‘Heartbroken’: Legal battle ends for Pathways stabbing survivor

JACKSON, Tenn. — A former West Tennessee Healthcare employee’s legal journey comes to an end.

“You know, my fight is over, but I would like to open that up so it doesn’t happen again to a patient or a healthcare worker,” said Jessica Forsythe.

Forsythe, who worked at Pathways in Jackson, survived the unthinkable six years ago.

Forsythe was attacked by a patient and stabbed over 100 times. And while she lived to tell the tale, she now has a list of medical issues, with no help from her previous employers to pay for the bill.

So she took them to court.

“We went to the Tennessee Appeals Court. They affirmed the lower court decision,” Forsythe said. “With that ruling against us, we had the opportunity to take it to the Tennessee Supreme Court. We had 60 days to do that.”

But Forsythe says her lawyers told her it was a battle she was unlikely to win.

“Laws are not written to protect the little guys,” said Forsythe. “They are not written to protect the employees in Tennessee. They are written to protect the companies and corporations. It would have been an uphill battle in the legal system to fight it at this point, so it is kind of like a dead end road.”

And she had one feeling to describe the end to that battle.

“Heartbroken,” Forsythe said. “Heartbroken. It hurts because we fought so hard to get the compensation and everything that I deserved, and that is not possible because they are exempt from workers compensation.”

But Forsythe says this is not the end. Even though her legal battle is over, her next mission is to prevent it from happening to either a healthcare worker or the patient.

“We have to find that balance in the healthcare setting, the mental health healthcare setting, to give the patients the absolute best care possible while protecting the employees that are providing that care,” Forsythe said.

And she says she wants to work with lawmakers to try and change the policies to give patients and employees more legal support, and challenge corporations to open up a conversation about workplace violence.

“You can’t be silent about the issue. It is there. It is nationwide, not just Jackson. It is nationwide,” Forsythe said. “Open that dialogue up and say what can we do for these patients. What can we do for these people on duty working? That is what I would like to do.”

Forsythe says her next step is to get in touch with Tennessee lawmakers and get that conversation started.

SEE ALSO: Woman stabbed over 100 times speaks out six years later

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