Elderly Patient Attacked at San Francisco General Hospital

SAN FRANCISCO – A 93-year-old woman was allegedly attacked Friday at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) by a psychiatric patient, prompting the victim’s family to question the facility’s security.

Orin Zebest, 29, allegedly attacked Mary Perez, who was in the emergency room for asthma-related breathing problems, around 10 p.m. Zebest repeatedly hit the woman with a pole of an intravenous fluid machine and tried to choke her, The San Francisco Gate reports.

Perez suffered multiple bruises, but no serious injuries.

SFGH personnel insist that the incident could not have been anticipated and was handled appropriately by staff. Just before the attack, two hospital staff members were wheeling Zebest on a gurney to the psychiatric emergency room when the suspect allegedly jumped off the gurney and ran into Perez’s room.

Zebest has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to inflict bodily injury and elder abuse. He pleaded not guilty.

Hospital officials stated that there is no standard protocol for handling psychiatric patients in the emergency room, as most are nonviolent. The hospital is currently reviewing procedures to prevent a similar incident from occurring.

Meanwhile, representatives for a union on behalf of nurses at the hospital said they were not surprised that the attack occurred, as the emergency room is consistently understaffed.

This isn’t the first time that security at San Francisco General Hospital has been under fire. Following the death of Lynne Spaulding, a missing patient who was found dead in a hospital stairwell, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which monitors security at the facility, admitted to failing to search a locked stairwell. The declaration prompted SFGH and Laguna Honda Hospital officials to request private security guards to patrol their facilities rather than the sheriff’s deputies.

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