Employee sues hospital for injuries from attack by patient

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 13, 2015

CHARLESTON – An employee is suing William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital for injuries he sustained from a patient

West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services Bureau for Behavioral Health & Health Facilities was also named as a defendant in the suit.

On June 9, Justin Tomblin was a uniformed health service worker employed by Sharpe and was performing his regular duties when he was maliciously attacked by a known violent patient, according to a complaint filed March 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Tomblin claims the patient was a convicted murderer and had a history of violent attacks on other patients and/or staff members at Sharpe.

Because Sharpe is grossly understaffed and its staff members were insufficiently trained to deal with the violent and/or aggressive patients that they came into contact with, according to the suit.

Tomblin claims Sharpe had actual knowledge of a patient with a history of violent behavior and a known perpetrator of previous attacks on others and Sharpe made no attempt to improve employee safety or implement a plan for improvement pursuant to the rules, regulations and standards applicable to the safe operation of a mental health facility.

The defendants' failure to implement additional restraints or safety measures is an effort to prevent attacks on its staff constituted a specific unsafe working condition which presented a high degree of risk and a strong probability of serious injury or death to its staff members, according to the suit.

Tomblin claims due to his exposure to the hazardous, inherently dangerous and unsafe work place conditions, he sustained serious, permanent injuries, including a broken jaw.

The plaintiff was required to have his jaw wired shut for two months, sustained expenses for medical care and has been prevented from carrying out the duties and responsibilities of his life, according to the suit.

Tomblin is seeking compensatory damages. He is being represented by Erika Klie Kolenich and Lorena Ellen Litten of Klie Law Offices PLLC.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-473

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