Washington pays $2M to Workers Assaulted at Psychiatric Hospital


Hans Bruun, Reporter

A judge has ordered the state agency that runs the largest psychiatric hospital in Washington state (located in Lakewood) to pay more than $2 million to four female health workers who were attacked by a violent patient who targeted women.

Bernia Garner, one of the nurses who filed the lawsuit, lost part of her ear when the patient jumped over the nurses’ station, choked her, and bit off a portion of her earlobe.

The same patient who was admitted to Western State Hospital grasped Kaitlyn Tritt’s hair with both hands and refused to let go. The patient and the nurse ended up on the floor with her hair wrapped around her neck as the staff attempted to let go of his grip.

Several days later, the patient also attacked nurse Karen Jolley-Arnold, repeatedly striking her in the leg and inflicting a crippling wound while screaming that he was going to kill her. During a night shift, he jumped on Eloisa Panza, knocking her to the ground and attempting to bite her thigh.