Woman Whose Ex-Husband Died At Eastern State Hospital Shares Concerns
by Kelsey Watts, KHQ Local News Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
SPOKANE, Wash. – Last week's murder at Eastern State Hospital brought up a lot of feelings and concerns Jackie Bride of Spokane dealt with years ago.
She says her ex-husband attempted suicide while in jail on fraud charges, so he was brought to ESH. There, he was placed on suicide watch, told employees he was suicidal, and tried it again – but this time he was successful.
"He kept telling the staff he was having those feelings, and they apparently didn't watch him closely enough because he hung himself in his room," Bride told KHQ.
She says he'd only been in the hospital about a month. Her family sued ESH, and she says they ended up winning a few thousand dollars in an out-of-court settlement.
But hearing about last week's murder at Eastern brought all of this back up for Bride. She thinks the hospital is under-staffed, or that the caretakers there aren't paying enough attention.
However, ESH has not been flagged for having staffing levels below acceptable standards, according to DSHS.
Bride thinks that's surprising.
"If someone is allowed to kill themselves, and now it's in the news some woman killed someone there, and you're saying the staffing levels are okay? I think not, or the staff that are there aren't doing their job," she said.
Whether staffing levels had any impact on last week's murder won't be known until the Spokane County Sheriff's Office finishes its investigation, and Eastern State Hospital completes it's own administrative review of the facts. Namely, they'll be asking what happened, why, and could it have been prevented.
As for murder suspect Amber Roberts, a judge has already declared that if she posts bond and is released from jail, she'll return to Eastern State Hospital. However, that is unlikely, as she's being held on $1 million dollars bond, and would have to post $100,000 to be released.
There are federal guidelines that limit how patients can be restrained and when they can be placed in isolation, so there are no guarantees that Roberts would be kept away from other patients if returned to the hospital.
DSHS can't comment on specific cases, but it's clear Roberts would be closely watched if that were to happen.
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