Napa State Hospital

Cal/OSHA says that Napa State Hospital’s reluctance to release information has been hampering its investigation of an incident in which an employee at Napa State Hospital was allegedly attacked by a patient, according to court documents.

Although neither representatives from Cal/OSHA or the Department of State Hospitals would provide any details about the incident that triggered the investigation, a petition filed recently in Napa County Superior Court reveals that the investigation is regarding an attack on May 9.

According to the petition filed by Cal/OSHA, a Department of State Hospitals employee working at Napa State was attacked by a patient and suffered a serious injury. That same day, OSHA began a workplace safety investigation that must be completed, and any citations issued, by Nov. 9.

The day after the incident, Sean Howard Loveday, 26, was arrested and booked by Napa State Hospital Police on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, battery causing serious bodily injury, and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.

Loveday punched the staff member five or six times in the head and face with his closed fists, according to the arrest report. He then allegedly picked up a medical table, held it over his head and attempted to hit the staff member, who was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center for treatment, according to the report.

Loveday has since been charged with assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and assault by means to produce great bodily injury. Loveday had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but has withdrawn his plea, and a jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 10.

Ken Paglia, with the Office of Communications for the Department of State Hospitals, would not say whether or not Loveday’s arrest is related to the Cal/OSHA investigation.

Cal/OSHA recently filed a petition in Napa County Superior Court in order to get the Department of State Hospitals to provide investigators with documents that are not redacted.

According to the petition, the records that the Department of State Hospitals provided to Cal/OSHA are so redacted that not only is identifying information unavailable, the events leading up to the incident are also redacted.

“Some of the documents were so heavily redacted that they provided no meaningful information to the Division,” reads the petition. “Not only was personally identifying information redacted but also most information describing the events precipitating the injury to the employee.”

The petition suggests that Cal/OSHA doesn’t believe the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) will give up the unredacted documents without a court order.

In response to inquiries, Paglia said:

“State and federal privacy laws prohibit the release of confidential patient information. DSH is working with CalOSHA to seek clarification from the court on the information that can be shared.”

Deborah A. Bialosky, the attorney representing Cal/OSHA, said that she also would not comment on an active investigation.

On Thursday, the petition was granted by Judge Rodney Stone in Napa County Superior Court. The DSH has been ordered to produce non-redacted documents within 10 days, according to court documents. The court also ruled that Cal/OSHA must return or destroy all records containing patient information at the end of their inspection or any litigation and shall not use or disclose any patient information for any purpose other than the inspection or litigation.

Napa State Hospital reported having 1,053 patient assaults and 886 staff assaults in 2015, according to the 2016 Department of State Hospitals Violence Report.

In the same year, the hospital had a 1.4 percent increase in the number of patients. The rate of patient assaults increased 10.6 percent over 2014, but the rate of staff assaults decreased by .7 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the report. That means that although there was a slight increase in patient population, there were 6 fewer assaults on staff in 2015 compared with 2014.

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Maria Sestito is the former Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She now writes for the Register as a freelancer.