Family of eye gouging victim files lawsuit against hospital

(Riverton,WY) – According to court documents filed on July 19th, June Louise Tillman and Cathy Ann Lucas have filed a lawsuit against SageWest Health Care (Riverton Memorial Hospital LLC, a subsidiary of LifePoint Health, Inc.), on behalf of their mother Elaine J. Tillman.

Tillman was reportedly attacked by Patrick Lee Rose at the Sagewest in Lander on November 26th, 2020, where they were both receiving care. Rose allegedly ran into Tillman’s room from across the hall, where he “jumped” and “attacked” her, and “completely gouged out” her right eye.

Tillman was eventually taken to a Utah hospital for treatment, but later died on December 9th. It is yet to be officially announced if her death was caused by the injuries sustained during the attack, however, according to the filed complaint, the autopsy listed the cause of death as “Homicide.”

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Rose was ultimately transferred to the Wyoming State Hospital (WHS), in an effort to determine whether his mental state can be “restored to competency” to proceed with sentencing.

The official complaint states that, “It had been known for more than a year that SageWest Healthcare (Lander) had grossly insufficient supervision and monitoring of its psychiatric patients. In spite of repeated complaints, Riverton Memorial Hospital, LLC (and its officers, directors, and employees) failed to spend the money required to assure patients’ safety.”

“Mr. Rose, a big, burly man, was insufficiently restrained, insufficiently monitored, and insufficiently supervised, and, in consequence, was able to leave his room, enter Mrs. Tillman’s room, assault her, gouge out one of her eyes, and cause brain damage as a consequence of the traumatic assault and battery,” the complaint goes on to say.

The first claim for relief alleges that, “Riverton Memorial Hospital, LLC was negligent in the care and treatment it provided to Mrs. Tillman, and such negligence, falling below the applicable standard of care, breached the duties of care it owed to Mrs. Tillman.”

“The officers, directors, employees, and agents of Riverton Memorial Hospital, LLC, negligently failed to comply with the standard of care required of physicians and healthcare providers under similar circumstances practicing in the same field or specialty as such standard of care existed at the time and place of the treatment provided to Mrs. Tillman.”

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The second section of the claim for relief states that Riverton Memorial Hospital, LLC “breached its duties of care” when it allegedly did not:

  • “Undertake those investigations to assure that appropriate and safe plans would be established and maintained for the protection of patients in the event the Hospital accepted patients from law enforcement agencies or other agencies or sources when those patients had known psychiatric disturbances and violent tendencies.”
  • “Establish and maintain appropriate and safe facilities within the Hospital for individuals accepted by the Hospital as patients with known psychiatric disturbances and violent tendencies so that those patients would be securely isolated for the protection of other patients in the Hospital.”
  • “Safely monitor and supervise individuals accepted by the Hospital as patients with known psychiatric disturbances and violent tendencies for the protection of other patients in the Hospital.”
  • “Ensure that its personnel provide appropriate and safe care and treatment to its
    patients.”
  • “Ensure a safe environment to protect the well-being of its patients.”

The suit concludes with a demand by the Plaintiffs, represented by Robert P. Schuster, for a trial by jury.

As of this writing, SageWest Health Care (Riverton Memorial Hospital LLC, a subsidiary of LifePoint Health, Inc.) was unable to respond for comment.

County 10 will provide more updates as they become available, which can be found here.

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