Seattle psychiatric hospital investigated over photos of patient

Lakewood, Wash.-based Western State Hospital is under investigation after unauthorized photographs of a patient were discovered on an employee's phone, according to KIRO 7 News.

Hospital officials said the photos were discovered on a nursing assistant's phone on Oct. 3. It is unclear whether the photos were taken without the patient's consent.

Police were not notified of the photos until Oct. 11. The state department of health began investigating the incident on Oct. 24. The state department of social and health services is also investigating the incident.

Lieutenant Chris Lawler, a spokesperson for the Lakewood Police Department, said the police investigation will focus on whether a crime was committed.

"From the initial statement we received on the 11th, it is unclear if a crime was actually committed versus a WSH policy violation, but the investigation should reveal exactly what happened," said Lt. Lawler.

Hospital officials allege that the staff member who had the photos was re-assigned on Oct. 12 to administration duties with no patient contact, according to the article.

Kathy Spears, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, said any crime committed on hospital property must immediately be reported to the police. WesternState did not follow proper protocol in this instance, according to Ms. Spears.

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