Woman visiting York Hospital attacked by unstable patient
A 62-year-old York City woman suffered a concussion, whiplash, black eyes and other injuries after being assaulted in York Hospital by a patient with mental-health issues.
Police said it remains to be seen whether the man can be charged.
Bonita Williams told The York Dispatch both she and her 4-year-old grandson, who saw the aftermath of the attack, were left traumatized.
"He can't be without me now. He clings to me, can't let go of my arm," she said. "He has to be constantly checking on me. ... The doctor said he needs counseling."
Williams said she is scared to go back to the hospital and needed to have her fiance accompany her when she returned to visit her daughter.
Williams was at York Hospital on May 29 because her adult daughter, Kia Carter, was about to undergo surgery.
Grabbed, head-butted: As Williams was walking down a nearby hallway, a man approached her.
"This guy grabbed me by the shoulders and head-butted me and kneed me in the stomach," she said. "I was dazed. I kept hearing the nurses say, 'Oh my God, oh my God.' ... They thought I broke my neck."
Hospital emergency medical technicians were called to the hallway and took Williams to the emergency department, she said.
"They said I have a nasty concussion," Williams said, adding she also suffered a broken nose, whiplash, black eyes, bleeding in her ear and a knot on her head.
"Someone said the sound of him hitting my head sounded like a gunshot," she said. "He is a big guy."
Williams said she's suffering from headaches and nightmares, and she has been given medications for pain, to help her sleep and to relax her muscles.
She was examined by a forensic nurse who "took all kinds of pictures of my body," Williams said.
"I ended up going back to the hospital that evening," she said, because her condition was worsening. That's when a CAT scan was done, she said.
A hospital administrator called Williams after the incident, and the hospital sent her a fruit basket, she said, but the facility where the attacker lives hasn't contacted her.
Troubling information: Williams said she is troubled by some of the things staff members told her fiance about the attacker, as well as by things she and her family witnessed just prior to her assault.
"My fiance and my son said (hospital staff) took his weight and after that, he snapped out," she said. "He had two people (caretakers) with him, and people were telling them, 'You need to call security.'"
Williams said no one called hospital security officers about the man until after he assaulted her.
"Six of them were wrestling him down to control him," she said.
Williams said a hospital employee told her fiance that the man shouldn't have been brought to that area of the hospital, where he could encounter members of the public, "because he was well known for flipping out."
"I've been in nursing for a long time. When (certain) residents are agitated, they are given a bit of Ativan so they don't act up," she said. "The facility he came from should have done that." Ativan is an anti-anxiety medication.
Williams said as she was being treated after the assault, she looked up and saw her attacker standing right outside her room, staring at her.
"I was telling the nurses, 'Could you please move him? Get him away from me,'" she recalled. The two caregivers who accompanied the man to the hospital were apologetic, she said.
Police, hospital investigating: Williams said she's speaking out to bring awareness to the fact that hospitals must have safety plans in place when treating violent, mentally unstable patients.
"They need to train these nurses to call security immediately when something like this happens," she said.
York Hospital spokesman Will Lavery said he couldn't comment specifically about the assault on Williams because of patient confidentiality but said that the safety of patients and visitors is the hospital's top priority.
"We're conducting an internal review of the incident and working with police in their investigation," Lavery said. "We're working to develop new protocols and procedures to prevent these types of incidents from occurring in the future."
Officer Derek Hartman, who serves as the spokesman for York City Police, said investigators are waiting to receive Williams' medical records to complete their investigation into the assault.
"Then we'll consult with the district attorney's office and determine the (man's) competency to stand trial," he said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.