LOWELL -- A 40-year-old Dracut man is facing charges he punched a pregnant doctor in the stomach during a melee in the emergency room of Lowell General Hospital/Saints Campus on Friday afternoon.

Police say they were called to the emergency room about 4:30 p.m.

Police say Chad Audette, 40, of Dracut, had been a patient in the emergency room for about 24 hours, when staff realized he and his girlfriend were both on his hospital bed. Staff told Audette that was not permitted, which prompted a confrontation, according to police.

Police say staff members called for an emergency-room doctor as Audette became "verbally combative."

When the doctor, whom police did not identify, tried to intervene, Audette lunged at her and punched her in the stomach, according to police. The doctor is about 15 weeks pregnant, according to police.

Hospital security soon arrived, but Audette also battled them, throwing one security guard to the ground, causing a cut to the guard's head, according to police. More guards soon arrived and restrained Audette.

Police charged Audette with assault and battery on a pregnant person and assault and battery.

The doctor and the security guard were both treated by colleagues.

Audette was held over the weekend, and was to be arraigned today in Lowell District Court.

Police said they could not comment on why Audette had been in the emergency room for so long prior to the incident.