ATASCADERO, Calif- Atascadero State Hospital has been cited by the State Division of Occupational Safety and Health also known as Cal OSHA, for dangerous conditions and patient assaults on employees. The hospital has been fined more than 27-thousand dollars according to documents.
Ash was also cited for incomplete record keeping and "serious" violations about ongoing patient assaults on employees. State records show there were more than 400 aggressive assaults against ASH staff last year, more than 150 resulted in injury.
A former supervisor at ASH, Angela Ariaz, shares her story with Your Central Coast News. Angela worked at Atascadero State Hospital for 18 years, she said the last two years were the most dangerous because she had to endure attacks and verbal abuse.
"I've been spat on, pushed, shoved against the walls," said Angela Ariaz, a former ASH Supervisor. That isn't the worst of it for Angela. "He assaulted me, I went down to the floor, hit my knee and had two surgeries, and now I have a total knee replacement because of it," said Ariaz. Assaults aren't uncommon at ASH. According to Cal OSHA there are about 10 patient-caused injuries a month.
"Patients weren't well medicated, there was lack of staff, lots of fatigue, shortage of psychiatrists and employees," said Ariaz. Which led to upset patients and at times, making those patients violent. Angela lived in fear, every day at work. "I was always turning around seeing who was around me and always hoping that I would make it to my unit without getting assaulted by another patient," said Ariaz.
She wasn't the only one, living in this nightmare. "I was on call, taking people to the hospital with broken ribs, bleeding, I still currently have nightmares," said Ariaz. When Angela left the hospital two years ago, she walked out a different person. "I was always very happy and outgoing and my life changed working at the hospital," said Ariaz with tears in her eyes.
Angela is currently undergoing psychological therapy herself, now, treating her own mental scars that may never completely heal after what she went through at ASH.
All California state hospitals have been cited by Cal OSHA for assaults and injuries. There are more than 200-thousand dollars in fines.
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:14 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:14:07 GMT
BRIDGEPORT, CT -- Federal investigators are in Connecticut inspecting the scene of a commuter train crash. Officials said it could take days before the busy section of track reopens. During the FridayMore >>
Federal investigators are in Connecticut inspecting the scene of a commuter train crash. Officials said it could take days before the busy section of track reopens.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:08 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:08:19 GMT
DAMASCUS, VA -- According to the Associated Press, a car drove into a group of hikers at a parade in Damascus, a small Virginia town. Around 50 to 60 people were hurt, according to reports. No fatalitiesMore >>
According to the Associated Press, a car drove into a group of hikers at a parade in Damascus, a small Virginia town.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:08 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:08:42 GMT
SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The 4-H kids program trains future leaders in agriculture and community service across the Santa Barbara County but it is in danger of being cut altogether. The 4H program receivesMore >>
The 4H program receives $143,000 from the county which is scheduled to decide if it will continue or cut the funding this June 10th.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:06 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:06:55 GMT
PISMO BEACH, Calif. -- Some like to show off vintage cars while others in Pismo Beach like to show off vintage trailers. The Pismo Beach community got a blast from the past as more than 300 vintage trailersMore >>
The Pismo Beach community got a blast from the past as more than 300 vintage trailers rolled through Pismo Coast Village this weekend. More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:15 AM EDT2013-05-18 15:15:59 GMT
LOMPOC, Calif. - The Lompoc Fire Department held its lottery on Friday morning for local groups to sell "safe and sane" fireworks for its upcoming Fourth of July celebration. Fire officials held a blindMore >>
LOMPOC, Calif. - The Lompoc Fire Department held its lottery on Friday morning for local groups to sell "safe and sane" fireworks for its upcoming Fourth of July celebration.More >>