Eastern State Hospital accreditation suspended

MEDICAL LAKE — Eastern State Hospital is working to regain accreditation that was suspended after a patient was strangled in a unit that houses the criminally insane.

The authorizing agency, called The Joint Commission, suspended its approval of the Medical Lake mental hospital last week after it determined patients had too much access to items that could be used for strangulation.

State Department of Social and Health Services spokesman Thomas Shapley said the hospital has removed and secured such items. Spokesman John Wiley told The Spokesman-Review that an internal review of the homicide should be complete by mid-January.

A 30-year-old patient, Amber Ilene Roberts, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the Nov. 20 death of 56-year-old Duane Charley. She said she strangled him with an electrical cord.

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