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December 04, 2015

Suit slams state psych hospital in South Jersey

Alleges safety not maintained

Lawsuit Ancora
Ancora Google Maps/Street View

Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Winslow Township

Claiming their developmentally disabled daughter was subjected to battering by employees of Ancora, the state’s psychiatric hospital for South Jersey, a suit has been filed by her parents and recently sent to federal court

The patient, Tara Murphy of Toms River, suffered permanent physical and emotional damage, the suit alleges in a story by the Courier-Post.

Her parents, John and Margaret Murphy are seeking unspecified monetary damages.

They allege the state failed to maintain patient safety while their daughter was in its care.

Individual state employees were named in the suit: Phyllis Davis and Elizabeth Still, both human services assistants; Natasha Almon, a human services technician; and David Price, a nursing supervisor.

Davis was fired two years ago, after Ancora’s own administrators accused her of pushing Murphy into a chair.

Murphy fell multiple times after being admitted to Ancora in August, 2013.

Still was allegedly seen abusing her, the suit contends. 

Murphy was seriously injured in a fall days later, and later allegedly assaulted by Davis.

In August of the next year, Murphy needed emergency care after falling out of bed, the suit alleges.

In March of 2015, she fell out of a chair restraint and permanently damaged her teeth, the suit also claims.

The suit accuses the hospital of violating policies and failing to train, supervise and discipline its employees.

The complaint also alleges the workers falsified official records, misrepresented facts, and withheld information.

The state hospital briefly lost its federal certification this summer after failing inspections repeatedly.

The state reassigned the hospital's three top administrators as a result.

There were 3,095 assaults documented at Ancora during 2013 and 2014.

No one involved in the case commented to the Courier-Post

For the full account in the Courier-Post, click here.