The line is open. Famous last words:
* NATE STEEL ANNOUNCES FOR A.G.: State Rep. Nate Steel of Nashville announces his Democratic candidacy for the coming opening in the attorney general’s office tomorrow — 10 a.m. in Nashville and 2 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chamber at the Capitol. Two big questions about the race for A.G.: 1) Will poultry lobbyist Marvin Childers really get in the Republican primary, where David Sterling and Leslie Rutledge already have announced? and 2) If he does, could he survive the primary? It’s also been suggested to me that bigger news would be an entry into the race by Cody Hiland, the Republican prosecutor in Conway.
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* SPEAKING OF ATTORNEY GENERAL: Some giant names will be arguing in a giant case in the fall that the attorney general won at the trial court, the $1.2 billion verdict in a case over marketing of an antipsychotic drug. David Frederick, a bigshot Washington lawyer who’s often been mentioned for important judicial openings, will argue for the state. Walter Dellinger, another big shot Washington lawyer and former solicitor general, will argue for Johnson & Johnson and its affiliate.
* THE TRIAL OF MARTHA SHOFFNER: It’s now set March 3.
* STATE HOSPITAL OFFICER FIRED: A State Hospital safety officer was fired Tuesday for hitting an agitated patient who’d hit the officer. Details follow:
The Arkansas State Hospital fired a unit safety officer Tuesday for failing to comply with the hospital’s seclusion and restraint guidelines during an incident with a patient. The officer’s name is being withheld pending possible appeal of the disciplinary action.
The incident happened July 3 when a male patient became agitated and hit the officer. The officer responded by using an improper technique and hitting the patient with a closed fist. The patient was taken to a nearby emergency room for stitches.
The officer was placed on administrative leave the same day pending the closure of the investigation, which happened today.
“As part of their daily jobs, State Hospital staff will encounter agitated and difficult patients,” said State Hospital CEO Steve Henson. “To ensure the safety of staff and patients, we provide training on how to back away from dangerous situations, how to properly respond to a combative patient and how to call for assistance. Those things did not happen in this case.”
Henson said he has a zero-tolerance policy regarding any intentional abuse of patients.The case file has been turned over to the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s office for further review.