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

Local News

A man stands near what was discovered to be a well that opened up in a Spanish Fork man's Driveway....

Brianna Chavez

Spanish Fork homeowner finds old well under his driveway

After years of gradual change in one Spanish Fork homeowner's driveway, a well was discovered after part of the concrete caved in.

3 hours ago

Michael Cook, who was running for the Republican nomination for Spanish Fork's District 25 senate s...

Carlysle Price and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Former Senate candidate charged for refusing to leave a USPS while gathering signatures

Former Republican candidate Michael Cook is facing two charges after allegedly attempting to gather signatures in a federal building on March 29.

4 hours ago

FILE: A Summit County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle. (KSL TV)...

Alexander Campbell

Multiple Summit County businesses affected by counterfeit scheme, one arrested in connection

After reports of businesses being passed counterfeit money, one man is arrested in Summit County and facing drug and forgery charges.

5 hours ago

Green grass and wildflowers grow as a cyclist rides on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in the foothi...

Carter Williams

Salt Lake City hits 1st 80-degree day of year, ties 88-year-old record

Utah's capital tied an 88-year-old temperature record on Friday as the high temperature at Salt Lake City International Airport surpassed 80 degrees for the first time this year.

5 hours ago

The raised waters Parleys Creek in Sugar House Park as the warm weather melts snow in the mountains...

Emma Benson

‘Keep away’: Salt Lake City officials urge water safety amid spring runoff

Salt Lake City officials warn everyone of high waters near parks and trails as warm weather melts the mountain snow.

5 hours ago

Kids and teens don't need to worry about late fees from Salt Lake Count libraries....

Lindsay Aerts

Salt Lake County libraries remove late fees for kids and teens

At a Thursday ceremony at the Granite branch, Salt Lake County leaders highlighted that county libraries will no longer charge late fees on books, music, and movies for kids and teens.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

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