Patient suicide spurs investigation at Wyoming hospital

Evanston-based Wyoming State Hospital is under investigation for a patient suicide, which occurred June 18 after an employee allegedly failed to follow proper rounding procedures to check on the patient, according to the Uinta County Herald.

Dante Sinche, the employee tasked with visually checking on patients, claimed he performed his patient rounds every 15 minutes. However, video footage obtained through a police investigation showed Mr. Sinche walked to the end of the hall toward the patient's room at 5:45 p.m., but did not open the door to thoroughly check on the patient. Mr. Sinche repeated this action for the entirety of his shift, ending at 6:30, according to the footage.

Mr. Sinche filled out an observation sheet, which indicated he checked on by the patient at 5:45 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:15 p.m. He noted the patient was in the shower in the entries. For the last entry at 6:30 p.m., Mr. Sinche wrote, "The patient was in his room and his behavior was calm," according to a police report cited by Uinta County Herald.

At 6:36 p.m., another employee on duty found the patient's body hanging from the hinge of his room's shower door. Staff members could not resuscitate the patient, and he was pronounced dead at Evanston (Wy.) Regional Hospital around 8:00 p.m.

Mr. Sinche no longer works at Wyoming State Hospital. Kim Deti, a spokesperson for the Wyoming Department of Health, could not confirm if Mr. Sinche's departure was due to the patient suicide.

Ms. Deti said the hospital has updated various safety procedures after the June 18 event.   

"The special observation policy at the Wyoming State Hospital includes patient observations every 15 minutes," Ms. Deti told Uinta County Herald. "This policy has been updated to require verbal interaction with patients during hygiene and toileting activities. Training requirements on the updated policy and processes for employee supervision have been strengthened."

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