APNewsBreak: Assaults surge at Washington mental hospital

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — An Associated Press investigation has found assaults on staff and patients at Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital are on the rise.

In the first nine months of 2018, Western State Hospital patients attacked workers 890 times.

Patients are suffering, too. The AP found that through September, there were 932 assaults by patients on other patients.

It also found that disability claims by injured staff topped $5 million in less than three years, and the number of days missed due to injuries has more than doubled since 2016.

Workers blame the hospital administration for an increase in assaults. They say administrators are failing to provide enough staff and are moving dangerous patients into less-secure wards and leaving them there after they attack others.

Officials with the Department of Social and Health Services say there are no staffing problems. And they deny moving dangerous patients to less-secure wards.