Woman attacked, blinded in Lander hospital

By: 
Clair McFarland with the Riverton Ranger, from the Wyoming News Exchange

Woman attacked, blinded in Lander hospital

 

By Clair McFarland

The Ranger

Via Wyoming News Exchange

 

RIVERTON — A Dubois man who had been hospitalized in Lander is accused of attacking another patient and gouging out her eye. 

The victim was an elderly woman whose remaining eye was damaged beyond probable repair. 

Dubois man Patrick Lee Rose, 53, was arrested by the Lander Police Department Nov. 26 after Lander SageWest Health Care personnel reported the incident, which Fremont County Attorney deputy Dan Stebner called “troubling and disturbing.”   

Hospital nurse Bryan Potratz told officers that morning that he had been sitting outside Rose’s room when the patient ran out of the room, rushed into the next room over, and jumped on an elderly female patient “before he could react.”   

LPD recorded in its affidavit that Rose gouged out the woman’s right eye and probably destroyed her left eye.   

Potratz and another nurse, Jim Hanson, interrupted the attack and restrained Rose until law enforcement arrived.   

LPD officers Jacob Halsmer and Trevor Budd were dispatched at about 9:09 a.m.  

“They rounded the corner by the nurses station and saw two male nurses restraining (Rose),” court documents state. 

The officers handcuffed Rose, who was dressed in hospital scrubs and had blood on his hands and clothing.   

The officer went to the trauma room where the victim was. She had gauze on her right eye, with a nurse keeping pressure on it, and her left eye was “misshapen and swollen to the point of bulging out of its socket.”  

The doctor noted she probably will be blind, as the trauma to her right eye included a severed artery.   

Rose is charged with aggravated assault, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. There is no irrecoverable maiming statute in Wyoming.   

Rose was taken from the hospital to the Fremont County Detention Center after the incident.  

The victim was transported out of the state for treatment of her injuries.  

During the defendant's initial appearance in Lander Circuit Court on Wednesday morning, Stebner said Rose and the victim were complete strangers to each other.   

“This was a bizarre incident committed against a complete stranger who’d had no prior involvement or interaction with Mr. Rose,” he said. “His mental condition seems to be the driving influence in what happened.”   

 “What seems to have led to this is, he quit taking some prescribed medication and had a very bizarre and extreme reaction to that – as is obvious from the alleged offense and the facts of it,” said Stebner.   

The prosecutor asked the court to insert a bond condition ordering proper medication.   

Lander Circuit Court Judge Robert Denhardt agreed. 

He addressed the defendant, saying “the allegations against you Mr. Rose are unbelievable in many respects.”   

“People who take psychotropic medications,” the judge continued, “and suffer from mental illness have a tendency to believe they don’t need to take the medication and then quit taking them, and then things go wrong from them.”   

Rose addressed the judge calmly and slowly.   

“I have an acquired brain injury.”   

“Anything further along with that?” asked Denhardt.  

“No, sir… It’s been ongoing for a long time. Eighteen years. Or longer.”  

Denhardt advised Rose to have that discussion with his attorney, Jeremy Hugus.   

Stebner argued for and was granted a $250,000 cash-only bond to restrain the defendant.   

The prosecutor said both the hospital incident and some unruly behavior in jail in recent days were a testament to the propriety of an otherwise “steep” bond for an aggravated assault charge.   

His behavior in the detention center over the weekend “deems him an extreme danger, at least at this point.”   

Hugus countered Stebner by requesting consideration of a surety bond and calling the hospital incident “an anomaly” from Rose’s usual behavior.   

The defendant said he’d never been convicted of a felony before.   

As of press time no booking photo of Rose was available.

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