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Security changes after new attack at Napa Hospital

December 13, 2010 6:51:56 PM PST
There are new security measures in place at Napa State Hospital after a worker was brutally beaten there over the weekend. The attack follows the recent murder of a hospital worker by a patient. Napa's assemblyman says he is launching an investigation.

Hospital administrators issued new security procedures Monday following the weekend beating of a 60-year-old hospital therapist by patient Sean Bouchie. The attack occurred while Bouchie was being escorted on the grounds of the hospital's forensics facility, the section which houses the criminally insane and most violent patients.

The latest assault comes less than two months after psych tech Donna Gross was murdered on the same grounds. Patient Jess Massey is charged in that murder.

A memo obtained by ABC7 says the hospital is ending a lockdown that has been in place since Gross' murder. On Wednesday, patients will be allowed again to roam the grounds without an escort, but only after risk assessments, which include "at least 90 days of safe and responsible behavior."

"I think one of the big problems is people who should be in prison as there at Napa State Hospital," former Napa State Hospital psychiatrist David Brody said.

Dr. Brody left Napa State Hospital last year, angry and fed up with what he saw.

"People without training, any self defense, without sort of weapons or ability to fight back are basically there with those criminals," Brody said.

Napa State Hospital has been under a court order to improve conditions for the past five years after a Justice Department investigation found widespread deficiencies put workers and patients' lives at risk.

Brody says a big reason for the security breakdown is the treatment program the hospital developed for patients.

"It's come out recently that it's basically developed for an outpatient population and it's being used inappropriately for a population that includes, unfortunately, hardened criminals

Assm. Michael Allen, D-Napa/Sonoma, a former psychiatric nurse, met with some of the staff last week. He was appalled by what he heard.

"I'm trying to get a tour of the hospital; I've actually invited the governor's office, both outgoing and incoming administration to come," Allen said.

Hospital officials say they have added more stringent security measures but declined to talk about the particulars of the weekend attack.


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