Appellate court upholds PTSD claim for hospital worker

YOUNGSTOWN — A St. Elizabeth Health Center technician, who suffered a wrist injury while she was being held hostage in her workplace by an escaping prisoner, who repeatedly threatened to kill her, is entitled to workers’ compensation, both for her physical injury and for post-traumatic stress disorder, an appeals court has decided.

In a Monday ruling, a three-judge panel of the 7th District Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the decision by Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that Christine M. Jones is entitled to compensation for both the physical injury and the psychological condition, known as PTSD.

The claim stems from the assault on her by Billy Jack Fitzmorris, a prisoner who escaped from custody while he was at the hospital for medical treatment on April 2, 2007.

Fitzmorris, a federal prisoner at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, used a homemade knife to overpower and disarm a NOCC guard at the hospital.

Fitzmorris then took another guard and two hospital workers hostage and took and changed into the first guard’s uniform, before carjacking a visitor in the hospital’s parking lot and fleeing to the Columbus area, where he was captured.

For the complete story, read Thursday's Vindicator and

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