Western State Hospital

Sanka Party
6:38 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Sanka Party Brews Activism Inside A Mental Hospital

The Sanka Party's homemade logo.
Credit John Ryan / Northwest News Network

The Tea Party has become a fixture in American politics. But the Sanka Party? Not so much. Other than an interest in hot beverages, the two activist groups have little in common. The Sanka Party got started last summer near Tacoma, Wash., in the unlikeliest of places: inside the walls of the state’s largest psychiatric institution.

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Psychiatric Safety
6:26 am
Thu November 29, 2012

State Senator To Propose More Security in Psychiatric Wards

The front entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood.
Credit Photo by John Ryan / Northwest News Network

One Washington state senator says it is past time for lawmakers to increase safety at the state’s two psychiatric hospitals. Paige Browning reports Senator Mike Carrell announced he will propose legislation in the coming term.

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Western State Hospital Safety
7:16 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Safety And Suicide At Western State Hospital

The front entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood.
Photo by John Ryan Northwest News Network

Western State Hospital, near Tacoma, is the largest psychiatric institution in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission statement says the hospital--

Actor: "provides a healing environment free from danger, fear, hurt, injury, coercion, or intimidation for people with psychiatric disabilities. … Through vigilant attention and effort, WSH ensures a safe haven."

One week in April, Western failed to live up to those words, and the consequences were dire. Attention was less than vigilant, and two patients wound up dead. In part one of our public radio investigation, KUOW's John Ryan reported on the case of one of those patients. She committed suicide. In part two of our investigation, John looks at the safety improvements Western has, and hasn't, made since April.

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Western State Hospital Suicide
6:55 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Through The Cracks: The Life And Death Of Megan Templeton

Megan Templeton on her 20th birthday at Sunnyside Beach Park, Steilacoom, Wash. She died four days later.
Photo by Suzanne Kuhns

In the past decade, a dozen Western State Hospital patients have killed themselves. More than a hundred others have tried. Megan Templeton was the most recent. In April, she hanged herself in her hospital room. She had turned 20 the day before. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults in Washington.

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Psychiatric Hospital Death
6:10 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Second Violent Death At Western State Hospital

A second patient at Western State Hospital has died violently in less than a week.  Lakewood Police say 20-year-old Megan Templeton hanged herself with a bed sheet at the state's largest psychiatric hospital.

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Inmate Murder
4:26 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Apparent Murder Of Patient First At Western State In Almost 20 Years

A fight over unwanted sexual behavior may have led to the apparent murder of a patient at Washington’s Western State Hospital. Prosecutors have not yet filed charges in connection with the death last Friday.

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