Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital was recently hit was a lawsuit after a woman was stabbed repeatedly by a stranger in the hospital’s parking garage.
In a story that sounds like it was ripped from the script of a horror movie, a woman was walking through the parking garage at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in April 2018 when a stranger popped out of nowhere and proceeded to stab her more than a dozen times. As a result of the terrifying ordeal, the 53-year-old woman has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the hospital, arguing it was “negligent in providing safety and security.” The suit was filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court and also accuses the hospital of “violating Wisconsin’s ‘Safe-Place’ law, which requires owners of public buildings to construct their facilities safely and maintain safe conditions.”
Throughout the suit, the woman is referred to as Jane Doe. According to her account, the incident happened when she “was leaving the hospital shortly after 7 p.m. on April 2, 2018, after visiting her mother in the intensive care unit.” While walking to her vehicle, “she was approached by a man who attacked her with a knife.” She said the man “knocked her down, repeatedly stabbed her in the head, chest, abdomen, and arms and kicked her in the head and face, knocking out several teeth and causing both her lungs to collapse.”
In total, the suit claims the “attack went on for about 10 minutes while nobody from Columbia St. Mary’s security staff intervened.” In fact, the hospital allegedly “hospital had no security officers stationed in the garage and no operating surveillance cameras.” To make matters worse, the hospital staff knew of previous incidents of crime on and around the medical campus but failed to take proper security precautions.
The bloody ordeal put the woman in the hospital for more than three weeks. Today, she continues to suffer lasting health effects of the attack. Habush Habush & Rottier attorney Benjamin Wagner is representing the woman. He said, “Our client’s primary motivation in filing this case is to shine a light on the vulnerabilities in securities that existed on the night of this attack on Columbia St. Mary’s campus.” He added that in filing the suit, his client hopes the “hospital and others across the community will increase security protocols.”
The assailant that attacked the woman was James Dedrew, 55. According to court documents, he has a “history of psychiatric problems and had been previously incarcerated for stabbing two women.” As a result of the attack, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
When commenting on the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for the hospital said the medical campus has “round-the-clock cameras and security patrols as well as emergency call boxes and other safeguards.” She added, “Our highest priority is the safety of our patients, visitors, associates, and physicians.”