93-Year-Old Attacked in San Francisco Emergency Room

By Jean Elle
|  Friday, Feb 21, 2014  |  Updated 5:09 PM CDT
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Mary Perez, 93, was attacked by another patient while she was at San Francisco General Hospital's emergency room.

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A 93-year-old woman is recovering from injuries she suffered from being attacked inside San Francisco General Hospital's emergency room.

Mary Perez on Friday was at the hospital for breathing problems when she was violently attacked by another patient, Orin Zebest, authorities said.

The 29-year-old Zebest was on a psychiatric hold and staff members were taking him to the psych unit when he jumped off his gurney and ran into Perez's room. Zebest then attacked the elderly woman, who suffered multiple wounds.

Diana Sandoval, Perez's granddaughter, said Zebest grabbed an IV poll and swung it toward her grandmother's head. Perez covered her head with her arms, which suffered cuts during the attack.

Perez told her family she thought she was going to die in the emergency room during the attack.

"She was full of blood and crying and super scared," Sandoval said.

San Francisco General Hospital in response released the following statement:

"San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center is profoundly sorry that Ms. Perez was injured while in our care. We take patient safety very seriously and are reviewing our procedures."

Hospital officials also said its doctors see nearly 4,000 patients a year on psychiatric holds, and those patients are all evaluated in the emergency room before transfer.

This is the first time a patient has been attacked at San Francisco General Hospital, officials said.

Perez's family said security changes need to be made to make sure it never happens again.

"We know something has to be done," Sandoval said. "There is no way you take a 93-year-old woman to the ER and they attack her."

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department said Zebest is being held at the jail ward of the hospital. He is being held on a long list of charges, including suspicion of attempted murder.

San Francisco General Hospital made headlines last year when a missing patient's body was found at a locked stairwell in the hospital.

San Francisco's sheriff acknowledged that after 57-year-old Lynne Spalding was reported missing on Sept. 21, 2013, deputies never searched the stairwell where an engineer eventually found her body. Her body was found nearly three weeks later.

Also last month, a patient who was considered medically at risk went missing after she walked out of the hospital after surgery.

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