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    Patient leaps from hospital window

    The 50-year-old is injured when he lands on a ledge after breaking the fifth-floor window with a chair.

    By CHRIS TISCH

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 17, 2001


    SAFETY HARBOR -- A 50-year-old Palm Harbor man was injured when he jumped out of a window of a fifth-floor room at Mease Countryside Hospital two weeks ago, according to Pinellas County sheriff's reports.

    Arthur Carson used a chair to break the window in his room on Feb. 3, then jumped and landed on a third-floor ledge below. He suffered injuries that required a helicopter transport to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he remained Friday.

    Carson's condition was not available because he has asked that no information about him be provided to the media, a hospital spokeswoman said. He declined a reporter's request for an interview.

    According to a sheriff's office incident report, deputies were dispatched to the hospital, 3231 McMullen-Booth Road, at 3:10 a.m. Feb. 3. Carson was admitted Jan. 29 for back pain.

    Hospital employee Jill Palecek told deputies that she had gone into Carson's room the morning of Feb. 3 and saw water coming out from under the bathroom door. She knocked and asked Carson whether he were okay, at which time Carson asked: "Friend or foe?" She said "friend," according to the report.

    Carson then opened the door and held up a plastic garbage can as if he were going to strike Palecek. He cursed at her and threatened to hit her if she did not leave, the report states.

    Another employee, Michael Overcasher, then entered the room. Carson struck Overcasher in the lip, giving him a cut, according to the report. Both employees exited the room and called for security.

    Overcasher told the deputy that he heard Carson push the bed against the door. Both employees reported hearing glass shatter from inside the room. Overcasher forced the door open and saw Carson step out of the 3-foot-by-5-foot window, the sheriff's report states.

    A deputy noted in a report that there was no evidence this was an attempted suicide. Overcasher and Palecek declined to press charges, and the case was closed.

    A hospital review determined all hospital nursing standards and procedures were met, said hospital spokeswoman Amy Lovett, who declined further comment.

    - Times staff writer Chris Tisch can be reached at 445-4156.

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