Doctor apologizes for attacking nurse

A Colorado nurse was stabbed earlier this year by a doctor who works at the same hospital. The physician, Dr. Grady Michael Holder, was a patient in the ICU at the time of the attack.

Holder was hospitalized due to conditions related to alcohol abuse when he summoned the nurse to his room. When she arrived, the curtains were drawn around the bed. As she pulled back the curtains, Holder used a knife to stab her in the upper arm.

Holder, who lost hospital privileges as a result of the attack, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, menacing and second-degree assault. However, a further review of the case revealed that Holder could not be held criminally responsible because his mental state was altered due to his medical condition and treatment.

The nurse received a formal apology from Holder earlier this week. According to The Denver Channel, Holder wrote, “I want to apologize to Nurse [name removed] for any injuries she sustained because of the incident that occurred at Sky Ridge Medical Center. It is my sincere hope that Ms. __ go forward rebuilding her life, with the support of her family, so she can continue to serve her community in whatever fashion she desires…I want to assure all hospital personnel that I have never intentionally hurt another human being…”

Holder is currently treatment for alcoholism and hopes to return to the practice of medicine.

Do you think the doctor’s apology was sufficient?

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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10 Responses to Doctor apologizes for attacking nurse

  1. Melody

    This doctor needs to have his license yanked!! First, he’s an alcoholic but hopefully NOT treating patients! Secondly, attacking a Nurse and then, “I’m sorry, but I wasn’t in my right mind?” Well, if he’s not in his right mind, then he has no business being a doctor!! I hope the Nurse gets one heck of a settlement from him!!

  2. jerrie


  3. Barbara

    No, and he shouldn’t practicing medicine.

  4. He really cannot be held fully acountable for his actions if they were medically induced. Because it is not clear on that aspect it is difficult to say.
    shouls he be able to continue to practice medicine? That would really depend on his track record so far, his commitment to treatment, a d whether or not patients would actually go see him.
    In this life we all make mistakes. If he has true remorse for his actions, makes every effort to make it right, and continues treatment, then yes. I beleive in second chances for those willing to pit forth the effort.

  5. Nursenewbie

    Alcoholism shouldn’t be used as an excuse. Period. Saying he’s sorry doesn’t change anything.

  6. eileenr12

    I think an apology is a good place to start, but as to whether or not it’s enough…..well that would have to be up to the Nurse who was attacked. She’s ultimately the only one who can decide.

  7. M.Louise RN

    First of all, Jennifer I LOVE your articles-you have a great way of writing something just to get others thinking and talking about it. I am a writer and would love to talk with you about publishing…

    NOW,about this doctor…Alcohol is NOT an excuse, it’s just part of the reason. And the nurse who was attacked has to react in whatever way she thinks, be it publicly or legally…I sure hope someone has stepped up to help her decide! My thoughts are with her-how traumatic! What he did was criminal, but is it being ‘blown off’ because he is a doctor or because he is an alcoholic? Would it be criminal if he was just John Q Public?

    How much do nurses have to “take” before we are protected? I always say “I am not yelled at or screamed at or physically abused at home, what would make anyone think that I will be treated like that (on the job) and get paid for it?”

  8. Diane Kirse, RN, BSN

    I understand that people are ill but I am very tired of people getting off just because of their “mental” condition. I have seen nurses almost killed by people who were drunk or under the influence of drugs. But the courts will not do anything to them for assaulting the nurse. If this same person hit someone in a car and injured or killed them, charges would be filed. What is the difference. Assault is assault. I have had to force the police to come out a take a police report and take the patient into custody before when I was the director of nursing of a large inner city ED. I had to threaten to call the news media unless they did something. Nurses are just considered fair game because we are in the “helping” profession and are expected to over look unacceptable behavior because the person is “sick”. This never gives anyone the right to assault you.

  9. Diane Kirse, RN, BSN

    In addition, if I had been the nurse who was stabbed by this doctor I would not accept an apology from him. I would demand that charges be filed and that the case be brought before the grand jury. It would be their decision then if charges should be filed. His license should be removed. I would probably sue him in civil court. We had a physician once who used to threaten to hit the nurses (he did hit residents and students in the OR and was removed off teaching staff because of it). One nurse stood up to him one day and told him ” you go ahead and hit me. I want you to. You won’t have a penny left to your name when I am through with you”. He walked away and never threatened another nurse again.

  10. notme

    A felony assault.
    No big deal.
    She’s only a nurse.

    SCREW hospital security and call the police. Everyone. The hospital security crew has been instructed to tone down all events such as this.
    Administration does the same thing. It’s bad PR.

    Call the police. Get a lawyer. Go get treatment. And an assault doesn’t have to have physical contact to occur.

    Things will be BETTER for you if you follow this advice. If you don’t, you’ll let things go to hell for everybody else you work with.

    When you are assaulted by a patient or a visitor or a co-worker (and you WILL be, if you’re a nurse long enough…) demand to be taken off the job at that time so you can focus on yourself and filing charges. Don’t keep trying to take care of your patient assignment. Tell them you’re traumatized and you need time off.

    This is the same crap as a bank teller that has just had a gun stuck in her face being told that she has to finish her shift.

    The hospital should be bending over backwards to accommodate your injury. (That injury is an assault.)

    Save this comment in your word processing program and refer to it after the fact.

    It’s GOING to happen. It’s going to. Because you’re a nurse.

    Been doing this 20 years and have been assaulted at least twice a year in ICU. But I’m a good talker and can calm people down. The managers also know this and give me “the crazies” too.