Rogelia Oviedo was badly beaten up. | Teresa Ayuga


On Monday evening, a 58-year-old cleaner at the Psychiatric Hospital in Palma was attacked by a patient. Rogelia Oviedo was going into an office when she was grabbed from behind and suffered - in the words of the CCOO union - "a brutal beating". The union says that the patient "was supposedly in isolation" but that the attack was the consequence of "deficient controls of inmates that have been aggravated by endless works that are being carried out".

There is constant surveillance, but it would appear that the incident happened as security guards were changing shift. They took their eyes off the screens for "a split second", enough time for the patient, admitted by court order for assaulting several women, to kick Rogelia and then beat her up.

Her family are highly critical of the management - the hospital comes under Son Espases. Her brother, Antonio, says that Rogelia could have been killed, yet it took the manager, Josep Pomar, until Thursday to go and "inquire" how she was and to give the family the phone number of his secretary "in case we need anything".

He adds that the management appears to be avoiding the issue. "The feeling we have is that they are blaming my sister for what happened. They have said to us that she was alone 'because she wanted to be', that they 'know what Rogelia is like'. Well, my sister does have special needs, but she's not stupid. She has managed to be a self-sufficient woman, and it has taken her a lot of time and effort to achieve that."

The union has meanwhile questioned why she was completely alone "without any health worker present to control the inmates", claiming that it is "shameful" that there are only three health workers per shift and a single "totally unassisted" cleaning worker.

The family have denounced the incident to the National Police.