Jury awards over $800,000 to attorney assaulted in hospital by patient


KINGSTON – An Ulster County jury awarded $801,000 to a woman in connection with her assault by a patient in the Mental Health Unit at Health Alliance Hospital Marys Avenue campus in Kingston on July 31, 2013.
The jury in State Supreme Court in Kingston delivered its verdict late
in the afternoon of Monday, May 21.
The victim, a 69-year-old Ulster County woman is an attorney with Mental Hygiene Legal services, had gone to the hospital to present a mental health patient in a legal proceeding against the hospital.
The victim’s attorney, John DeGasperis of Kingston, said the hospital staff failed to warn her that the client presented a danger to himself and others.
DeGasperis said staff allowed the victim to meet along with her patient in a locked room without any supervision. After 25 minutes, the patient got up from a table and assaulted the attorney without provocation or warning. She suffered injuries to her head, face and arms, had a torn retina that required emergency laser eye surgery, and she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
“The brutal attack could have been avoided had the hospital’s administration exercised reasonable care in operating the Acute Mental health Unit,” said DeGasperis. “The administration failed to implement adequate policies to protect people who visited the unit, and, on the flip side, the hospital failed to enforce those policies that it had previously implemented.”
Hospital officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

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