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Workers Rally For Increased Safety At Napa State Hospital

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Napa State Hospital Entrance (California Department of Mental Health website)

The entrance to Napa State Hospital. (California Department of Mental Health)

NAPA (KCBS / BCN) — Napa State Hospital employees held a rally Wednesday to call for increased safety measures at the hospital, where one employee was killed and another attacked last year.

The “Safety Now Coalition,” a group of unionized employees that organized the rally, said the California Department of Mental Health has not heeded demands to improve safety at the hospital, and employees feel unsafe.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports on workers alleging unsafe conditions:

Psychiatric technician Donna Gross, 54, of Concord was murdered at the hospital on Oct. 23. The man suspected of killing her, patient Jess Willard Massey, 37, allegedly strangled her in an enclosed courtyard and stole her jewelry, gum and less than $2, according to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. He is scheduled appear in Napa County Superior Court on Tuesday to have a preliminary hearing date set.

In another incident on Dec. 11, hospital patient Sean Bouchie, 24, allegedly attacked rehabilitation therapist George Anderson, 60. Anderson was treated at a hospital and has since been released. Bouchie was found mentally incompetent to stand trial, and criminal proceedings against him have been suspended. A decision on where he will he housed and treated until he regains his competence is scheduled for Feb. 1.

Sue Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, said they are calling for better assessment of patients when they arrive at the hospital to determine their capacity for violence, and for increased security on the 138-acre campus, which houses 1,362 patients.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports on workers saying patients are more dangerous:

Patients are allowed to move freely on the hospital grounds, she said.

“This is not appropriate for all patients. We need more security and enhanced treatment of patients,” Wilson said.

Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, is sponsoring a forum on employee safety at the hospital on Jan. 28, Wilson said.

She said some of the measures needed to improve safety at Napa State Hospital will require state legislation.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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