marked by memory and reasoning disorders; but he knew and remembered how to get a hold and use a scissors deadly at the nurse...who probably pissed him off.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My father had a form of dementia and went through a semi-violent phase. My mother hid the kitchen knives and scissors in the dishwasher that she never used just in case. My dad was the most gentle man before this. However it was a phase that he went through. As the dementia progressed, he would scream that he wanted to die. Eventually his agitation subsided. He would go to bed lucid, but wake up in a funk, refusing to get up until he snapped out of it at around lunch time. Afternoons were like having my former dad back for a few hours. I too wonder the sense of arresting this man. For heaven's sake, hid the scissors from dementia patients.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Me thinks this is a process thing.

He attacked someone, the police "arrest" him, and then, once the "investigation" is done, either he will "released" without charges being filed, or, if charges are filed, then the prosecutors will turn around and dismiss the charges.

I mean, there are rules and if anyone would have rules and procedures, it would be the police and prosecutors. The police are probably merely following the rules.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dementia shouldn't be a get out of jail free card.

Sufferers from dementia/alzheimers can turn very violent. It's part of this sad disease.

http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-44109878

People need to discuss this illness more, get it out in the open and dispel the myths about it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He has demetia, he cannot be legally culpable so why on earth arrest him. he's not fit for trial and I can't see how throwing him in prison will help. Dementia patients are prone to violent outbursts, both verbal and physical.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What the hell is the point of arresting this guy?

A normal civil response to a crime - an attempted murder - until court decides whether he is responsible or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First, I feel bad for the nurse. I hope she recovers.

Second, the nursing home should have kept dangerous items away from patients with dementia as they are prone to violence.

Third, in my experience, it’s pointless to punish someone with dementia because they don’t remember the incident and therefore cannot understand why they are being punished. How do I know? I take care of a family member with advanced dementia. Today she latched onto my finger like a rabid pit bull and bit the heck out of my finger. Five minutes later she had no memory of biting me. A punishment is pointless and counterproductive when dealing with people with dementia.

Last, we don’t know all the facts nor what lead to the stabbing so it’s really hard to say what the best course of action should be or should have been.

And to the person why said that dementia should not be a get out of jail free card, I hope you never get dementia. It’s worse than jail.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"the suspect suffered from severe dementia and had previously exhibited behavioral outbursts such as hitting a male caregiver and yelling verbal abuse at other staff." so he has a snappish history and was not put on a watch list and taken out of the general population...amazing

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

He has demetia, he cannot be legally culpable so why on earth arrest him.

I think zones2surf was correct. There is a procedure that has to be followed. The police investigate, but do not conclude. Conclusion (judgement) is handled by the court system. The police are not the ones to determine the legal culpability of the assailant, rather the defendant will have to see a judge who will make that decision.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The guy belongs in the Metropolitan Matsuzawa hospital not a low security nursing home that allows scissors or other implements to be left laying around.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Steven Fennel

Dementia shouldn't be a get out of jail free card. He tried to murder the nurse and should be punished accordingly.

The mens rea might be a tad difficult to prove.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think this old fellas's mental issues go quite a bit beyond dementia.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Dementia shouldn't be a get out of jail free card. He tried to murder the nurse and should be punished accordingly.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

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