"We are deeply concerned about her and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family," said Anna Roth, Chief Executive Office of the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers. "Staff safety is a high priority and we are working closely with the sheriff's office on this investigation."
The incident occurred at about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the intake area of the facility. According to Contra Costa Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee, inmate Aaron Nygaard appeared to be suffering from a seizure. When medical staff arrived, Nygaard told the nurse he faked the seizure because he did not want to be in a particular waiting room. According to Lee, without provocation, Nygaard then picked up a lamp and struck the nurse in the head. Nygaard also swung the lamp at sheriff's deputies, who later Tased him as he continued to struggle violently.
"That's the part that angers me most about this, that this knucklehead attacked a person, a good person that was trying to help him," Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf said.
Nygaard, 34, is from El Cerrito. He was originally booked on burglary charges, but is now being held for assault with a deadly weapon. The injured nurse, who has not been identified, is described as a long-time employee of Contra Costa Health Services.
In 2009, the sheriff's department reported 48 attacks by inmates on staff at the Martinez jail, none involved health services employees.