Letters to the Editor

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WSH: Recent escape isn’t that unusual

Letter by Scott L. Marshall, Gig Harbor on March 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm with 2 Comments »
March 9, 2011 2:21 pm

Re: “‘Son of Satan’ recaptured” (TNT, 3-6).

As a former Western State Hospital employee who worked at that institution for more than 16 years, I would like to say that the recent event is really not that unusual.

WSH patients “escape” quite frequently. They are called ULs, or unauthorized leaves. It would not be unusual for there to be several ULs a week and quite a few every month. Any UL is a person who is on leave but should not be due to some aspect of their mental state.

Olympia has cracked down on WSH and Eastern State Hospital after ESH let one of its more dangerous patients go to the fair and he ended up with some sort of weapon. ESH and WSH now have to immediately report ULs to Olympia but not to the general public.

Public notification is not something that is normally done in these cases for the most part. The area surrounding WSH has many patients who are out and about on a daily basis. These are patients who have been found to be functioning high enough to be given an off-grounds pass to visit local stores etc.

Perhaps the law needs to be changed and require state mental hospitals to immediately notify the public when a dangerous patient “escapes.” How about an Amber Alert?

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    If what Scott says is the true, then the reason for not notifying anyone is, “we never have”? Wow! The report on this escape (er, UL) is due today. Let’s see if this issue is reported because it is a posssibly causal factor in why everyone in the Tribune’s articles claims that there is no policy compliance problem. Change of policy coming to WSH soon. One more needed (at least): No dangerous people allowed out of the locked buildings.

  2. Not only did the ESH patient come up with a weapon he used it to rape someone. And we’re just to shrug and say oh well this happens?

    IMO several somebodies should join Scott as a former employee.

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