Documents: Woman punched while handcuffed at OHSU

From, September 14 2009

A woman who went to OHSU was handcuffed and repeatedly punched by hospital security, according to secret hospital incident reports hand-delivered to KATU.

Anna Marie Hartwick said she is bipolar, has post traumatic stress disorder, and a personality disorder. She said she has been in and out of the state mental hospital and on heavy medications since she was 12 years old.

She said she’s on a cocktail of three medications: Geodon, Zoloft, and Trazodone, which led to infections and severe pain.

On Sept. 1 the pain became intolerable while she was at the Central Library in downtown Portland. Someone called an ambulance to take her to OHSU. After waiting a long time to see a doctor and three hours without her medication, she admitted she blew up at hospital staff and left the emergency room with four security guards following behind.

“That’s when they tackled me and threw me to the ground,” Hartwick said.

In the incident reports, two officers said they witnessed another officer deliver “focus blows to Hartwick”. The officer in question said in a supplemental report that Hartwick was “handcuffed, [and] struck by focused blows” on the pavement outside the emergency room. Then in a car Hartwick was struck by “a closed fist to the right side” of her face.

“The first punch landed to the left side of my mouth,” Hartwick said. “The second punch landed to the right side of my mouth. The third punch was when I was already in the car, and it landed on my left cheek.”

OHSU Public Safety Director Gary Granger said because there is an ongoing investigation, he could only talk in general terms about when an officer can punch someone they are arresting.

“Use-of-force training generally does not rely heavily on officers using blows to control people,” he said. “It’s not a controlling technique.”

Hartwick said she was already under control when she was hit.

“I was handcuffed the whole time,” she said.

She admitted to kicking and spitting at an officer but said she was defending herself from punches.

Meanwhile, the hospital is investigating the use of force and also how KATU News received internal documents. OHSU said patient information is protected by federal HIPAA laws and someone broke the law and violated hospital policies by giving the documents to a news organization.

Hartwick said she’s glad someone made the paperwork public.