Woman attacked at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital may lose eyesight

A New Jersey woman who was beaten by her roommate at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in September remains hospitalized, and may have lost her sight permanently.

After the beating on Sept. 19,  55-year-old Gloria Gervase remained untreated for her injuries for several hours, because hospital staff did not check the room, says her long-time boyfriend Jeff Levy.

Levy says Gervase’s left eye had to be surgically removed, and she only temporarily regained some vision in her right eye over the weekend.

“As much as she was elated on Saturday that she was able to see a little again, she is now very depressed that her eye ight has once again evaded her,” said Levy.

Gervasi is currently at a rehab facility in Princeton, Levy says she is hoping to find a lawyer to take up her case.

New Jersey’s Department of Human Services – which oversees Trenton Psychiatric Hospital – said it could not comment on the case, but confirmed in a statement that an assault occurred on Sept.19, and that a patient was arrested for assault and sent to jail.

The statement also said a hospital employee has been suspended without pay for alleged policy violations, including failure to check on patients hourly.

Levy said Gervase had ended up in Trenton after developing some phobias at the group home where she had stayed previously. He was in total shock that anybody would attack his girlfriend of 17 years.

“She minds her own beeswax, and doesn’t mind anybody’s affairs, is very quiet by nature, and not very talkative,” he said.

New York City psychologist Seth Farber has been Levy’s therapist for years and has met Gloria Gervase several times. He says Gervase didn’t belong in a psychiatric hospital and says the hospital failed to protect her from a dangerous fellow patient.

New Jersey mental health advocates say patients are often grouped together with others who may be more prone to aggression and violence, which causes dangerous situations.

According to state data, Trenton Psychiatric Hospital had 1661 assaults in 2013, there were a total of  4866 assaults in New Jersey’s four state hospitals.

 

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