NAPA, Calif. (KGO) --Workers at Napa State Hospital demanded more safety measures at a rally Monday, saying there's been a rash of attacks by violent patients. The employees say violent assaults at state hospitals have been increasing for the past three years and they don't feel safe coming to work.
The workers' demands for a safer workplace comes almost four years after psych tech Donna Gross was strangled by a patient. There had been a rash of attacks on staff and patients alike. The hospital implemented new safety measures which included a personal alarm for workers to carry and more patrols by hospital police. Those at the rally say those measures had been working, but recently, there's been a spike in the number of attacks on staff.
"On the night of May 24th, I was violently assaulted," said "Stephanie."
Stephanie, who did not want to give her last name, is a psych tech who has worked at Napa State for the past decade. Stephanie was escorting a patient on the grounds of the hospital when she was sexually assaulted. She says the hospital can help prevent attacks by alerting staff about the more aggressive patients.
Stephanie said it would be helpful to know "who's been unlocked in seclusion, who's had sexual assaults, so that we know, coming onto a unit, who we need to be careful for."
Stephanie joined workers on Monday to voice her support for Assembly Bill 1340 -- legislation that would isolate dangerous, predatory patients.
"You separate them out, you get them on a unit, you have enhanced staffing that are trained to provide the treatment that they need," Napa State Hospital Psych. Technician Linda Monahan said.
Rally organizers introduced a female social worker who had been viciously attacked just a week after Stephanie was assaulted. They said, "She had to go to the hospital, suffered fractures and missing teeth."
The California Department of Hospitals said, as a state agency it could not take a stand on legislation. But they added, when it comes to safety, they're on the same side of workers -- that it's a top priority.
Assembly Bill 1340 comes up for a hearing Wednesday in Sacramento before a state senate committee.