SAN FRANCISCO -- A patient at California's Napa State Hospital was in custody Sunday after allegedly beating a rehabilitation therapist unconscious in a secluded corner of the psychiatric hospital's grounds, staff members said.
The Saturday morning assault left the longtime staff member, a 60-year-old man, hospitalized with four skull fractures, according to a co-worker. The assault comes less than two months after Napa State Hospital psychiatric technician Donna Gross was strangled. A patient is facing murder charges in connection with her death.
Since 2006, the state's mental hospitals have been under a federal court order to improve conditions for patients. Yet safety for both patients and staff has deteriorated markedly at Napa State Hospital over the last year, data show. The other state hospitals subject to the federal consent judgment have also experienced a rise in violence since the state began implementing changes in care, data show.