One Western State Hospital patient dies, another hospitalized after both found unresponsive

Release Date: 
Feb 09 2020
DSHS Office of Communications
Adolfo Capestany
(360) 902-8007


During the 12:45 a.m. routine census check on Sunday, Feb. 9, two patients were found unresponsive in their shared room. Staff initiated CPR while paramedics were called. One patient died and the other was taken to a local hospital.  

Lakewood Police Department and the Pierce County Medical Examiner were notified. The Department of Health was also notified. 

“We are devastated by the loss of a patient and our hearts go out to their loved ones,” said DSHS Behavioral Health Administration Assistant Secretary, Sean Murphy. “We take patient safety and health very seriously as it impacts everyone at the hospital. We will conduct an internal review to determine what happened and grief counselors are available for patients and staff who are shaken by this difficult loss.”

Although bound by strict confidentiality laws and unable to give specific information regarding patients, the department can confirm that that one of the patients had been away from the hospital on what is known as an “authorized leave” and had returned as scheduled.