OLYMPIA — One of two patients discovered unresponsive early Sunday morning at Western State Hospital has died, according to state officials.

The patients — both men in the hospital’s civil-treatment wards — were found in their shared room at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Lakewood, according to the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

One of the patients had been allowed off the hospital campus on authorized leave Saturday evening, according to DSHS spokesman Adolfo Capestany, and had returned as scheduled. Authorized leave is part of treatment for some patients at the 850-bed hospital.

The patients were discovered unresponsive at 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning as part of a routine check, according to a DSHS statement.

“Staff initiated CPR while paramedics were called,” according to the statement. “One patient died and the other was taken to a local hospital.”

Capestany said the patient who died was not the one who was out on leave.


The Lakewood Police Department, the Pierce County medical examiner and state Department of Health were all notified, according to the release.

Sean Murphy, an assistant secretary with DSHS, said the agency will conduct an internal review and provide grief counselors for staff and patients.

“We are devastated by the loss of a patient and our hearts go out to their loved ones,” said Murphy in the statement. “We take patient safety and health very seriously as it impacts everyone at the hospital.”

The incident is the latest in a string of misfortunes for the hospital, which lost its certification in 2018 — along with $53 million in annual federal funding — for a host of safety and other issues.

Since then, Washington lawmakers passed an ambitious plan to reshape the state’s mental-health system. That plan would eventually send most patients committed to the state hospital through civil courts to new facilities built in communities across the state.

Meanwhile, Western State’s campus would continue to handle psychiatric patients arriving from the criminal courts.