The Failure we all pay for - Western State Hospital and Washington State DSHS
As a caring advocate for those labeled mentally ill, I am astounded by the callous lack of compassion and care being provided by Washington State DSHS and Western State Institution (using the word "hospital" in this particular case would be misleading and disingenuous unfortunately).It is far past the time for a disjointed, failed, and antiquated mental health system to begin to address patients real needs with humane basic care and human rights.
- It's time for those whose charge is providing adequate care to some of society's most vulnerable populations to stop making excuses to our society and patents for not doing their publicly funded jobs.
- It's time to start treating patients, their families, and friends with the dignity, sensitivity, direct involvement, and with the respect they so rightfully deserve.
- It’s time to start questioning and holding a government agency that receives an estimated $450 a day (that's almost 165 thousand dollars a year per patient) to provide treatment to patients with accountability for solid measurable results.
- It time to provide community based housing and support to patients which shows better results and is much more cost effective.
- It's time to tell our elected representatives that all the talk means absolutely nothing without direct substantive action (how long do we have to hear about the need for more community based treatment, services, and housing from politicians until this actually happens in real terms?)
- It is time to start treating the patients DSHS serve not only with dignity and as equal valued status citizens. It's far past time for doctors and other civic providers of services to stop treating the suffering as prisoners with a less than humane superior/authoritarian modality and attitudes.
- Its past time to provide individually based board based and detailed treatment modalities outside of simply imprisonment and medication.
- It’s past time for real transparency and accountability within these institutions.
- No longer will hiding behind locked doors serve the needs/demands of the public and patients.
- It's past time that patients are provided independent advocates that can hold institutions and providers accountable for their rights, treatments, and reasonable standards of care.
I have left just a few links below as examples of a broken and inhumane system still being provided to this day in Washington State. It is past time each of us to demand better from those paid to serve us as public servants.
Please make your voice heard
A 'gravely disabled' mental health care system
>A 'gravely disabled' mental health care system
Federal Report Rips Western State Hospital- Patient Death a “Preventable Failure”
Women say they were raped as children in state psychiatric hospital
Western State Hospital Discharging Patients to “Unsafe Places”
From the soulful sepulcher blog - an important message and call to action I hope everyone that cares will respond too.
Psychiatrists Among Top Paid State Employees:Austin Jenkins (2009-10-29)
Listen to NPR in the link above:
"On Ward C-7 the day starts with a treatment team meeting.
Nurse: "We're going to start with J.O. this morning. Anxious to go to groups, he is visible on the ward, he's taking his medications "Nurse Vicki Kallahan-Storwick briefs Dr. Daniel Ruiz and the team on the status of the patients.
Ruiz follows up with the diagnosis.Dr. Daniel Ruiz: "This gentleman is new on the ward. He came with significant psychotic symptoms "And a treatment plan for each patient.
Ruiz has been a psychiatrist at Western State for eight years.
He came here straight out of residency at the University of Washington. It's a second career in medicine for him. Before becoming a psychiatrist, Ruiz was a general physician in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
His path to psychiatry began with a personal story.Dr. Daniel Ruiz: "I do have a brother with schizophrenia."
January 6, 2010
Treatment team meeting results:
1. titrate and remove to zero, the Trileptal.
2. acknowledge and treat the current thyroid that is out of balance.
3. Dr. Ruiz will only meet with mother, weekly after today banning patient advocate from meetings due to demanding outside time.
4.WSH psychologist served court order to reside at western 180 days to patient without representation from legal department.
5. patient shall now not be allowed to have mother visit at lunch time as every day since admit on December 21, 2009 due to staff believing patient will not cooperate with them due to anticipation of mother arriving for lunch one hour visit.
6. mother was told to arrive at 4pm after groups and shift change ends.
7. patient was told to take meds, go to all groups, to earn an outside walk time with mother as a reward.
8. the advocate that was banned from future treatment team meetings today was told to write a letter to the legislator by Dr Ruiz, ( the advocate and support person patient has responded to and began to speak again as a result of hours and months of time spent with patient) if advocate didnt like the lack of funding, and proper ability to care for patient in the washington mental health system.
9. patient medications being changed is 2nd reason given to mother for not allowing outside time.
10. staff assured mother they would remind patient mom will be there at 4pm tomorrow.
11. "you're lucky she's on this ward", said Ruiz.
12. due to questioning patients right to have outside time, Dr. Ruiz deemed advocate a "detriment to patients best interest and will only meet with the mother weekly".
13. "if you take her home she loses ALL services".
http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/ * (click this link to email a letter or the one written here, copied and pasted) OR
Write Governor Gregoire a letter:
Governor Chris Gregoire
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Give Governor Gregoire's Office a call:
Governor's Office 360-902-4111
For relay operators for the deaf or hard of hearing,
please dial 7-1-1
Fax Governor Gregoire a letter:360-753-4110
Dear Ms. Gregoire,
I am writing in concern of the care of a patient currently at Western State Hospital. The staff, including the doctor have voiced concern over lack of funding for mental health services in the State of Washington, USA.
It is an outrage, and unacceptable, that any patient be denied access to outside time due to lack of funding for appropriate staff to patient ratio. It is unacceptable, that advocates are not heard in meetings where the patient is top priority, and where team members discriminate toward a patient with PDD and non verbal. The patient who is duel-diagnosed with psychosis and a developmental delay, needs family support.
The base of care is funding, and this is a formal request to review the funding for mental health services in the state that you Govern, and it is a request to listen to all patients, not just 1 of approximately 800 at Western State Hospital.
Lindsay was deemed "not a danger to self, not a danger to others", but "a probable danger from society, a person who could suffer harm and exploitation" from society itself, by a King County Superior Court judge.
Lindsay, deserves more than limited/no outdoor time.
She deserves to have all members of her family and advocates be present in all meetings, she deserves far more than this system has given her to date.
She is 22 years old, and a victim of lack of funding, and proper care offered in Washington state, and it is time for her and others to be acknowledged.
Thank you for your time,
Further reference article:
Furious Seasons,Some Thoughts For Western State Hospital, DSHS,Philip Dawdy reporting