Local couple suing Butler Memorial Hospital after a patient punched their 1-year-old son

BUTLER, Pa. — A Butler County couple filed a lawsuit against Butler Memorial Hospital for alleged negligence after they say their 1-year-old son was attacked by a patient.

The mother, Kelly Miller, said she brought her son to the emergency room last month to get stitches. While they were waiting for him to be treated, she says a patient identified as Elijah Flick-Geibel chased them and, with his fist, punched the baby in the face as she tried to get away and screamed for help.

“It was just me and my son, with (the patient) coming at us without help,” Miller said. “I felt really alone in that situation.”

Police said Flick-Geibel also fought with an employee and security before being restrained. Hospital staff told police Flick-Geibel was being admitted, involuntarily, as a psychiatric patient.

A mental health worker assisting Flick-Geibel said he was triggered by the baby. Miller said her son was making loud noises that seemed to irritate the patient, but she blames the hospital for the incident.

“One-hundred percent they could have stopped this from happening, especially him hitting my child,” Miller said. “It went too far.”

The couple’s attorney said the hospital staff had experience with Flick-Geibel.

“One of the more disturbing aspects of this—the hospital staff knew about this guy,” said attorney Al Lindsay. “This is not his first rodeo. He’d been there and had such conflicts with the staff and mental health unit.

“My client with her 1 year-old waiting to be stitched up because of an accident, is being chased by someone who is obviously mentally ill, and having this gentleman punch her child in the face, someone who the hospital knew was very dangerous.”

The hospital had no comment on the litigation.

Flick-Geibel was charged and had his preliminary hearing Thursday. The judge threw out the most serious charge of aggravated assault. Right now, he is in the Butler County prison unable to post bail.