Nurse suing state after being attacked at WA psychiatric ward - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Nurse suing state after being attacked at WA psychiatric ward

Posted: Updated:

11-8-18 UPDATE:

SEATTLE (AP) - A nurse at Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital who lost part of her ear when she was assaulted by a patient is suing the state for $5 million.

The tort claim filed Wednesday by a lawyer for Bernia Garner says the Department of Social and Health Services created a dangerous work environment by failing to properly staff the wards.

The lawsuit also says Western State Hospital officials knew the patient had a history of assaulting female staff, but failed to take measures to protect workers.

At the time of the Sept. 30 attack, Garner was the only registered nurse on duty, when hospital policy required three, the lawsuit says.

Garner was working behind the nurse's station when the patient jumped over the counter, knocked her to the ground and bit her ear lobe off.

DSHS spokeswoman Kelly Stowe said the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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10-2-18 ORIGINAL STORY:

SEATTLE (AP) - The Associated Press has learned that a patient at Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital vaulted over a nurse's station, knocked a nurse to the floor, choked her and bit part of her ear off.

Sunday's assault is the latest in a series of attacks on Western State Hospital health care workers.

Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Spears told staff in an email obtained by The Associated Press about the attack and said the nurse was hospitalized but did not disclose her condition.

Willie Saw, a nursing supervisor, told AP that part of the nurse's ear lobe was bitten off by the patient.

He said it will need to be re-attached with surgery.

Saw said this was the patient's sixth assault on staff since he moved to the ward six months ago.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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