Safety

Five years after brutal murder, hospital seeks to balance treatment with security

Hospital Safety Insider, October 22, 2015

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October 23 marks a somber anniversary for the staff at Napa State Hospital in California. In 2010, psychiatric technician Donna Gross was murdered by one of her patients-grabbed, dragged, and strangled to death.

While many staff members at hospitals deal with the risk of patient violence, about 80% of the population of Napa State, a psychiatric hospital managed by California's Department of State Hospitals, committed horrific crimes but were found not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial.

The 2010 murder, chronicled in this report from KQED-TV, sparked a facility-wide review of safety measures, including the addition of alarms outside the facility, where Gross was murdered. All facility staff now carry a personal alarm system with GPS to help hospital police respond more quickly to emergencies anywhere on the grounds, according to the report.

Despite the danger of being around criminals with dangerous behavioral health issues, staff members say violence is a part of the job and that they feel that the patients still deserve to be treated with dignity.

 



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