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Denver Health blamed for patient attack

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DENVER -- Nearly 10 months after a patient at Denver Health Medical Center was attacked by a fellow patient, it appears the suspect won’t face trial because he has dementia.

Charles Hill, 77, was arrested in July and charged with assault with a deadly weapon after detectives said he used a pillow to try to smother then-23-year old Jazmin Moya.

Doctors at the State Mental Hospital in Pueblo have determined Hill is incompetent to stand trial because of his dementia.  The news comes as no surprise to Hill’s wife.

“(Denver Health) should have known better. He got Alzheimer’s. He doesn't know what he's doing,” Cherry Hill said.

She blamed Denver Health for the assault, saying the hospital should have kept her husband secured in his room where he couldn’t be a threat to others.

The victim’s parents agree Denver Health is more to blame  for the attack than Charles Hill.

“They had the responsibility to protect my daughter as well as Mr. Hill from himself.  They knew Mr. Hill was sick, they knew Mr. Hill was violent, he had a history,” said David Moya, Jazmin Moy's father.

Cherry Hill admits her husband had been kicked out of six nursing homes before Denver Health became his home of last resort.

Six months after Hill’s arrest, Denver Health sent two letters to David and Amie Moya offering “Our sincerest apologies for the assault of your daughter.”

In an email to the FOX31 Problem Solvers, the hospital said its staff has been recertified in crisis prevention training and that it has added a full-time specialized officer  on the unit.

Also, nurses and nursing assistants now have a responsibility to make patient rounds every  hour.

“It took seven minutes of being attacked before they responded to my daughter`s screams for help,” David Moya said. "I hope they made the changes that they claim that they made.”

The Moyas settled with Denver Health for an undisclosed amount of money.  The Denver District Attorney’s Office said Charles Hill will likely face a civil commitment hearing later this year that might keep him in the State Mental Hospital for the rest of his life.