The attack happened early Tuesday evening in a unit usually filled with patients who have been committed by their families or through court ordered conservatorship programs. It was not in the forensics area of the hospital, where the criminally insane are housed in more secure units and where most of the past assaults have occurred.
Hospital administrators released a statement, saying only that "A Napa State Hospital nursing employee was injured during an aggressive incident by a patient. The patient was arrested. The staff member was treated at a local hospital."
Workers ABC7 News spoke to say the patient became irritated and fought staff who were trying to calm him down. The employee suffered a serious leg injury which required surgery at a local hospital. Several others were injured trying to subdue the patient.
Workers say security at Napa State is still inadequate to deal with the growing population of violent patients, many of whom are criminally insane. They say there have been some security enhancements but not enough to ensure safety of the staff.
Some say little has changed since the murder of psych tech Donna Gross almost two years ago by patient Jess Massey. The assaults have continued since her death -- patients attacking staff and patients attacking other patients.
Assm. Michael Allen, D-Napa, used to be a psychiatric nurse. He says violent patients ought to be isolated.
"I think they have to identify patients who are most likely to be implicated in violence, predator patients, find special units for them or special facilities where they have the kind of security needed to deal with forensic patients," Allen said.
Allen has five bills pending dealing with improving security at Napa State Hospital.
Several staffers declined to appear on camera out of fear of retaliation. ABC7 News has also learned that almost all of the staffers scheduled to work Wednesday night intend to call in sick.