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Field trip violated hospital policies, report says

Eastern State Hospital staff members escorting a field trip to the Spokane County Interstate Fair asked administrators two times to call 911 when Phillip A. Paul escaped from the group last month, and were told not to, according to an early investigation of the incident.

Staff members also were told not to return to the hospital, according to a report prepared by the state’s Department of Social and Health Services.

Both actions were “significant breakdowns in decision-making within the hospital,” Richard Kellogg, director of mental health systems at DSHS, said at a press conference in Spokane today.

A dozen people in the hospital knew Paul had escaped but failed to report it, the investigation found.

The state has named an independent panel, including Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, to review the evaluation process that allowed Paul to go on the field trip and the failure to report his escape, DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus said at the press conference.

The other members include:

• Richard Veith, M.D., Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington Medical School (Chair);

• Barbara Bate, president, Washington Chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness;

• Christina Beusch, deputy attorney general;

• John Chiles, M.D., University of Washington professor, psychiatrist and medical director for Western State Hospital;

• Bret Farrar, Lakewood police chief;

• Scott Frakes, Superintendent of the Monroe Correctional Complex for the Department of Corrections;

• and Dan Satterberg, King County prosecutor.

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