LOCAL NEWS

Utah nurse calls for safety changes after alleged assault at state hospital

Nov 11, 2021, 11:51 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah nurse is filing a lawsuit against the state after she says she was assaulted by a patient while working at the Utah State Hospital.

Nurse Jennette Pearson said she knows there are inherent dangers when working with the severely mentally ill, but she claims the hospital is understaffed and, therefore, dangerous.

“I was doing an extra shift to help out the unit,” Pearson said. She said she’s been concerned about staffing shortages for a while.

Pearson said she was punched in the face by a patient while administering medications, which is part of her job.

Patients at the Utah State Hospital are often dangerous, as they are severely mentally impaired. Pearson suffered a concussion along with a goose egg on her head and a black eye. She’s been home since the attack happened on Oct. 25.

She said she loves her job and feels it’s her calling to help those who are mentally ill. But she wants the state to step in to ensure safety at the hospital for staff and patients.

For now, Pearson says she hopes to feel better by Monday since she can’t afford to stay home on 60% workers’ compensation pay. But she’s concerned.

“I still have headaches,” she said. “I get tired. I think there’s probably some lingering depression.”

The Utah Department of Human Services released a statement to KSL TV, which reads: “Staff and patient safety are paramount to our 24/7 care for individuals with severe mental illness. Any injury to staff or patient is unacceptable. We carefully review each incident to learn from it, take immediate action, and make changes to prevent it from happening again. We are cooperating with law enforcement and prosecutors, and are conducting our own review to make safety improvements where needed.”

Pearson said she’s heard lots of reasons for why there’s no more money for safety measures. She believes it’s time for state leaders to figure that out so she can go back to doing what she loves — without getting beat up.

“On our level, on the employee level, we want to be able to go home, to come back to work the next day,” she said.

Pearson added the patient that hit her has still been charged in connection to her attack. If he were to be charged, he would be moved to a higher-security area of the hospital.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Unified Police Department Millcreek Precinct)...
Madison Swenson

Police searching for man missing from Millcreek area

Authorities are asking for the public's help in locating a 43-year-old man who has been missing from the Millcreek area of Salt Lake County since Thursday afternoon.
18 hours ago
...
Ayanna Likens

Utah Treasure Hunts launch another $20,000 race

The race is on – Utah Treasure Hunts launched another quest with $20,000 up for grabs.
18 hours ago
...
Ladd Egan

Amid increased need and dwindling supplies, Tabitha’s Way holds food drive on Saturday

Tabitha’s Way food pantry says donations are down at the same time that demand for food assistance has gone up.
18 hours ago
Police located a car involved in an American Fork, Utah parking lot shooting. A child in the back s...
Larry D. Curtis

BREAKING: Man wanted in AF AMBER Alert now in police custody

A 29-year-old man who was shot at by police and eluded law enforcement for several days, has now been booked into the Utah County Jail.
18 hours ago
(Aubrey Shafer/KSL TV)...
Madison Swenson

One critical, two serious after auto-pedestrian crash in Salt Lake City

The public has been asked to avoid 400 West in Salt Lake City due to a "critical injury" crash. 
18 hours ago
(Matt Rascon/KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon

Leaders tout new project as most sustainable, walkable community in Utah

A new FrontRunner station opened in Vineyard Friday, and it's part of a new project that state and local officials say is set to become the most sustainable and walkable community in Utah.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Utah nurse calls for safety changes after alleged assault at state hospital