SEATTLE - A nurse at Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital who lost part of her ear when she was assaulted by a patient is suing the state for $5 million.
The tort claim filed Wednesday by a lawyer for Bernia Garner says the Department of Social and Health Services created a dangerous work environment by failing to properly staff the wards.
The lawsuit also says Western State Hospital officials knew the patient had a history of assaulting female staff, but failed to take measures to protect workers.
At the time of the Sept. 30 attack, Garner was the only registered nurse on duty, when hospital policy required three, the lawsuit says.
Scroll down to continue reading
More news from KIRO 7
- Thousand Oaks shooting: 12 killed, including deputy, at California bar; suspect also dead
- Radio tower burning near Tiger Mountain
- Seattle adding public toilet to Ballard park for $550,000
- HOV cheater hot spots: Where you're most likely to get caught
- Do you have an investigative story tip? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Garner was working behind the nurses station when the patient jumped over the counter, knocked her to the ground and bit her ear lobe off.
The state agency and hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.