A traveling nurse was found dead in New Jersey in what appears to be a suicide on Tuesday, Feb. 8, after he reportedly set a fellow hospital worker on fire and assaulted her, hitting the victim in the head with a wrench.

Thirty-one-year-old Nicholas Pagano was found on Tuesday with a gunshot wound to his chest over a day after he reportedly came into Hackensack University Medical Center and burned a 54-year-old hospital worker with a culinary torch in the break room, according to ABC 6.

Pagano also reportedly struck her with a wrench, creating a laceration on her head that required stitches. She suffered third-degree burns from the event and had to be taken to a different hospital after her condition was stabilized.

Many of the hospital’s workers were left surprised by the situation, as they were not expecting Pagano, who had passed all the background checks and has been a registered nurse in the state since 2016, to mount the visceral attack. His former colleagues are wondering his motivations behind the assault, CBS New York reported.

“You’re not safe anywhere. It’s scary. I can’t imagine how something like that could happen,” Carol Macbeth, a woman who lives in the area visiting her husband at the time, said. “And I feel so sorry for that woman because she is going to suffer the rest of her life.”

Police are investigating what caused the two incidents to occur, with many questioning the circumstance where Pagano, who has been working in the hospital since November largely without incident, would do something to one of his co-workers, the New York Post reported.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family,” Ben Goldstein, a spokesperson from the hospital, said. “Hackensack Meridian Health strongly condemns any act of violence.”

As the hospital continues to deal with the situation, psychologist Dr. Alexandra Stratyner worries about the effects that it could have on the work and morale of the hospital, especially considering that many healthcare workers are still overworked due to the pandemic.

“To see that something like this can happen in the workplace, this is tremendously stressful and it can take a toll. And health care providers might be experiencing some fear of ‘Could this happen to me?’” she said.

Nicholas Pagano, a traveling nurse who works at a New Jersey hospital, was found dead a day after he reportedly burned and assaulted a 54-year-old fellow hospital worker. This is a representational image. MedicAlert UK/Unsplash.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.