Nurses concerned after man with knives found at Abbott Northwestern

It’s the sort of story nurses say fits the definition of a nightmare: a strange man carrying three knives and a machete, wandering into what should be a secure area of Abbott Northwestern.

“She was coming out of the break room, immediately almost walked into this gentleman and just felt very scared, threatened and immediately ran away and called security,” said Angela Becchetti, a Minnesota Nurses Association union rep.

The nurse decided not to go on camera, but her supervisor, Becchetti, told Fox 9 the incident has been mishandled by hospital management and is sparking concern among many nurses.

“They’re scared,” said Becchetti “They’re very scared. One even approached me and said ‘I worked that night and felt like I didn’t know enough about it. I wasn’t informed. I didn’t know that I would be safe that night.’”

According to Minneapolis police, the man was discovered going through boxes on Sunday, Nov. 26. The incident unfolded near outpatient surgery. Police tell Fox 9 the man was found carrying three knives and a machete.

Allina Health, however, insists the larger of the knives was not a machete, but a “large camping knife” and released the following statement, which reads in part: “The hospital security and leadership have reminded staff to adhere to existing security procedures, and are reviewing this incident to determine whether to make improvements to existing security procedures.” 

“Whether it’s a camping knife or a machete, safety is a concern and they need to do an immediate follow up,” said Becchetti.

Union reps worry it could happen again. At the time the incident occurred, nurses tell Fox 9 there were no security guards assigned to that part of the hospital. Minneapolis police would later cite the man for trespassing, but nurses worry whether it will resolve or prevent future problems.