Longtime Napa State Hospital Psychiatric Technician Donna Gross lost her life at the hands of a mentally-ill patient last week. This tragedy highlights what UAPD and other unions have been telling state administrators for years — medical workers, including doctors, are endangered when safety issues are not addressed. UAPD will hold DMH managers accountable for creating an environment that allows violent, mentally-ill patients like the one who attacked Ms. Gross to roam campuses with little or no supervison. Specifically, union doctors are calling on DMH to reexamine some of the assumptions of the recovery model, and to make the safety of staff and patients a much higher priority than it has been.

Even before this tragedy occurred, elected leaders have been taking an interest in the safety issues UAPD has raised. Assembly Member Dave Jones (soon to be State Insurance Commissioner) has shown a special interest in the DMH safety issue, and State Senator Sam Blakeslee has toured Atascadero State Hospital to see first-hand the dangerous conditions under which DMH doctors work.

Doctors can respond to this e-mail with comments about safety issues they’ve encountered in their workplace, as well as their ideas for resolving them. Napa State Hospital doctors will be meeting with UAPD staff and leadership this week to discuss a plan for next steps at that facility.

Meeting for NSH Doctors
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
12 – 1 pm
In the Volunteer Center of Napa State Hospital

It should not have taken the death of a colleague to make workplace safety a priority for DMH. UAPD will continue to work hard on the safety issue in the coming weeks.