D.C. Hospital Patient Who Died After Clash With Guards Identified as 74-Year-Old

A patient at MedStar Washington Hospital Center who died last week after a struggle with security guards has been identified as 74-year-old James E. McBride of Northwest D.C.

McBride died Thursday, two days after an altercation outside the complex.

It's unclear why he died. Authorities said Tuesday that an autopsy has been completed, but it could take six to nine weeks before his cause and manner of death are released.

A vertebra in McBride's neck had been broken, according to D.C. police documents obtained by The Washington Post.

"Out of deep respect for their relative, our patient’s family has asked that we share some important details about him with the community," MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement on behalf of the family.

The statement continued: "The patient was 74 years old, a loving husband to his wife of 40 years, and a wonderful father to his son and daughter. The family is deeply saddened by his loss and they will miss him. They continue to ask for privacy, as they cope with their grief at this difficult time."

McBride was a patient at MedStar Washington Hospital Center when he left the hospital on the evening of Sept. 29 without having been formally discharged, said Dr. Arthur St. André, the clinical director for Surgical Critical Care Services.

McBride was then spotted at the nearby MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital and was being escorted back to the hospital's main entrance when he encountered two security guards from MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

A police report said McBride "became non-compliant and resisted," and was pulled to the ground. He became distressed, and was resuscitated by a nurse who'd been escorting him back to the hospital, St. André said. 

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St. André said resuscitation is a general medical term used to describe the correction of a patient's physical state. He would not say whether CPR was used on the patient. 

McBride died two days later.

"We're examining the entire event to see what we could have done better," St. André said. 

The hospital would not say what sparked the clash and did not identify the security guards. The officers are employees of the hospital.

"Throughout the week, we have been in close communication with the patient's family during this difficult time," the hospital said in a statement released Sunday. "We are also providing support to our own associates as needed. Our highest priority is the care and safety of every patient who comes to us for care, and we are deeply concerned for the family."

No charges have been filed in the incident. 

Health care lawyer Patrick Malone said it's possible the patient's rights were violated. 

"Hospitals are not prisons, and you cannot be held against your will or restrained," he said. Doctors do have the right to hold people deemed to pose an immediate danger to themselves or others, Malone said. 

St. André declined to speak about why the patient was restrained and said his family had requested privacy.

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