Police officers are actually posted at the hospital on a regular basis. In fact, when our ABC7 News cameras were there we saw them dealing with a man who appeared to have been involved in some kind of disruption in the ER. We also saw them bringing out another man in handcuffs.
However, San Francisco General says this is the first time something like this has happened. A hospital spokesperson told ABC7 News the suspect, 29-year-old Oren Zebest, was being transferred from the emergency room to the psych ER for a psychiatric evaluation. That's when he suddenly jumped off the gurney and randomly attacked an elderly woman who was being treated.
He was immediately pulled off and restrained by sheriff's deputies who were nearby. The woman suffered some bruises, but she did not have to be hospitalized for the attack.
In a statement, SF General wrote, "San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center is profoundly sorry that Ms. Perez was injured while in our care. We take patient safety very seriously and are reviewing our procedures."
The elderly woman is still at the hospital for her previous ailment, not the attack. Hospital officials said patients with violent histories are usually escorted in by the police or under restraint.
Zebest was not under any restraints or police escort, which could suggest that the hospital had no reason to believe that he would do what he did.
This incident is the latest in series of problems at San Francisco General Hospital including the death of 57-year old Lynne Spalding, who went missing from San Francisco General and was ultimately found dead in an exterior stairwell at the hospital. Investigators found both hospital and the San Francisco Sheriff's Department at fault in that case.