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Health-care worker who was attacked says industry is not protecting its employees

KUTV health care abuse 111317.JPG
Health-care worker who was attacked says industry is not protecting its employees (Photo: KUTV)

Punched, choked, kicked and beaten. That's what a health care worker says happened to her when she says a patient in a group home for special needs suddenly snapped.

"This is one of the more prominent bruises," Kaitlynne Jones, 20, said to 2News, as she pointed out her black eye in a picture taken after the attack. "From there I was grabbed, choked, slammed up against the fridge -- my head was banged on multiple surfaces, thrown to the floor, stomped on, spit on, kicked, scratched."

The alleged attack happened in July at a group home in Layton, Utah. Jones was alone with three men working the graveyard shift when, according to the Layton police report, a 35-year-old man attacked her at 5:50 a.m. because she wouldn't give him food, because of meal-time rules.

"In his eyes, it was 'I'm going to kill you, you are not getting out of this,'" said Jones.

Jones said she didn't come forward publicly until now because she believes the company she works for, Chrysalis, is not doing enough to train its employees. She believes the health care industry, in general, is not protecting its workers.

"This happens to health care workers all over the place and nothing is being done -- no protections are being put in place for us," Jones said. She is 5 feet 2 inches tall and is a petite woman, who had no previous health care training before taking the $10-an-hour job.

"Trying to implement the small amounts of restraints that we're taught did nothing for me. We were told these [restraints] can take down anybody that's bigger than you ... you will be fine you will be protected as long as we tell you what to do. I did exactly what I was told to do, and look at where I am now."

The alleged attacker, who police say has mental disabilities, now faces aggravated assault charges.

"Her reporting and the injuries are consistent as described," Lt. Alex Davis with the Layton City Police Department said. "Because of the significance of the injuries it is being screened for a third-degree felony."

Chrysalis, headquartered in Orem, is a state funded health care company with 2,500 employees who take care of people with special needs in hundreds of group homes throughout Utah and Nevada.

"I feel horrible that this happened," Marc Christensen, CEO of Chrysalis, said to 2News. He admits that assaults do occasionally happen because of the mental ability of the patients but said this is a, "very unfortunate and very unusual incident."

Christensen said he is not able to talk about the details of the case because of health care privacy issues, but says his employees are well trained. He said he's been doing this for 25 years and this is not a dangerous business.

"Not at all would I call this dangerous," Christensen said.

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